The PES 2016 demo was released last week and has received the highest praise from just about everyone that has played it – and rightfully so. Let’s discuss exactly what has warranted these glowing reviews and what improvements can still be made from a gameplay perspective.
Put into one phrase the gameplay can be summed up as “PES 2015 but smoother.” Below we shall analyse each aspect individually…
Passing: Why not start with the best? The passing is simply stunning – combining realism and satisfaction whilst encouraging you to play the correct way. That’s right, this isn’t FIFA where you can run from kick off; quality and direct passing wins football matches. The real beauty of it is you can do exactly what you want to do – a short one-two, that round the corner through ball or a switch of play. This isn’t to say the passing is too easy either, a lack of concentration or a forced pass will get punished. 10/10
Shooting: The shooting is similar to PES 2015, with the main differences being a little more variation in the shots that can be hit and the types of saves. As all of you will know this means once again it is very good. Looking at it from a critical stand point it could be argued that the shooting lacks the Zlatan or Adriano effect of old PES games – i.e. the bullet shot. Maybe making a players’ shooting power attribute more sensitive will add this excitement again, on top of having to think about which players to shoot with! The curler into the top corner is as effective and as beautiful as ever though: 7/10
Dribbling: The core of this has once again been taken from PES 2015, which of course means it is great. At a basic level you are able to maintain total control of the ball doing so in a realistic way. The only real difference between PES 2015 and the PES 2016 demo based on early impressions is PES 2016 creates more of a burst feel when you go round someone. Combine this with the new collision system, which is probably the biggest upgrade in the dribbling department, and you have the most realistic dribbling system a football game has ever offered.
If you’re a bit of a PES expert you’ll be fully aware of the close control button. This adds a whole new layer of dribbling. This enables you to stop the ball dead whilst fully sprinting as well as entice the defender towards you just to roll the ball either side and go past them. Not a feature that is brand new to PES 2016 but an excellent one nonetheless. 8/10
Crossing: Perhaps the only element of PES you could accuse of being average. In general the crosses will do what you want them to and you do have the option of low, normal and high crosses. The problem is however they don’t feel particularly satisfying, even when you do find the net from a header – something that needs to be worked on going forward. One part of crossing that is very good though is the importance of being on a players’ preferred foot as well as on balance; if you aren’t both of these then the cross will find its way straight to the keepers’ hands or off for a goal kick. It should be noted that part of this average assessment is down to the heading and volleys. Firstly, volleys don’t happen often enough. Secondly, headers are won when they feel like they shouldn’t be, on top of that the headers feel weak which creates the unsatisfying feeling when they do find the back of the net. 6/10
Tackling: If new to PES this can be a tricky skill. Over the last few years PES has gone with the double tap pressure button for the normal conservative tackle, it seems PES 2016 is no exception. The other two ways to tackle are slide and bring a com controlled player to the ball.
The conservative tackle is very effective when used at the right time, i.e. when a player has shown you too much of the ball. Be warned mastering this does take some practice. Slide tackles naturally need to be timed correctly as well. In comparison to PES 2015 they are a little less effective but are also more forgiving when it comes to getting sent off, probably unrealistically so. Finally, the com controlled tackling is a great feature if you need to track a runner but still want to apply pressure on the passer. The only negative with this is the passer is able to brush off the com controlled player a little too often.
Being harsh the tackling may be a little under powered but nevertheless it is still life like and will keep you satisfied. 7/10
AI: The artificial intelligence has also improved. It has hard to measure specific situations but the com controlled players now appear to react to players’ runs in a more sensible way. One part of the AI that is still buggy is players coming to the ball who are receiving a pass. They often are unrealistically on their heels whereas the defender is extremely active. 7/10
Summary: As said at the top, early impressions of PES 2016 indicate it is a refined version of PES 2015. After playing PES 2016 for a week try going back to PES 2015 and you will immediately notice the difference. This is probably the best way to truly gauge the difference between the two.
Two bugs (of sorts) for Konami to fix for the full release are the puddles splashing up in rainy conditions; at the moment they appear too far away from the ball. The other one is goalkeepers kicking the ball straight to the opposing striker on short goal kicks when aiming for the right or left back.
All of the above individual gameplay elements have welcomed improvements and fully warrant the purchase of PES 2016 alone. There are also other notable improvements. The collision system which was alluded to in the dribbling section adds to the realism and brings into play the players’ strength attribute. Players slipping when turning sharply is another great addition, this really does show the detail Konami have gone into to try and create the most life like football simulation possible. This actually increases in the stunning rainy conditions. Then of course there are the manual celebrations which we’re sure a group of you will love.
Early impressions warrant the well deserved score of 9/10 for the PES 2016 demo as a whole.