What’s Included in the PES 2018 Online Beta?
The much anticipated PES 2018 Online Beta was released on 20th July. For many PES fans it was their first chance to be able to play PES 2018 for themselves. The online beta is playable in two modes – standard match and 3v3 co-op. Furthermore, Brazil and France are the only playable teams. The reason it is so restricted with options is because Konami have released it to test online in order to improve it ahead of the release. It has been suggested the demo will include more teams, etc. The gameplay itself is the same as what was showcased at E3. The significance of this is it is still in development and the code may change multiple times before it is released in its final form. Further details of the beta can be found here: https://pesmyclub.com/pes-2018-beta/
PES 2018 Online Beta Gameplay
Even in its unfinished state the PES 2018 Online Beta is an improvement on PES 2017, which says a lot. However, there are elements of the gameplay that need adjusting, some of which are more glaring than others. We could write a gameplay review focusing on what PES 2018 does well but that doesn’t help improve the game ahead of the full release. With that being said we aim to be as critical as possible whilst remaining fair.
PES 2018 Game Speed
Much has been made of the game speed in comparison to previous versions of PES. It has been noticeably slowed down. Overall this is a welcome change as it has made the game play more realistic. You can now come to an almost stand still with the winger and draw the tackle in. This is a brilliant addition because it adds skill, excitement and realism. However, there are times where the game suffers as a result. This tends to come when the ball is passed, specifically how slowly it moves. There are occasions when a slowly paced ball is appropriate but right now the majority of passes are too slow. A good way to differentiate could be to increase the speed of the pass when the power gauge is full/close to full.
PES 2018 Passing
We’ve already discussed the speed of the passing above. The best thing about the passing in PES 2018 is that you can play some great football. If passing is your go to strategy in a football game then you’ll enjoy PES 2018. There is a balance to this though, and at the moment passing borders on the side of being too easy. (We have been playing with pass support on the default of 1). The problem is two fold. Firstly you can blindly pass it forward and more often than not your player will end up in possession. Secondly, when you do slightly misplace a pass the defender doesn’t intercept it as much as they should. This is in direct contrast to PES 2017 where players would intercept passes all the time, perhaps too often. Switching gears, when it comes to cross field passes they feel brilliant. The trajectory has been lowered to give a really satisfying feeling when you execute one.
PES 2018 Dribbling
Dribbling is also another element of PES that has been overhauled from PES 2017. There probably hasn’t been a PES game where dribbling was a less effective tool than PES 2017. In some ways this was realistic as it made players adopt different strategies much like real football. Many would disagree with this though as dribbling in PES is fun and that’s what playing PES is all about. Unfortunately from what we can see in the PES 2018 Online Beta dribbling is now overpowered. Players can skip past defenders with minimal effort and even go through them on occasion. Going through a defender (nut-megging them) does happen sometimes but it is happening too frequently on PES 2018. The below goal encapsulates this problem. To put a positive spin on the dribbling, defender catch up is perfect. From the game time we have played so far defenders are catching up strikers in line with their attributes and at an appropriate frequency.
PES 2018 Tackling
The issues with dribbling apply to tackling also. Once again this is the opposite to PES 2017 where players could tackle too easily. Currently, it feels as if the defenders have no drive to tackle the opposing player. This is hard to criticise too much as these elements are conducive to attacking and exciting football – which at the end of the day is what PES fans want. However, the effectiveness of tackling could do with being increased ever so slightly. We do like the way you have to time the double click pressure tackles which does add an extra dimension of skill to the game. Lastly, the COM pressure tackling is definitely under-powered. Previous games had this right whereby the COM pressure would tackle at a fair rate. Right now it isn’t effective at all which results in players dribbling past these players with frustrating regularity and ease.
PES 2018 Shooting
Even at this early stage shooting feels close to flawless. Finesse shots don’t feel scripted and there is a good variation between finding the back of the net, shooting wide and the goalkeeper making a save. Normal (powerful) shots also feel great. The variation with these shots, is once again, correctly done. Hit it slightly too hard you’ll find your shot miss the target, whilst other times you’ll get away with it. There is also a wide range of goalkeeper animations which adds to that match day feel. We found a couple of our shots hitting the underside of the bar which only added to the excitement. Our one critique of the shooting would be sometimes the powerful shots feel a little soft. If the power could be increased a small amount to give that classic PES shooting feel (think Adriano PES 2009) then the shooting element of PES 2018 would be a masterpiece.
PES 2018 Set Pieces
Our experience with direct free kicks was limited so we won’t pass judgement on that. One thing we did notice however was the lack of directional guide for both free kicks and corners. This is another great improvement as mastering set pieces appears to be a harder thing to do. We have yet to learn the technique to score free kicks directly but it should be noted feedback from elsewhere is positive. Hopefully they are harder to score than previous versions of PES. We did have one penalty kick and whilst the method was similar to PES 2017 it did feel more refined.
PES 2018 Referees
Referee’s decisions with regards to free kicks and bookings can make or break a football game. Right now referees are too lenient. That’s not to say they are PES 2016 standards of lenient but too many fouls get away without yellow cards and ones that should often be red cards are only yellows. Randomness to the cards referees give, much like real life, would also add to the excitement. The one type of foul that stands out which doesn’t punished with enough severity is deliberately sliding into the back of someone not through on goal. In real life this type of foul would be punished with a red every time but currently on the PES 2018 Online Beta it never gets more than a yellow.
PES 2018 Online Beta Conclusion
The most notable conclusion from the PES 2018 Online Beta is that it is a vastly different game to PES 2017. It seems Konami have taken the feedback from PES 2017 and almost gone too far with it. Think of the effectiveness of tackling, the absolute necessity of passing the ball around and the ineffectiveness of dribbling – all of these are the opposite in the PES 2018 Online Beta. These elements just need to be tweaked and we can add to the realism whilst keeping the excitement. If the PES 2018 Online Beta were to be released right now, in our opinion, it would go down as the best football game ever made. We have tried to highlight what needs to be improved, rather than repeat everyone else’s praise, in order to get as good of a football game as possible come September.
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