One of Pro Evolution Soccer’s main selling points are the various competition modes that are offered, we anticipate this being the same for PES 2017. These PES competitions range from officially licensed offline tournaments and the much revered online competitions. PES players who like offline gaming have nothing but positive feedback for the offline tournaments. The same can be said for the online competitions (WEPES Championship, UEFA Champions League, etc) which also receives glowing praise.
Despite the great feedback there is always room for improvement and that is what we will discuss here. The online tournaments are one of the key aspects of the PES offering so we shall focus on that.
Online Competitions – PES 2017
The online competitions stick to one format. That is a one hour qualifying round followed by a last 16 knockout stage. Each game is 5 minutes long, which is half the time of the standard 10 minute online PES match. This creates both advantages and drawbacks; the advantages being it gives lesser skilled players the chance of qualifying just through variance, creates faster gameplay and means you don’t have to commit multiple hours to a single tournament. On the other hand these 5 minute matches may frustrate the better players who by having a slightly off half may fail to qualify. In contrast to the creating faster gameplay point it may encourage an unrealistic game of football where both teams are just lofting the ball forward; this doesn’t allow PES to flourish as the tactical awareness and passing strategy is made redundant. The final is 10 minutes long but all other knockout games are 5 minutes, this isn’t really long enough to determine a fair result after spending an hour qualifying.
Qualification to the knockout stage is determined by whoever accumulates the most point over three consecutive games. For example if within the hour a user plays four games and they win the first two, lose the third and win the fourth then they will accumulate 6 points. This removes the arguably unfair advantage users will have by entering early. Of course for those who play 5 games, losing the middle game this would prove rather annoying. Each knockout stage game is a one off game where if a draw it will go straight to penalties. Only the final itself will go to extra time before penalties.
Almost unanimous positive feedback and nearly a decade of the same formula would suggest Konami have nailed this format – fans love it. Ensuring users don’t have to commit too much time to a single tournament is paramount but one thing that could be done to improve competitions is introducing longer tournaments. These could entail games that are 10 minutes each. Another option would be having one off 128, 256, etc user tournaments which are a straight knockout tournament from the start.
Once again this another part of competitions that Konami have got exactly right. In contrast to online divisions, where users can be Real Madrid over and over, it is less advantageous to be the best team. The qualification stage may be determined by the most points but before that it is based on the team you select. Assuming there are more than 16 different teams entered then only one of each can qualify. This gives users a massive incentive to select teams that others wouldn’t pick. The best way to highlight the brilliance of this is through an example. If 50 teams enter a competition where 5 are Real Madrid, 5 Barcelona and 5 Bayern Munich then at most only one three of them will qualify for the knockout stage. If a user selects Leicester and ends up with three points but three of the Real Madrid teams end up with 9 points then only the Real Madrid team with the best goal difference will qualify. Not only does this stop users exploiting the game but it encourages variation in the teams you play against and forces players to rely on tactics and passing football to qualify. Well played Konami!
Now for the real negative part. We have been shouting about lag cheaters in PES for a while now and so have you. A lot of comments we receive don’t even discuss the topic at hand but vent frustration after being lag cheated. Getting a game voided whilst winning isn’t fair and unfortunately the effects can be amplified in a PES competition. It is more difficult for them to lag and quit the game in the knockout stage but in the middle of the qualifying stage, often in a crucial must win game, it can be the difference between going to the knockout stage or not. Of course this needs to be sorted across PES as soon as possible – let’s hope this starts with PES 2017.