As soon as we found out the Pro Evolution 2017 Demo is available on PlayStation, we downloaded it and started playing. If you have a PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 or a PS3, you can do the same. Based on our two days with the demo, we think you won't be disappointed with PES 2017.
With FIFA 16, rival EA took the simulation route, trying to make the game as life-like as possible. The game has slowed down considerably, made defending a lot harder, and found the right balance between attack and defence. This makes FIFA extremely tough to compete against. So how does PES answer? By making the game as arcadey as possible of course.
Those who've been playing the games for years will know that this is a role reversal for the two games. FIFA used to be arcade and PES more of a simulation game in days past, but things have changed now. It's a happy coincidence for those who play these games though, because there is more of a choice.
PES 17 Demo shows us a glimpse of a fast-paced football game with one major improvement - the referee. In PES 16, referees were a bit too lenient towards tackles. Off-the-ball fouls would often go unnoticed. Now you can't get away with persistent fouling. To make up for our lack of skills, we'd often commit cynical fouls in PES 16. In PES 17 Demo, that "strategy" got us two red cards and four yellows in the first match itself. We noticed that when the referee decides to play an advantage (let play carry on after a foul because you managed to retain possession), it's hard to tell if he saw the foul. In FIFA, you see a large icon on-screen to indicate that the referee has played advantage.
Sliding tackles would take players too far in PES 16 too, making it look like the player was skiing on the pitch. Although sliding tackles are still a bit too effective in PES 17, they look a lot more realistic and players can't cover unrealistic distances with one tackle. If you were to try this in FIFA, you'd notice that you need to be far closer to the opponent to land a sliding tackle. You'd also notice that some referees in FIFA are more lenient than others. In some games you'll get away with a few fouls, while in others you won't. In PES 2017 Demo, the refereeing appeared consistent and definitely more lenient than FIFA.
On the other hand, scoring stunning goals is a lot harder now because the keeper's skills appear to have improved. But we did score a couple of spectacular goals that may not have been possible in FIFA 16, and you can watch one of them in the video below.
n real life if Atletico Madrid's Juanfran scored a goal like the one above, it'd be described as a goal he'll never score again in his career. However, in PES 2017 Demo such things are routine. Great players can shoot from outside the box and score wonder goals, and good players can score unreal curlers. Another thing that makes the game a lot more arcadey than FIFA is its pace. PES 2017 Demo is just as fast as PES 2016. This means that you get much less time to react and that often leads to a lot of last-ditch sliding tackles or blocks in the box.
A side-effect of this is that teams with pace tend to dominate. Pace is a vital attribute in football, but its importance is overplayed in PES 2017 Demo. While the goalkeeper is much better now, the fact that we managed to score quite a few wonder goals shows that it's more of an arcadey experience. That's not a bad thing at all, but if you're a FIFA fan trying PES for the first time, you'll find yourself scoring plenty of outrageous goals.
The demo features two stadiums - FC Barcelona's Camp Nou and the generic Neu Sonne Arena. Each half can be between seven and 10 minutes, and you get to choose from a variety of weather settings for matches. The graphics are pretty good, with special mention reserved for player likenesses. Most players look life-like, and they emote like their real-life counterparts. This means celebrations, and screams of frustration look realistic.
Instant replays are also a notable feature of PES 2017 Demo. Whenever you score a goal, the initial replay has a motion blur effect that adds another layer of realism to the game. In a way, PES 2017 has taken a big step towards making the game feel like a TV broadcast, but then FIFA 16 (and previous iterations) set the bar so high that we feel PES is still playing catch-up in that department.
The demo prevents you from accessing several in-game tactics settings. If, for example, you want to play the Gegenpressing style, you will have to wait for the full game to launch. Even with limited tactics options, we found ourselves enjoying the game.
Konami has also polished the lineup changes menu. Previously you could tap and drag players across the pitch to change their position, but now you can tap a button and choose from two or three positions for any player. For example, if you play Sergio Busquets from FC Barcelona as a CM (central midfielder), the game lets you choose whether you want him in CM or CDM (central defensive midfielder) position.
The demo doesn't feature commentary sadly, and PES is far behind FIFA in that department if the previous iterations of both games are anything to go by. While FIFA commentators sound like their real-world counterparts who say things based on events taking place on the pitch, PES 2016 commentators often repeat phrases in successive games, which gets annoying after a while. We're hoping PES 2017 commentators do a better job. Sadly, PES 2017 won't feature Real Madrid, Juventus, and Bayern Munich as they've signed exclusivity deals with EA Sports.
Overall, PES 2017 Demo shows a lot of promise. The AI is quite difficult to play against and co-op play was enjoyable enough for us to want to buy the final version of the game.