Rebuilding a successful series after years of decline is never easy, even if signs of recovery were glimpsed last year on consoles. However, to be able to compete on an equal footing with the rival who outperformed it, FIFA, something is still missing. If you have already sifted through the review of the PlayStation 4 edition, which we invite you to read together with this one to get a complete picture of the game, you will already know if Konami has managed to insert "that something". But to us, specifically in this review for the PC edition, we want to understand above all if finally the use of the FOX Engine also on this platform has brought benefits or not compared to 2017, and if in general certain doubts that we had while playing the demo have been swept away.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 comes with menus substantially similar to those of the last edition, the same as regards the game modes, apart from a couple, and some extra options. So you can play as always the friendlies, the two European club competitions of UEFA, namely the Champions League and the Europa League, as well as the Asian Champions. And again, some European leagues, of which only a couple are fully sacked, and use a handful of international clubs scattered here and there. Virtually all the big English and German players are missing, and in Spain even Juventus. In short, nothing new in this sense, even if this licensing issue is starting to tire a bit after all these years. Then there are all the classic tournaments typical of the series and the Become a Myth mode, now obsolete from certain points of view, which is paired with the Master League. The latter as a major novelty offers pre-season tournaments and a slightly more refined management of the market. Last but not least, the "real" news: online cooperative games with up to three players per team even on the same console, and the casual game. And the MyClub mode? Unfortunately, due to the unavailability of the servers, at the time of our test it was not possible to evaluate it together with the rest of the online sector. However, having discovered the modes present in the game, let's focus on what should be the beating heart of Pro Evolution Soccer 2018: the gameplay. From this point of view there are some steps forward compared to last season: we are not talking about a total revolution, mind you, or a radical change, but about improvements. Once on the pitch, in fact, the user finds the usual feeling with the controls and a gameplay similar to that of the previous chapter, but a little more refined in its various facets.
The pace of play is slow and reasoned, the teams tend to build the action rather than to seek the personal one of the individual, except in cases where the match phase allows it and the player is called Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, just to do some examples. In other words, people who have inspiration and a certain type of solitary play in their strings. Therefore, thanks to a slightly more advanced artificial intelligence, virtual athletes behave more logically in managing the ball and show a greater predisposition to respect the tactics and strategies chosen by the coach. In this way we have more intelligent movements, which follow the natural evolution of the action. Too bad for the persistence of some tracks and some sometimes cumbersome movements, even if in general, the excessively cumbersome ones of last season and that we had glimpsed in one of our previous tests, have disappeared. In fact, now it is possible to build an action and perform the simplest gestures without always having to make too many unnatural "steps" in the micro movements due to too rigid animations. This also translates into greater ball control, a sign that Real Touch + works, which together with a more credible "physicality" of the players in managing the ball, with the most powerful athletes able to make their weight felt more, especially in the contrasts, they lead to an approach to the various situations of the match that is more free and open than in the recent past. Also because the referees do not seem to shine too much for acumen, and sometimes they do not whistle rather harsh interventions. In any case, there are also improvements in the net conclusions, where, however, there is a certain discrepancy in the realism of the tense shots, compared to the softer ones. In the first case you really get the feeling of perceiving a certain power in the hit and a heaviness of the bottom of the ball, while in the second sometimes not. On the other hand, the problems related to certain movements of the goalkeepers, which in half-height flights always seem to lack some connection animation, especially during the jump and the relapse towards the ground, and to their artificial intelligence, sometimes deficient in the face of conclusions certainly not unstoppable.
- Operating System: Windows 10 64bit;
- CPU: i7 4970k;
- GPU: Geforce GTX 1050 Ti;
- VRAM: 4 GB;
- RAM: 16 GB;
- Direct X: 12;
- Resolution: 1920 * 1080.
- Operating System: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or higher;
- CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3,10 Ghz o AMD FX 4100 3.6 Ghz;
- GPU: Nvidia GTX 650 o AMD Radeon HD 7750;
- VRAM: 2 Gb;
- RAM: 8 Gb;
- Direct X: 11;
- Resolution: 1280 x 720;
- Free space on HDD: 30 Gb.
- Operating System: Windows 7 SP1 or higher;
- CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3,40 Ghz o AMD FX 4170 4.1 Ghz o superiori;
- GPU: Nvidia GTX 660 o AMD Radeon HD 7950 o superiori;
- VRAM: 2 Gb o superiore;
- RAM: 8 Gb or higher;
- Direct X: 11 o superiore;
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080;
- Free space on HDD: 30 Gb.
As for the technological part, finally also the PC version of the game can enjoy the same technical treatment of the counterpart on new generation consoles. And the results are there for all to see: Pro Evolution Soccer 18 boasts excellent graphics, clearly superior to those of the previous edition on computer which was similar to that of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 editions. The title takes full advantage of the FOX Engine and works at 1080p and sixty frames per second without the slightest uncertainty with all active filters, thanks to which the title is very nice to see. The faces of the most famous athletes in some cases touch photorealism, ditto their physical proportions thanks to a correct polygonal modeling, while partially disappoint the animations: if it is true that new ones have been implemented to make certain movements more credible, it should be also said that for some they still seem to lack connection points, as during the race, where the players do not seem to show a real change of pace. On the other hand, the sweaters and even the surrounding elements are beautiful, embellished by the presence of well-made textures. Perhaps only the colors are a little too saturated, but there it is also a matter of taste.
Ups and downs instead for the stadiums, which in the case of the generic ones are for the most part average, while those covered by official license appear absolutely spectacular. At least the new ones like the Camp Nou. Anyway, to corroborate everything there are then a direction worthy of a television broadcast, with ad hoc shots on the faces of the players in the warm-up phase or after a decidedly dangerous action, in the stands and on the sidelines which, especially during official events such as the Champions League, gives users the whole atmosphere of the competition and the feeling of really participating with your favorite team. The picture is completed by a sound sector capable of restoring all the atmosphere that reigns inside a real stadium during a football match. Finally, the commentary in Spanish of the usual Fabio Caressa is good, who this year offers the public a series of new phrases that add to and enrich the old commentary of the last editions that saw him protagonist together with Marchegiani.
After seasons full of disappointments, even PC users can finally enjoy the game in a "new generation" version. Which does not mean having an absolute masterpiece in front of you, but certainly when compared to the 2017 edition, this Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 for personal computers is from another world, since it is practically identical to the PlayStation 4-Xbox One counterpart. Speaking more generally, the Konami title records some steps forward for the saga in terms of gameplay, where the physicality of the players are enhanced, a balanced rhythm and also an artificial intelligence that appears more credible, despite some occasional rounds of empty. On the other hand, some defects still remain, some even historical, and there is the age-old question of the lack of licenses, elements on which Konami will have to work a lot in the future. But net of some problems, we think the game deserves the attention of all football fans.
- Good pace of play, slow and reasoned
- The new co-op mode is interesting
- Technically excellent from a graphic and audio point of view
- Significant improvements to general physics and artificial intelligence ...
- ... but goalkeepers still make absurd mistakes sometimes
- Some of the series' historical flaws persist
- Referees sometimes a little undecided and some modalities should be "refreshed"
- The issue of missing licenses is no longer tolerable