The PC versions of Pro Evolution Soccer have for the last few years been an absolute disaster. So it's a relief to see that with PES 2018, Konami have finally got their shit together.
To recap: PES has for a while now been running on Konami's Fox Engine, which also powered Metal Gear Solid V. On PS4 and Xbox One it has looked and played amazing, but for whatever reason, the last few PC versions of PES have shared code with the cruddier PS3 and Xbox 360 editions, not the shinier current-gen editions.
That ends now. PES 2018 on PC finally looks and plays just as well as the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game, if not better.
The grass has gone from being one of the worst parts of the game to one of the best.
I'm not going to go into the merits of the game itself — I'll save that for this year's showdown against FIFA — but I can at least say that when it comes to both visuals and physics anyone picking up the PC version will be getting every bell and whistle that PS4 and Xbox One gamers are experiencing.
To give you an idea of just how far things have progressed since last year's game, check out this comparison video by Candyland, showcasing how the game's lifeless textures and dull lighting have been transformed:
The nicest thing about this for me is that I can already tell I'll be playing a lot of this on the PC, and since I'm big into the editing scene in PES, it's great I can play the game on a platform where importing the correct kits (that users have had to design to get around PES' lack of licenses) is a lot faster and easier than it is on console.
Of course, this being PES, we couldn't be talking about positives without also touching on some frustrating downsides, in this case the fact the game's online is completely broken at launch.
I've been getting 3-4 connectivity errors just between Steam and an exhibition match (with the game failing to even fetch its own patch notes) against the AI, so God help anyone trying to actually play this online at the moment.
Hopefully that's something that Konami can fix ASAP. If only so they can update the game's title screen, which six weeks after his transfer to PSG still has Neymar in a Barcelona kit.