When it comes to soccer video games, most gamers in the United States are more familiar with the FIFA franchise. Most casual gamers, anyway. But if you talk to hardcore football fans or competitive sports gamers, Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer franchise is where it’s at, and where it’s always been at.
The latest offering in the series, Pro Evolution Soccer 18, is not for the casual fan, and not for anyone who doesn’t have a whole lot of time to sink into getting into the nuts and bolts of the game (and there are a LOT of nuts and bolts to this game). But that’s far from a flaw; that’s the whole point. PES18 is designed to wring maximum enjoyment out of scores of hours spent developing a team, or raising your stock and profile through extensive online play.
This is the most comprehensive and in-depth management simulator you could want from a soccer game, and it will take you multiple hours just to check out all the different little doodads and levers you can pull in pursuit of maximizing your team, finding players, adjusting strategies, signing, scouting, and so on.
And oh, yeah: there’s some exceptional soccer gameplay in there, too. Unlike FIFA, where you can pretty much just take the ball and run with it (literally), PES requires a whole lot more finesse, even on the easiest difficulty settings. There’s a serious focus on sticking to your lineup’s strategy and actually playing a game of football as intended, based on how your team is constructed.