Pro Evolution Soccer is back for another year and looking to increase its dent in a market that has come to be dominated by FIFA of late.
After a costly period in which the standard of the game dropped, Konami's football sim has been lauded in recent years for the quality and feel of its gameplay and it is gradually making up the ground it lost on FIFA.
PES 2018 looks an exciting prospect once again, with the first trailers displaying stunning graphics and the kind of fluid football we have become used to.
There are still many questions to be answered ahead of release day, however, and Goal has all the latest as information trickles out about the newest PES title.
WHEN WILL PES 2018 BE RELEASED?
PES 2018 will be released on Tuesday, September 12 in the USA and Thursday, September 14 in Europe and Asia.
The last couple editions of the game have come out before its FIFA counterpart as Konami bid to get a foot in front of their biggest rivals, and that will be the case again this year. FIFA 18 is due for release on Friday, September 29.
HOW MUCH WILL PES 2018 COST?
The standard edition of PES 2018 will retail at £49.99 ($59.99) on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It is slightly cheaper - £44.99 - on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
There is also a special FC Barcelona edition of the game that will cost slightly more. That is currently listed at £57.99 ($69.99) on PS4 and £64.99 ($69.99) on Xbox One and will include special Barcelona myClub agents, a Barcelona theme and 1,000 myClub coins as bonus content.
FIFA is slightly more expensive in the UK; it's standard edition will retail at £54.99 but only $59.99, making it the same price as PES in the USA. The two bonus versions are on offer at £79.99 ($79.99) and £89.99 ($99.99).
WHAT CONSOLES WILL IT BE RELEASED ON?
PES 2018 will be released on PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
Konami have promised PC players that this year, their experience will live up that enjoyed by PS4 and Xbox One users. That's big news and something PES has been working towards for a while, with the quality of the PC version tending to fall somewhere in between the new and old consoles until now.
The image above released by Konami, meanwhile, gives users of the older generation of consoles an idea of what to expect compared to their newer counterparts.
WHAT ABOUT THE NINTENDO SWITCH?
PES 2018 will not be released on the Nintendo Switch.
That's one area in which FIFA will have the edge over PES, as EA Sports have worked on a variation of their game dedicated to the new console designed for home and portable gaming. Konami have not released a version of PES on a Nintendo console since PES 2014 came out on the 3DS in 2013.
WHEN CAN I PRE-ORDER PES 2018?
You can pre-order PES 2018 now. Digital downloads of the standard and Barcelona editions are already available to buy in advance in the UK and US from the PlayStation and Xbox stores, as well as Steam for PC, at the links below.
|Standard Edition||Barcelona Edition|
|PS4||UK / US||UK / US|
|Xbox One||UK / US||UK / US|
|PC||UK / US||UK / US|
You can also pre-order hard copies of the game for all of the consoles it will be released on - including PS3 and Xbox 360 - from various retailers in the UK and US. Click here for Konami's guide to buying options in each country and region.
WHO WILL BE ON THE COVER OF PES 2018?
Konami have decided to make the most of their 'premium partnership' with Barcelona by putting five Blaugrana stars on the cover: Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Andres Iniesta and Rafinha.
They took the same approach last year, when the MSN forward trio and Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique were on the cover. This time around, of course, the Barca stars are going up against their Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who has bagged the FIFA cover, in the video-game world.
WHAT NEW FEATURES ARE IN PES 2018?
Konami are touting seven new features that will be introduced in PES 2018. They are...
1. In terms of gameplay, the existing model has been tweaked and refined to create a more realistic game speed. 'Strategic dribbling' adds more options in possession and 'Real Touch+' allows the use of the full body for ball control. There are also new free-kick and penalty-kick systems and one-player kick-offs.
2. On the graphics and visual presentation side, expect improved stadium lighting and turf and true-to-life tunnels at some of the world's most famous venues. Motion capture has allowed for a "complete rework" of the animation system and the player models have also been changed to create more lifelike kit fitting.
3. Online, new co-op options allow for two-against-two and three-against-three group play.
4. The popular Random Selection Match is back! This mode allows friends to take turns to choose clubs or countries from which they are assigned a random lineup of players, so a combination of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Inter stars can take on a team of their Barcelona, Arsenal and Juventus counterparts.
Having been neglected a touch in PES 2017, Master League has also been given attention with pre-season, a new transfer system and certain presentation elements introduced.
5. All of the menus in the game as well as the tactics and team selection screens have been overhauled.
6. PES will continue to dip its toes into competitive gaming with PES League, which includes myClub, Random Selection Match and online co-op game modes.
7. As mentioned, the PC version of the game is said to have been significantly upgraded to bring it in line with the PS4 and Xbox One versions.
WHAT CLUBS & LEAGUES ARE IN PES 2018?
One long-term point of frustration for some who love PES' gameplay has been the lack of team and league licenses, resulting in clubs with names such as Man Red (Manchester United) appearing in the game.
It's still a mixed bag. PES 2018 is expected to feature the English, Spanish, Italian and French leagues, but not all of the teams within them will be licensed. There will also be a number of extra licensed teams available to play with even though their league as a whole is not included.
We will not find out what the complete list of fully licensed clubs is until August, but we do know from trailers that Barcelona, Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke will all be true to real life in the game. Camp Nou will only appear on PES 2018 and not FIFA, with Konami securing an exclusive deal.
IS USAIN BOLT REALLY ON PES 2018?
He is indeed. It's a slightly odd feature but Bolt, who has expressed an ambition to pursue professional football when he is finished with sprinting, will be playable in PES 2018 in the myClub mode (PES' answer to Ultimate Team). It seems safe to say that he will be the fastest player on the game.
ARE ANY LEGENDS ON PES 2018?
After a legal dispute over the use of his likeness, Konami and Diego Maradona have worked out an agreement by which the Argentina legend will be included in the game and also help to promote it.
That's all we've heard so far in terms of legendary ex-players - at least those fully licensed and using their real names, anyway.
WHEN WILL THE PES 2018 DEMO BE RELEASED?
It will actually be possible to get your hands on PES 2018 relatively soon - in order to make sure the online version of the game is totally up to scratch for release day, Konami will be running an open beta for 11 days at the end of July.
PS4 and Xbox One players can get a first taste of the game then in the one-on-one and three-on-three online modes. It is likely to be imperfect as the whole point of the exercise is to collect data to get the online experience right, but it will serve as a nice preview.
WILL PES 2018 FEATURE VIRTUAL REALITY?
There are no suggestions yet that PES 2018 will incorporate virtual reality. We're probably more likely to see it in FIFA first, as EA Sports have always put more of an emphasis on the presentation and cinematic aspect of their games - most notably in the creation of The Journey.
By Oliver Platt
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