Believe it or not, Konami’s booth was likely the best of the bunch at E3 2015, and my favourite part of their presence didn’t even have anything to do with Snake. It was based around football instead. Pro Evolution Soccer 2016, to be exact.
As I headed towards Konami’s part of the Convention Center’s real estate, my eyes immediately jumped to the massive Metal Gear display, before settling in on a boring looking, walled-in booth situated beside it. The construction looked dull, and from the outside, it seemed as if I was in for another generic meeting room demo. That wasn’t the case, though.
Despite having a bland exterior the booth actually held one of E3’s hidden gems, that being a realistic-looking English pub wherein multiple Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 demos were set up. It was a functional space, too, because you were more than welcome to ask the incredibly friendly bartenders for a pop, water or beer while you played.
If you’ve followed my reviews of both FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer over the past few years, you’ll know that, after two years of average review scores, PES scored a fantastic number last year. In doing so, it also dethroned EA’s footie simulation as my favourite soccer title of the year. High praise, indeed, but it was certainly well-deserved.
This year, it seems as if Konami could very well take the title again, because the few matches I played (against developers, media and AI opponents) were magnificent. The best interactive soccer I’ve ever played, to be exact.
During a pre-game presentation, it was said that Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 is seen as a forward-moving follow-up to last year’s revitalization of the brand. In fact, Konami was actually candid about how, prior to last year, the series had gone through a turbulent time, which made them want to work even harder towards bringing it back into prominence. And, with this iteration, they seem to have succeeded at making an already great game even better.
Going hands-on with the title gave me a deeper appreciation for the series, its featured sport and all of the emphasis the developers placed on what they’d fixed and fine-tuned. That included changing the camera so that the pitch is larger, making the game more accessible and working on the visuals so that they’ll look less washed out. It all showed, and I was impressed with what I saw, although I wished I would’ve seen the game’s dynamic weather system come into play.
Put simply, Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 looks and plays like an armchair footballer’s dream. It’s fast, fluid, fun and easy to jump into, while offering the type of complexity that hardcore fans desire. The AI is smarter than ever, the controls are as fluid and accessible as they’ve ever been, and the fun factor is through the roof.
The honest truth is that I’m finding it tough to say anything negative about Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 at this point in time, and I hope that’s something that will continue into this fall when I review its finished build. It’s shaping up to be an incredibly realistic, fun, beautiful and immersive sim, and that’s exactly what we want from this series.