PES 2021 is an amusing old video game. Not a correct, brand name brand-new PES, however a season upgrade, basically the exact same video game as in 2015’s effort however with as much as date lineups and a more affordable launch cost of £25. Developer Konami had actually signified as much, carefully handling fans’ expectations in the exact same breath it guaranteed to strike the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X hard with a brand-new video game engine in 2021. I definitely regard Konami’s choice, and hope FIFA publisher EA remembers. But goodwill regardless of, PES 2021 the item is a bit like Spurs: doing not have significant finalizings and without any genuine hope of challenging for the title.

The outcome is PES 2021 is not truly worth composing house about. It’s in 2015’s video game although, luckily, not in 2015’s video game as it was when it released. PES 2020 had severe gameplay concerns when it came out, a lot of which I covered in our evaluation. In the year given that, a lot of these wrinkles have actually been settled by spots, therefore PES 2021 fares far better at launch. It’s tough to inform where precisely PES 2021 takes its PES 2020 gameplay hint from. I’ve seen some state they feel the gameplay is much enhanced, however I discovered it tough to inform much of a distinction. Perhaps the gamers are ever so somewhat more responsive than they remain in PES 2020. Perhaps there are subtle tweaks to the shooting. It feels all gamers take a much heavier very first touch, so you constantly need to bear in mind how you get the ball. The goalkeepers are maybe a touch more trustworthy. But just the most hardcore of PES fans will see any distinction.

At times PES 2021, like PES 2020, looks wonderful. Some of the arena lighting is especially sharp.

Which implies PES 2021’s gameplay is respectable! Beautiful, sometimes, even. It’s a slower, more sensible video game of virtual football than FIFA, and it looks wonderful when a smooth relocation ends in an objective. I’ve stated this in the past, however it deserves reiterating: PES’ ball is fascinating. It takes the program, rushing through the air like a ballet dancer jumping throughout the phase. PES’ ball feels grounded in real-world physics, taking a trip in hypnotic arcs influenced by cosmic orbits. I get more fulfillment from passing in PES than I do shooting.

Despite this, disappointments remain on. The referee is simply as infuriating as he was in 2015. He’ll blow a nasty for absolutely nothing, stopping play even when you have actually maintained belongings and are through on objective, however he appears adverse his whistle even when carnage is gazing him in the face. I’ve smashed into gamers, fouling so despicably that my challenger – in some cases challengers – fly into the air, their limbs contorting to form shapes Cthulhu would take pride in. And the ref jogs gladly on, relatively unconcerned to the bloodbath that surrounds him. This problem is particularly noticable in package. I do not believe I ever won a charge in PES 2020 and I have not won one in PES 2021 up until now.

Players still in some cases quickly pick up no obvious factor after you attempt to pass to them. This does not take place frequently, however when it does occur it’s quite irritating. Players likewise have the irritating routine of in some cases getting in each other’s method, bumping together like kids in a play area. Skipping stays a turgid affair. PES can’t appear to choose whether the X button or the Options / Menu button ought to be utilized for development. Sometimes it’s both. And the menus are still dreadful, as they were in 2015, and the year prior to, and for as long as I can keep in mind.

It’s early days, however Iconic Moments Messi might be among the most overpowered cards in football computer game history.

The commentary is horrible. Again. I’ve never ever turned the noise off a computer game quicker than when I began PES 2021. Master League has a handful of new real world managers to pick from but other than that it’s exactly the same as last year, and so we must skip all those pointless cutscenes with dialogue choices once again. MyClub is essentially the same as before: a budget FIFA Ultimate Team with horrible loot boxes. And, like last year, players already have stunning teams made up of incredible players just a day into the game’s life.

It’s a real shame PES has lost the San Siro, perhaps my favourite Italian stadium, and AC and Inter Milan alongside it to FIFA. Konami managed to nab Roma, and it’s still got the exclusive on Juventus, but there’s no getting around the fact PES is in dire straits when it comes to licenses. Yes, I know option files are available, but not on Xbox.

And here’s a special mention for PES 2021’s biggest fan: my PlayStation 4. I’m not sure what PES is doing to my PS4 under the hood, but the gremlins are making a hell of a racket in there.

So, as an overall package, it’s hard not to think of PES 2021 as mediocre, as its predecessor was, as many of the PES games have been on the current generation of consoles. The release of PES 2021 feels like an appropriate time to assess Pro Evo’s time on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and I’m afraid to say I think the franchise has had a rather forgettable seven years. Despite flashes of brilliance (PES 2017 is a highlight), Konami hasn’t quite managed to create a world class football video game on the FOX engine. It’s a real shame.

Perhaps it’s more interesting to think about PES 2021 in terms of what it could mean, rather than what it is. Does this season update offer a glimpse into the future of annual sports games? For years fans have complained about having to pay full price for a brand new football games each season when all you really get is a roster update, the odd new licence and a handful of gameplay tweaks that are never ever as meaningful as the marketers make them out to be. Could PES 2021 represent a brand-new way of doing things? Could Konami sell a full price PES 2022 – what will be a brand new game on new consoles – then for the rest of the generation sell season updates to existing gamers at a reduced price? Alongside the removal of loot boxes and the addition of a battle royale-style battle pass, this is my ideal situation.

One can only hope! For now, I’m not sure PES 2021 is worth forking out for if you can alternative file PES 2020. But if you don’t have actually PES 2020, PES 2021 is a decent shout at a decent cost. Onward to the next generation!