PES2018: 1st Impressions

PES2018 dropped through my letterbox earlier today. The Tuesday of release week. The earliest I have ever got PES.

It’s very welcome, and I hope nobody leans on SimplyGames (or any other early-dispatching retailer) to end the practice. Those of us with jobs and busy lives need these extra bonus days. Getting PES2018 today has made all the difference to my week.

The weather is always exactly the same for me on the day I get PES. Sunny, but cool, with variable, mottled cloud-cover. Chilly enough to wear a jumper, but not for the heating. It never rains on PES day. And it always gets unexpectedly dark while I’m playing my first session. I play long past the time when I should have turned on a light.

My first impressions of PES2018 are very good ones.

I wasn’t blown away by the recent PES2018 Demo, to say the least. In fact, after one session with the full game, I’d say the demo might be the worst demo ever released in the whole series.

It might be worth Konami skipping a PES2019 demo entirely next year, because there is no way the PES2018 Demo represented the quality of the final game.

I updated the game. Straight into my traditional opening fixture, England vs Scotland.

I’ve been playing this as my opening match since ISS days.

I always play the first fixture on Default settings. Regular difficulty (note that: Regular difficulty). 10 minutes. I almost turned off the new secondary ‘shadow cursor’. I decided to leave it for now.

The AI had the audacity to play reasonably well. It didn’t create many chances, but then you wouldn’t expect it to on Regular.

And I had the humiliation to see the first goal scored on PES2018 scored by me, for the AI. An own-goal. Here is that goal, at the end of a 1-minute clip that shows some of what PES2018 does right:

You can see me trying a few PES2017-type things in there, that just don’t work.

R1 seems to have been nerfed, in the sense that it’s now very easy to overrun a dribble – by getting greedy and trying for an extra yard – and lose the ball to a surprisingly tigerish AI defence.

Passes longer than short-range have a greater chance of being intercepted, it seems to me.

It all goes into the cocktail of what makes a football game complex and good, as opposed to routine and average.

There are tons of great ‘special moments’ in the penalty box. Work has clearly been done on the creation of these uncannily realistic events. Lots of goalkeeper additions have been made (although the slow-mo ‘superman’ dives need to go, asap).

Next is another video showing three things:

  • A ‘special moment’ where I overhit a through-ball (with Gary Cahill), and the AI keeper scampers after it, but doesn’t get there, allowing me to slide a cross over. I saw similar things many times.
  • My first proper ‘worked’ goal. PES2018 is very amenable to this kind of play. Time and again I tried to do PES2017-style powerups to create booming shooting chances. Chance-creation like this is more optimal in PES2018 right now. We’ll see what an ML team full of Team Spirit brings, though.
  • And my first long-range Hollywood goal (playing England-Germany, with me in England’s change kit). I’d had a few opportunities like this, but taken them too quick. I let the ball run across Oxlade-Chamberlain before caressing the shoot button. If this is indicative of how long-range shooting in PES2018 works, I will approve.

I know the score. I always love the first session with any football game, PES or otherwise. New football game = joy to the world. That’s never not been the case with me. So I’m not counting future chickens – just relishing what I have now.

Here are the stats post-match for Game 1 – this went to EXTRA TIME and then penalties, I should stress:

Yes, a couple of fouls, and just as important, I was able to foul the AI. Massive improvement from the demo – and that held up across all 6-or-so matches I played.

And I moved onto something new pretty soon – 11-minute matches!

I just wanted that extra 30 seconds per half to experience the gameplay style. Build-up, patience. Bombing it forward, PES2016/17-style, wasn’t often working out for me. I might go up to 12 mins.

It’s difficult to convey in words how different the full game feels from the demo – how much better. And also how different the core gameplay feels, right now, from PES2017 and its immediate (accursed) predecessor.

I moved up to Professional soon enough, played Germany, won one, and lost the next one:

The AI scored two good goals here that I captured but haven’t got time to post here – a near-post flicked-in header was one of them.

So that’s Session 1 of Day 1. A great PES day, personally speaking, not least because the bouncy, energised feeling is the most difference between a demo and a full game that I can remember.

PES2018 is not the PES2017 clone that the demo made us believe it is. That’s for sure.

What PES game is it like? Superficially, yes, it is part of the same family of PESes that began with PES2014. That’s the game it’s the spiritual successor of, but I was reminded more of the general experience I had with another, much older PES.

I remember PES6 (not my favourite PES, but undoubtedly a classic) feeling similarly bewildering at first, and I remember unexpectedly losing and struggling on lower difficulty levels in that game.

I remember the day I got PES6 – it was a cool, cloudy, sunny day just like this one.

I’m tempted to start Master League right here, right now, today, but I will restrain myself. Until tomorrow at least.

I’ll definitely have started ML by Friday’s post.

Updated: 12th September 2017 — 19:41


  1. Dan – tried enabling Multicast on the Sonicwall router settings?

    a few examples here:

    Problems with my PS4 and Sonicwall from playstation

  2. Greetings all.
    Another Season, another PES. I’m a PC player and although i held of in other years, this time i went first day. Had only one quick match on default settings. It was Arsenal vs Liverpool, a couple of the licenced teams. Felt very fresh and different from 2017. Was also a bit easier then i remember finding these inaugural matches, although it was only a 1-0 win.

    Had a few niggles getting the game running but i think it was something goofy going on with my display/graphic card, as i kept geting black screens, every five seconds or so. A good old reboot of the PC seemed to solve the problem and i could play one whole game withou interruption.

    Looking forward for a proper ML, once the game gets an unofficial patch

  3. Paul – Yeah, I tried multicast last night, to no avail. I’ve never had anything like this happen with a router before. I’m gonna stop by my brother’s house on the way home and pick up an old Cisco router that should solve the problem. All I want is the live update.

    On another matter, where did you say you got your PC patch last year? I may be getting the PC version sooner than I anticipated, but it’ll still be a couple of weeks. If you find one sans all the captchas, can you post a link here?

    nG – I’ll test the wifi hotspot when I get home from work, but hopefully using a different router will solve it first.

  4. Dan – the wifi hotspot will do the job for you, no real need for another router. As long as your phone and service provider allow Tethering, the PS4 will see and treat your phone like a router, and you’ll get the update. If you’re on Android you’ll have no worries. On iPhone, it differs between networks.

  5. A router that doesnt support UPnP is weird anyway Dan, you’ll probably need that feature for other online antics.

    PESEdit / PESPatch are the best websites for PC patches, not sure if they have any full patches up yet, its a bit early, but heres a link:

    PS4/PC patches are cross compatible this year, meaning you can export your PS4 kits and load them into the PC version, not stadiums though.

  6. nG – Came home for a quick lunch and tried your hotspot. Worked perfectly! Thank you.

    At least that’s the live update done. I’ll get the editing done later tonight. If anyone needs a PES Universe option file, I’ll happily help you out as well.

  7. Dan – that would be fabulous, thanks.

  8. Dan……sign me up

  9. Gotta jet back to work for a few hours, but I’ll take a USB with me and get back to you as soon as I’m in the office.

    Do you want to leave your e-mail here, or should I leave mine? Whichever suits.

  10. I’d just be careful Dan about openly sharing for free a file which is meant to be paid for. Better to be discreet 😉

  11. Paul – Yeah, you’re dead right. Sorry about that.

    Didn’t mean to condone that kind of thing. Sorry, guys, I wasn’t thinking.

  12. Got a nice option file all loaded up thanks to a mate who helped me out.

    All worked perfectly although, like last year oddly, I had to manually load up West Ham and West Brom’s kits and badges.

    I also saw that all the squads were the out of date ones after loading up the option file despite doing the live update pre-option file. I did the live update again to sort this which I assume is the right thing to do.

    I’m now editing a few youth players before starting ML tonight hopefully after the Brighton game on telly (free on Sky Sports Mix).

    Quick question, am I right in saying that I need to swap Brighton over with a Championship team in order to start with them in Div 2? Never had to do this before of course.

  13. if anyone has any option file links. Not even sure I’ll go with PES Universes if I get it, PES World’s is usually better. I appreciate the guys that put in their time and effort, but charging money for what at the end of the day is just a PES option file, making money off flogging licensed material, I struggle with the idea of forking out for a paid mod. I just hope it’s not the sign of things to come, and the editing community as a whole doesn’t receive too much backlash because of it.

  14. Can anyone who is relatively deep enough into it confirm what seems to be;

    An absence of fouls, an absence of injuries, weather but not so influential on the game, cosmetic ml changes and some bizarre e.g. Paul’s arsenal AI transferring?

    So far I’m not hearing all that much different to what 2015-17 have been doing. 2014 feels very much like the end of an era, and while the game on release was truly awful I’m not sure I would have shouted so loud had I known the biggest positive four years later would be the camera angle. At least it sounds quite tough and matches have been ok?

    2015 is being a pig and I’m going to use a word we don’t seem to hear much now – presumably as we accept it as given – scripting. I’m being royally screwed in the land of the nether.

  15. Anyone know the kit limit for 2048px kits? Or any image limits, for that matter.

  16. Shed – sometimes you need to re-apply the live update after installing the OF, sometimes you dont.

    Shed – thats right, go into edit competiton structure and swap over say Villa, for Brighton, then when you choose Brighton in ML, it will start you in Div 2 and Villa in the Prem.

    Just created Celtic’s Home/Away Kits for anyone that wants to manually load them in.
    They’ll be up on PESFX later, but grab them here in the meantime.

    View post on

    View post on

  17. Tommy – 340 slots for 2048 px images, over 700 for 1024 px
    TBH though, I’d go with 1024px images, you get tons more and they dont look any noticably different in game than the HD sizes, if they’re designed well enough.

  18. Paul – Efficient as always. Cheers.

  19. just the two of us on the 2018 sidelines now, Turf. I was thinking of picking up a copy in Sainsbury’s last night but £43 seemed a bit much for a product I would normally expect to see around £27.99

    quite a good review on Eurogamer, a number of the commenters seemed like people who would fit in well here

  20. Abbeyhill – head over to and send me your email address 😉

  21. Hope everybody understands there’s no way I can either keep up with comments in real time, or respond in full to everyone. I used to observe a policy of substantively replying to each and every comment individually. It was this period just after PES2013’s release that nearly broke me and led directly to me taking my long Reggie Perrin sabbatical from the site. I’ll reply when I can – I’m focusing mainly on playing the game now.

    Dan – it’d put me in a very awkward position to openly be sharing paid-for OFs on here, regardless of what I might think personally (I’m between for and against).

    Re. the mobile hotspot, glad it worked, and the ability to use a mobile phone as an impromptu wifi hotspot has got me out of jail countless times.

    Uncle Turf – fouls remain in the toilet, alas. You get the odd match where there are 2 or 3, but even the PES2017-style level where you’d get the very occasional match with 5 or 6 fouls seems to have gone. The average is around 1 per match, maybe just under – at demo levels, in other words. As I remarked over the past few weeks, no matter how otherwise good PES2018 proves to be, it is time to stop giving Konami a free pass on this, year after year. PES2018 will need a fouls patch to have any credibility as a PES game, never mind as a football game in general.

    I would put money on that fouls patch never coming, though, as Konami will have calculated – probably correctly – that the fouls issue will evaporate this year as it has evaporated every year since the no-fouls trend started. There are just too many PES players, so-called hardcore players among them, for whom it isn’t an issue – the majority of the no-fouls-please-we’re-hardcore-lol crowd will be online, of course. I’m even more annoyed about no-fouls than I was before, because PES2018 plays a very good game overall, but no-fouls is the mother of all turds in the punchbowl. Football gameplay without fouls tends to degenerate into the harem-scarem crap seen online, and which has infected offline for two editions now. I’m watching PES2018 very carefully indeed.

  22. NG – think we all know the law of the land around here and that none of us expect immediate responses/comments.

    I pretty much spearheaded a forum/twitter campaign to raise awareness on fouls, and bombarded the people who matter about it for weeks, until which point it picked up pace and had a slew of people onboard and drew a direct response from Konami themselves.
    It was a small victory even getting them to officially acknowledge that a population of people aren’t happy with the lack of fouls, baby steps.

    As Adam rightly said, its a tough one to balance, a large number of people think there should be more fouls, just as many are probably happy how it is and don’t want fouls, Konami can’t win on this one either way, they’re gonna piss at least one camp off whatever they do.
    They could, as Adam agreed with me would be the ideal solution, implement a ref strictness setting, or just implement a randomised ref strictness level per match, so its varied, you’ll get matches with decent amounts of fouls, you may get others with hardly any, I’d take that, but as simple as it sounds, it would be quite complex to implement without knock on effects within the game logic.
    So, as you say, the easiest thing would probably be to keep quiet and hope the issue evaporates and it isn’t raised again, we can only wait and see.

    I’m still uber excited to setup and start a ML this weekend, probably wont be until Sunday night, but it will happen.

  23. nG – Trust me, you have nothing to worry about. I wasn’t thinking when I made that post. I realise that paid-for option files are a matter of dispute amongst players these days, but the guys over at PES Universe did superhuman work to get their OF released yesterday. It wouldn’t be fair to give that out to anyone and everyone for free. Sorry if I got anyone’s hopes up about that. I was in a rush back out to work and wasn’t thinking straight.

    Any word on Serie B and Liga NOS? They weren’t included in the PES Universe OF.

  24. Serie B and Ligue NOS will be in V2 which is due next week Dan.

  25. Hopefully this is ok but on page 47 of the WENB pes18 forum page in part 9 someone has posted a link to the pes universe file

Comments are closed.