Football is all about attack and defence, balancing the two and executing each with precision in order to stop the other team scoring and net yourself some goals as well. In Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 the same rules apply, and we've compiled a guide on how to make the most out of both attack and defence and what you should and should not do to make the most out of each match.
Before we start, we thought it best to say that all the training games in the 'Extras' tab of the menu are worth playing through in their entirety, as they train you in-game and are more valuable to get to grips with than any written instructions. These tips will compliment the basics that can be learned in training.
There are a lot of areas of attacking, and it's not all about the shooting and the goals but about how you get to a position where you can score goals and so much more. Players need to work together and tactics need to be applied to become a deadly attacking force, and in PES 2017 goals don't always come easy, so it's best to put thought into how you'll attack before jumping straight in. Here we have compiled a few pointers on each aspect of attacking.
Tactics: Before you even start a match, tactics need to be carefully considered to maximise your attacking prowess. First of all comes team selection. Obviously you would prefer a great team like FC Barcelona or Man City (you can get real teams by following this guide), but if this isn't possible then try and choose a team that works in the way you like to play. Take some time and experiment with teams and see which ones you like, as different teams favour different tactics. Some are long-ball orientated and some rely on raw pace - see which one you like and choose appropriately.
Then comes the 'Game Plan' menu. In our recent guide on features and modes we go into detail about what is included in this menu, and again it all comes down to personal preference. Should you want to use quick wingers, for example, we would recommend a 4-3-3 formation like Real Madrid. If you want to be very defensive and hit people on the counter, however (especially useful if you don't anticipate dominating matches) then a 4-4-2 like Leicester would work, especially with quick strikers like Jamie Vardy.
The important thing to remember is that the Game Plan can be consulted and changed during matches as well. If you find that your formation isn't working, your keeper is dire or your striker has broken his ankle, all of these issues can be addressed in-game, including substitutions. What this also means is that tactics can also be changed and you can go all-out defence, all-out attack, counter-attack or whatever else to suit the situation at hand.
We would recommend new players using a formation that maybe covers at the back but allows attacking options, such as the aforementioned Real Madrid 4-3-3, which isn't too attacking but allows enough quality for you to really get to grips with the attacking easily.
There aren't a lot of tips we can give for tactics in general since it all depends on the personal preference and the style of play not only for each player but also each team, but one thing we can say is try not to bend teams to your will. Not all teams will suit all tactics, and not all players will suit all roles you want them in. You're going to have a miserable time trying to get Zlatan Ibrahimovic on darting runs, for example, but if you use him as a big, intimidating target man you'll have more luck.
Attacking runs: As mentioned, attacking isn't all about shooting but how to get to a position where you can get the shot away. Here is where tactics are also applicable, as a more attacking tactic will let runs happen more often whereas a defensive one will see attackers stay back and be more cautious.
All-out attack, for instance, puts far more players forwards in order to increase attacking threat, so more runs will be made not only in the centre but on the wings as well. This isn't wise to start off with, though, as it leaves you open at the back. Balanced is probably wisest in terms of runs and positioning, as it doesn't commit too many men forward and leaves you cover at the back.
It's hard to advise on runs as well because you are always controlling the player and not the person off the ball (unless you have the luxury of playing Team Play), but there is still some advice to give. Firstly, the teammate "trigger run" controls are invaluable for those who wish to tell their teammates where to go. By holding L1/LB and pushing the right stick towards a teammate you can forces them to do a forward run. This is especially good if an opposition defence is solid and you need specific runs to split it up.
Secondly, by holding L1/LB while passing, the player you just passed with does a forward run, allowing you to then pass to them again in a one two fashion. This is again useful if you want more control over runs and where they occur, or if you want a specific player doing a run. This second option is simpler for those who want to start learning how to make runs, although the first gives better attacking options.
There are variations of these teammate run controls, like the dynamic one two where you press L1/LB and the right stick after to control the run, or pressing R2/RT before any pass to do a run after passing, but these can require a long time on the ball since they're a bit harder to execute.
Of course with all types of runs you have to be careful not to be caught offside, but as a whole these should give you more access to attacking options if this is the style you're going for. What should also be noted is that runs can be triggered not only from open play but from corners and goal kicks, so get experimenting. Also bare in mind that these can sometimes be predictable if there is a player running into the box, so you could perhaps use these as decoy runs to lure defenders out of position.
Positioning: The same issues with runs apply to positioning as well in the sense that it can sometimes be hard to control the positions of players when you're not in control of them. Basically, the thing to bare in mind here is that your team and your tactics will obviously determine the positioning of players. A deeper LM won't be on the left wing quite so often as a forward on the left, for example. The solution then is to manage the shape of your team to make sure that they are more often in a position where you would like them to be.
Corner Kicks: Corners can sometimes take a while to get to grips with, but the most important thing to focus on is the indicator that comes up on screen. This can be turned on or off but basically this tells you the trajectory of the ball, where it is going and the curve that will be applied to it. By using this you can easily practice putting the ball where you want, experimenting with power and direction to place the ball in useful positions.
In corners you can also change who takes the corner (someone who has a different stronger foot could curl the ball a different way) as well as choosing a short corner, controlling another player, turning assistance on or off as well as corner tactics. This last bit is especially important as it gives different tactical options to try out, such as crowding the box.
The best advice here is to experiment with options. Ground balls, lofted passes and curled crosses all work in different scenarios, so see which one is best for you. All of this is also dependent on the team you are playing as and the team you're facing.
Crossing: The advice we can give here is very similar to that of corners in the sense that different situations will require different types of crosses. For example, if there's a tall man up front a high pass by pressing circle/B while holding R2/RT will be more useful, however, should you wish to instead exploit the gap between the keeper and the defence an earlier cross might be the ticket, by pressing circle/B while holding L1/LB.
Another crossing option to bare in mind is the low cross by double tapping the cross button. This quicker cross fizzes the ball into the feet of a teammate, which is good when they are open or if you want to really cause some chaos in the box.
One tip we can offer, aside from choosing the type of cross, is to always concentrate on positioning. We prefer to cut inside before doing a lot of crosses, but this might not suit all situations, and you should always consider not only where your winger is but also where attackers are. Crossing into an empty box isn't useful, after all, so you may have to run it right to the line before cutting it back.
Free Kicks: The free kick system in PES is not only very different from FIFA but also very fun in the sense that all different kinds of results can be achieved. The same indicator of direction as corners applies here, so be aware of where you are shooting at all times and who you are taking the free kick with. If you are on the right side facing the goal, you may want a left footed player to curl it in the top left corner, for instance, as they can achieve more curl in that direction.
Practice makes perfect here and so try the skill games a lot and see if you can fine tune your skills. This involves hitting different targets and avoiding obstacles with each shot, so it is a perfect way to make sure you know how to slip a shot under the wall or curl one into the top corner.
Penalty Kicks: Penalties are rather simple in PES and involve moving the left stick gently to aim. Moving the stick all the way in one direction will miss the goal, so delicacy and precision are the things to have here. Move the left stick gently in one direction and press the power bar lightly (but not too lightly) to get the winning shot away. Again, the skill game helps practice this a lot, so plough time into that.
Passing: Passing is the core of the game and the core of attacking as well. If you don't know how to pass, you're not going anywhere, and although there are thousands of things to say about it, here are the main things every player needs to know before setting off.
X/A is a normal pass to the teammate's feet, which is good for most parts of the pitch, however, when moving forwards and attacking a through ball, using triangle/Y, may be the best option. These pass the ball ahead of the teammate so they can run onto it, which is great if they are in a position where they can exploit a gap in the defence.
There are also different tactics when approaching passing. If you're feeling really brave you can try a Barcelona Tika-Taka style of passing, which involves pinging the ball between players quickly, although this is more risky than taking your time and choosing passes carefully.
The best advice to give when passing, though, is to be sensible. Just because you want to do a chipped through ball doesn't mean it'll work, and it's all about reading the play. If you find a striker running towards a gap, that's the time to do a through ball. If a player is marked, don't try to pass to them. Learning when and where to pass all comes with time, though, so don't be disheartened.
Shooting: Here we come to the main event, the meat of the attacking guide, and that is how to get the ball from your player into the back of the net. Here we will go through each type of shot and describe the benefits of each and where you should use them to maximise your attacking potential.
Normal shot - pressing square/X when on the ball will take a shot at the goal, and this is the shot that most people will use. Other shots take more time to set up and require more buttons to press, so these are the go-to for beginners. They are influenced by speed of run, distance taken before striking the ball and the longer you hold it, the higher the elevation.
Controlled shot - pressing square/X while holding R2/RT will shoot with accuracy but less power, making it harder for the keeper to save. These are for situations where you really need to tuck a shot in the bottom corner but don't need to blast it, such as close range. With talented players, this can be deadly.
Chipped shot - pressing square/X while holding L1/LB makes your player lob the ball, and in comparison to FIFA this shot is much more delicate. This allows you to lightly dink the ball over the keeper if he goes to ground or if he's off his line, but you have to have timing, talent and a bit of audacity to try this one.
Headers - pressing shoot when the ball is in the air at head-height will more than likely do a header (although occasionally there will be an overhead kick) and for these you need to ideally be in front of the defender and just under where it will land. If you're too far forwards it'll skim off your head and too far back will put it into the ground. Positioning is key.
Volleys - if you're lucky enough to get a chance to volley the ball, the glorious option would be to smash it first time into the back of the net, although we'd always advise taking a touch when you can, maybe hitting it on the half volley instead. That's much more likely to get a goal.
In terms of general tips and tricks when shooting, the closer to the goal the better. PES doesn't often reward long shots, but when close to the goal chances of success increase dramatically. Getting on a one-on-one with the keeper spells good news for you, but blasting one from 30 yards does not.
Defence is key in any football game, and to bolster your attacking gameplay you need to be good at defending so as to not concede. Here we'll give you a guide to the core pillars of defence and tell you what to do and what not to do when players come knocking at your door.
Tactics: As with attacking, formations and tactics need to be considered in regards to defence. Defensive formations suit teams with strong defenders or who are playing far superior teams, but all-out defence we would say is reserved for those last ten minutes of games where you really need to see out a win. As with before, experiment with these and see what suits you, although bare in mind that you should balance attack and defence and not rely too heavily on either.
Also, by pausing the game and pressing on 'Help' there are other instructions regarding defensive tactics, one of which being to press the D-pad in the direction of the opposition goal twice which will move the back line upfield temporarily in order to try the offside trap, although this is dangerous because it can lead to people getting through if timed badly. There is also the option to control the keeper by pressing L1/LB and clicking the right stick in, which comes with its own risks too.
Although this technically applies to both attacking and defending, by pressing up on the D-pad twice, or down on the D-pad twice, you can also adjust the team's attacking or defending levels, as indicated by a gauge next to your player's name. This is always important as it gives quick options of gameplay during a match and can be used intuitively based on the situation i.e. just after a corner or on the counter.
Standing Tackles: These are your go-to option for dispossessing opponents. Holding X/A will make the player you're controlling move towards the ball automatically, which will close the player down and either take the ball off them, if it is open to be taken, or force the player to change direction. Holding R1/RB at the same time makes your sprint towards them, and these types of pressure are what force attackers into making mistakes. The less time you give them, the less likely they are to pose a threat.
If you are feeling particularly confident and just that little bit more daring you can double tap X/A when close to the attacker to pull of a standing tackle, although this is liable to be a foul if not timed right. Use this sparingly and when you're really confident of getting the ball.
Sliding Tackles: If standing tackles are the safe option, going to ground is the dangerous one. Using circle/B, these can be incredibly useful when executed well, although they can also go horribly wrong. The key here is timing - if a player isn't close enough to standing tackle but you're at an angle where you can lunge in and dispossess them, it may be worth a shot, but if they are too far away you risk catching the player.
The issue with this tackle is that anything can happen in the space between pressing the button and the tackle connecting. If the player moves a bit further away or changes direction, the tackle you thought would be brilliant could clatter them from behind or give away a penalty. You risk getting carded and giving away fouls, but that's not to say you should never try them. These should be a last resort, though, and used when necessary.
Teammate Pressure: To really get good at defending it's not just about what you do with the player you're controlling but how you control the team as well. If you are controlling one player, you can use square/X to make a teammate pressure the player on the ball, leaving you to move freely where you wish.
There is also the option to have more than one teammate apply pressure. By pressing square/X twice and then holding it, two or three players will pressure the player on the ball. This is especially necessary when an opposition player is in a prime shooting position and you need to apply a lot of pressure.
This tactic is especially useful since it allows you to freely move your own player for whatever reason, whether that be to mark someone, cut off a passing option or cover an attacker's run. This is what separates the apt from the exceptional defending as it means you can use the team to defend rather than just one player. It becomes about the whole, not about the one, and this is important since you'll be facing a group of attackers more often than not.
Saving Penalties: There is very little advice to give here, as it is based on luck for the majority, but when up against a penalty use the left stick to both position your keeper before the shot and dive to try and save when the shot is taken. Try to aim for the corners, however, as that is where most players shoot, and move around a little before the shot is taken to try and throw your opponent off.
Clearing the Ball: When there are no options in terms of where to pass when the ball is in your half, using square/X will clear the ball and get it away from the danger area. This is particularly useful when the ball is lofted into the box and you need to head it away while defenders get back to assist. We would always recommend passing it in a more composed fashion, but desperate times may call for a clearance.
That was our guide to attacking and defending, and all that's left to say is read through the 'Help' options in the match to see what other secrets you can find to bolster your skills, and practice in training to really get the most out of your experience.