EA noticed that PES is catching up and E3 showed they are no longer resting on their laurels.
FIFA has been the dominating force of football video games since the end of the PS2 generation.
Back in the day, PES 6 reigned supreme and Adriano had 99 shot power.
However, both EA and Konami displayed impressive changes to their respective franchises at E3 2016, and the playing field looks to have been levelled significantly.
DESIblitz asked British Asians which sports video game they prefer and whether they will be buying FIFA 17 or Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 this time round.
FIFA vs PES ~ Gameplay
FIFA 16 came under significant criticism in 2015 due to haphazard passing and game speed being agonisingly slower than FIFA 15.
PES, on the other hand, was a much snappier experience. But goalkeepers were completely unreliable and defending was an issue with fouls being easily committed.
The tactics system on PES 2016 was an inspired addition in 2015. The ability to choose two separate formations and team instructions for when you are with or without possession is such a simple yet game changing idea; one which EA are surely kicking themselves for not coming up with first.
Manjoth says: “FIFA played at a snail’s pace this year and why do the players take so long to collect the ball for a throw in? We don’t need to see that animation.”
Zain adds: “The gameplay in this year’s PES was probably the best showing from Konami in years. But making a clean tackle was difficult and poor goalkeeping cost me the match far too often.”
Visuals and Graphics
When taking an up close and personal look at character models, PES undoubtedly triumphs over its rival which can be seen by side by side comparisons. But the overall presentation is superior on FIFA.
When in game, the pitch and players are much more vibrant on FIFA and Martin Tyler and Alan Smith are far less robotic than their commentating counterparts on PES in the form of Peter Drury and Jim Beglin.
An integral but often forgotten part of a football game these days are the menu screens. PES 2016 looks outdated in comparison to FIFA 16. This is not so much the main menu, but the team selection and team management screens:
“The menus really haven’t changed much since the PS2 generation and, despite gameplay being king and the nostalgia factor of seeing that hexagon stat display, a revamp is required,” says Juggy.
For years, a massive point of contention has been the licensing. Although PES have acquired the licences for the Champions League and Europa League, having to play as Manchester Red or West Midlands Village was a deal breaker for many players.
On PS4, this can be solved with simply going to a website, downloading the kits and crests, putting them on a USB stick and copying them into the game. But Xbox users do suffer.
Aziz explains: “I prefer FIFA because they have the sweet sweet licences but I guess it’s brand loyalty at this point. I used to play PES but the naming rights got me in the end. I got fed up as playing as Merseyside Red.”
Unbelievably, PES servers were even worse than FIFA’s and because offline PES is so sharp, even minor lag is very noticeable and severely impacted gameplay online.
MyClub still lacks the pizazz of FIFA’s Ultimate Team. Admittedly the game mode is in its embryonic stage of development. But Konami did include innovative mechanics including player growth and a system to convert unwanted players into trainers, neither of which are present in FIFA.
FIFA’s addition of the FUT Draft was much welcomed by fans of the franchise as it was a very fast paced tournament style. This is perfect for those who don’t wish to partake in the long grind of Ultimate Team.
PES is also more liberal with in-game currency compared to the more stringent rewards EA hands out, which means you’ll be opening more balls than you would packs.
However, there is no in-game market in PES 2016, resulting in much slower squad growth which will not hold the attention of the impatient millennial.
What did we Learn at E3?
FIFA 17 Features:
- Improved jockeying ~ L2 will now become your best friend.
- The ability to chest down from a long ball or a goal kick and try and turn the opposition as opposed to just jockeying for a header.
- Throw-ins have been fixed ~ Ability to move up and down the touchline and do dummy throws.
- Set piece renovation ~ Corners, free kicks and penalties have been completely changed. Gone is the mini game of timing on the penalties. Penalties are more like taking a normal shot with run up control. It will be the year of the stuttering Ronaldo penalty. It will take some time getting used to as those at E3 struggled to convert from the spot.
- Corners and free kicks no longer involve blind aiming with additional curve from the analogue stick, but now utilises a reticle system.
- EA have coined the Active Intelligence system ~ I.e. how the game and the players not in your control understand space. AI will supposedly now understand what space is good and what space is bad, not just run in straight direct lines, make better attacking runs and take better defensive positions.
- Addition of ‘The Journey’ story mode.
PES 17 Features:
- Goalkeepers have been fixed ~ 2016’s iteration keepers were statuesque, lacked any manoeuvrability and lost most one on one’s.
- Adaptive AI ~ AI will learn how you play and adapt to counteract your play style.
- Real touch system ~ slightly slower gameplay and improved first touch
- ‘MyClub’ now has an auction house
- Roster updates are fixed with a promised Day 1 roster update
Adam Bhatti, Global Product and Brand Manager of PES, said at E3:
“If you attack down the wings a lot the AI will double up against you. If you have a star player on your master league and you start passing the ball to him a lot the AI’s will double up on him. If you intercept their short passes too often they’ll start going long.”
Will you be Buying FIFA 17 or PES 17?
Aman says: “I stopped playing PES in 2008 and have been a FIFA purchaser ever since. FIFA 16 was so bad that this year I was going to buy PES but the reveal of the Journey has perked my curiosity and I’ll be buying FIFA yet again.”
Aron adds: “I played a fair amount of PES last year and was planning to switch sides but a Bioware style story mode in a football game? That I need to check out, so I’ll be buying FIFA 17 this year.”
“Seeing ‘The Journey’ mode at E3 almost swayed me to go for FIFA this year. But PES 2016 was arguably the best football game in history in terms of gameplay and I can’t wait to see the effects of adaptive AI,” Kerez argues.
EA have noticed that PES is catching up and E3 2016 showed that they are no longer resting on their laurels. Yet, the addition of ‘The Journey’ is seemingly the main factor that has swayed the undecided voters.
PES does need to improve their out of game and online experience. But it is pleasing to see they are now pushing EA to innovate.
Competition is something EA hasn’t had to worry about for years now, and it is of great benefit to gamers that this no longer the case. PES makers, Konami are keen to impress.