Yo, this be Reuben – everyone’s least favourite unexpected footie fan. This is an issue that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, for a few reasons; I’ve been playing football games as much as ever, EA keep on showing us more snippets of FIFA 17 and Konami have released their demo for PES 2017. Of course, I played it. And it’s damn good.
I was a little unimpressed initially but as I played it more I realised just how great it is. The shooting, passing, tackling, crossing and goalkeeper AI are all better than in FIFA 16, which is my last football game purchase. I didn’t try the tactics ‘n stuff much honestly, but I assumed they wouldn’t be any worse than in PES 2015. It definitely seems like a game for the defenders, though, and not the attackers. There’s a lot of interceptions, successful tackles and skinning defenders is very difficult, along with the shooting being something of an acquired skill as in most PES games. As a result, attacking and scoring goals is harder than I’ve ever experienced in a footie sim. Defending is better, too, than I’ve ever experienced, because tackles feel so realistic, and everything feels rightly physical. It’s a part of the football game that hasn’t ever quite been emulated quite right in its video games, but I think it’s been pioneered by Konami.
The attacking play ain’t no slouch, either. As mentioned before, there are so many aspects of the game that feel better than in EA’s last footie output, including basics like shooting, passing and crossing that are vital to keeping the attacking play at a realistic and fun quality. In FIFA 16, the crossing in particular is extremely poor, because it’s usually inaccurate and it’s difficult to give them any height or power, so cross-field passing and crossing in from outside the box is the worst I’ve experienced in a while. The newest PES, at least, has much more viable crossing. In passing, there is a greater range of styles and power, and in shooting it is the same – with both having fantastic animations. Shooting from outside the box is especially good, because it’s the first time its felt totally real. It’s also harder to get things done on the front foot, because of the aforementioned improved defensive AI, so attacking in the game can’t be done right by any average Joe – Pro Evolution Soccer requires skill. A game that requires skill punches a challenge, and a challenge is much appreciated by yours truly – as long as it isn’t impossible, thank you very much. You can’t just run through the opposition midfield and hope to score with a pot shot in PES 2017 — which is also partly down to improved goalkeeper AI.
The thing about PES, however, is that it’s still far, far behind FIFA in terms of licenses, and at this rate I’m not sure if Konami are going to get on EA’s terms with those. Sure, customization is great, but I’d like the real thing, thanks. Also, FIFA is beating PES as ever on animations, because this new PES game is as stuttery and oddly floaty as ever. That last observation is down to FIFA 16, though, not 17. Maybe the trailers hide some sort of hideous tackling animation that involves the tackled player’s left calf imploding whilst their eyes bulge at extreme rates. Who knows what the future of EA’s animation holds.
Freakish jokes aside, although Pro Evolution Soccer seems to be on top of the gameplay front at the moment, it still isn’t having its legacy issues sorted out. EA have bagged extensive licenses for more obscure leagues like the Norwegian and South Korean, whilst Konami have just two Premier League teams licensed and two from La Liga, after losing the rights for Real Madrid and Manchester United among EVERY OTHER Spanish top flight side. Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and Liverpool are the new names on the block, as people can finally play as Aubameyang on Pro Evo. However, joining Real Madrid and Manchester United in the outcasts is European superpower Bayern Munich, as they are not even in the game – not even as an unlicensed team — Real Madrid happen to be ‘MD White’. The new PES has only six stadiums too.
FIFA, on the other hand, has all of the best teams licensed with stadiums N all. It even has the English Football League in its entirety, just when you thought authentic Premier League licensing wasn’t enough. FIFA totally slams PES into the ground in terms of licenses, and players on top of that. There are hundreds more players in FIFA than in PES, with the majority even having pictures. Konami are like, wowserz.
The crowds and commentary in FIFA are also better than in PES, or at least that has been the rule for the last few years. Although I haven’t played the newest FIFA yet, I can guess that rule is still going strong for EA. The atmosphere in a game in FIFA is fantastic.
EA have also brought more to the football game before PES with the addition of managers being more of a prominent presence and the mode of The Journey. The Journey, though quite an odd idea, seems like a good one to me, as I explained in this article. Ultimate Team is also still the big thing in terms of footie games, and Konami’s myClub is an obvious copy cat move in attempt to do something like Ultimate Team to please online players. It’s a copy cat move and that’s what it will always look like. In terms of authenticity and content, Electronic Arts are the innovators, and Konami will always be chasing on that front.
Regardless, EA are on the back foot in gameplay terms, as Konami are the innovators there. But the problem is, authenticity in a sports simulator is hugely important, and PES just can’t reach the heights of FIFA – as NBA 2K proves in its awesomosity (new word, ya bozos). The Japanese developers are reaching new heights in gameplay, but that isn’t the only thing that makes a game. I suppose many critics claimed PES 2016 was on top of the last year’s football games, but I decisively chose FIFA over PES that time, and I may do that again, unless the demo for FIFA 17 is terrible – which I sincerely doubt. In everything other than gameplay, FIFA is still better than PES. And who knows, FIFA 17 might yet reach PES 2017’s gameplay brilliance with its new engine.
Oh wait! I haven’t mentioned any footie game in this article made before 2014, have I. I know that PES 6 was king in its day, and that PES was already beating FIFA back in the day, but in this decade and some of the last FIFA has been unmovable on the top spot. I’m talking about what’s going on now, and not what went on ten years ago, just to clarify. So indeed;
FIFA is still winning this fight; but PES is close on its tail. It’s time will come again.
Bringing redundant opinions for scrollers everywhere,