PES v Fifa - The Pitched Battle - HighrezGaming

Go to content

Main menu:

Features > Face-Offs

The Fever Pitched Battle: FIFA vs. PES / 25th of September 2015

If you cast your minds back… yes, way back, to when our two main writers discussed the pros and cons of simulation and arcade driving games with gravitas and eloquence (okay, we’re lying there), you’ll know that they each took an opposing stance, and so it is that history has once again proven its knack for repeating itself. Today, as it is the month of the annual football game releases as well as the start of the Champions League, the two are once more at loggerheads (sort of), only this time, they are engaged in the age-old battle of Pro Evolution Soccer versus FIFA Soccer. Which will come out on top? Well, that’s entirely up to you really, but one thing’s for sure, they’d both benefit by referring to the sport by its real name; football.

Goliath Squashes David

Konami had managed to pip FIFA’s looks. FIFA boasts superior grass textures, perfectly replicated stadia and more life to the on-screen action, but there can be no doubt that the margin is definitely closing with each passing year, so perhaps the day when PES will reclaim its crown as King of Football Games is now beginning to draw near.

Of course, aesthetics are important, but not the be all and end all, and I’m afraid that Konami have once again been pipped by EA here too. There’s a subtlety to FIFA that PES could only dream about having, to me Konami’s latest efforts still feel as antiquated as PES 4, now whilst that was arguably the highlight of the series, it’s also ten years old now, and such a simplistic football experience is no longer what I’m after. To me PES focuses far too much on attacking and negates the rest of the game, rendering defenders as little more than bystanders watching the action unfold, whilst the FIFA team allow players to move their defenders with a bit of agility at least, properly facing off against a marauding runner in the way that they would in the real world. There’s balance to the tussle of attack versus defence, though obviously, if they didn’t keep tweaking it every year such attention would not have been required in the latest effort – yes, FIFA 15, I’m looking at your rather stupid emphasis on speed above all else!

There’s possibly too much to FIFA though, it’s control scheme amounts to a whopping twelve pages of instructions, with free kicks alone requiring two of these to explain the intricacies of the many options that are available, this is daunting even to a seasoned player, but is likely to be really off-putting to any newcomer. PES simplifies things, and whilst on the whole this is a weakness in my eyes, it can also prove to be one of its greatest strengths. What people need to bear in mind though, is that FIFA can also be played out just as simply as PES can, the rest of it is there for more advanced players, or for those that insist on trying to act the fool by parading around in an online game performing as many of the available skill moves as possible, ignoring the fundamentals that actually make the game. This to me, is why people play PES, because Konami focus on the basic building blocks of the game, there’s no denying that it plays with just a little more zip than FIFA does, but whilst on so many occasions the players here tend to take heavy, laboured first touches, it’s still quite possible to play attractive one touch football, though with the latest game’s drop in speed, we’ll have to see if this can still be achieved without the need to change the team’s attacking mentality on the fly.

FIFA 15 had too much of an emphasis on speed, it was misplaced and badly executed, meaning that teams with quick players would always triumph, but the change to FIFA 16’s more methodical football only shows EA Canada’s desire to listen to the community as they strive to make the best football game yet. And the thing is, they’re almost there too. FIFA’s game modes are vast and varied, though there is undoubtedly far too much emphasis on EA’s cash cow, Ultimate Team, which seemingly prevents the developer spending the time that they need to create a more comprehensive career mode that properly tracks how many caps that you’ve played for your country (please, don’t have Martin Tyler declare that every game is my first cap again). On top of that, online play is robust, and again, there are numerous modes to enjoy here too, now if only the EA server farms would get a much needed upgrade, we’d then be able to enjoy it without having to account for the eight second delay that occurs after every button press.

You probably wouldn’t guess from the ranting above that I actually love the FIFA games, but I certainly do, I don’t plough hour after hour into it like some do, but it’s a game that I can always count on being able to dabble in for the full year between releases. It’s still a sublime multiplayer experience (though what football game isn’t?) and whilst it clearly still has some way to go, I have no doubts that the team at EA Canada will do everything that they can with the limited time that they have to ensure that the series continues to evolve. Play beautiful, play FIFA.

Substance Over Style

There’s virtually no hype or chatter about FIFA 16 this year, despite the fact that it’s been available to those with EA Access for a couple of weeks now. All anyone is talking about is the recent arrival of PES 2016. And with good reason, Konami’s now only remaining credible series has been steadily improving for the past three or four years, whereas EA’s FIFA has stagnated under years of barely noticeable upgrades. Something that’s become even more evident now both games have hit shelves across the country. But just to make things unequivocally clear I thought it might be wise to explain to you all - and James - why PES has always been, and will always be, the number one football game for anyone with any taste or self-respect.

It would be easy to write long, insightful chapters on why FIFA is so completely average, why it’s criminally uninspired, and more shit-caked than Richard Gere after having been locked in a Pets at Home megastore for an entire bank holiday weekend. And so I’ll do just that, but first let me explain what it is about PES that makes it so good.

Ever since the early days of the PlayStation 2 PES has ruled the roost as far as proper football games go. It was the progenitor, the game that practically invented the cheap night in playing videogames with your friends. A bit of PES, a fridge full of beer, and the sense of comradery created by collectively slagging off your mum, practically became a rite of passage to anyone born in the 80’s. And now with its recent return to the top spot, PES is set to once again delight those old enough to drink, but too young to realise just how much of a cunt drinking turns them into. Because PES is the ultimate social game, it can be picked up and played with relative ease by just about everyone, and whether you win, lose, or in James’ case get routinely pounded like a farmyard animal at Oxford, it’s always entertaining.

That being said however, PES does offer depth for those who seek it out. Most importantly despite not having access to certain licences on account of FIFA’s thuggish monopolising, each instalment of PES still managed to capture the individual traits and feel of each player. As hard as it may be for me to admit, over the past ten years or so Manchester United have traditionally held stronger squads than Liverpool. Yet despite this the majority of encounters between the two have more often than not ended with Liverpool - rightly - victorious. This truth of life is something that PES has always managed to echo flawlessly, it’s something the likes of FIFA and its identikit players has never managed. In years gone by PES games could be swung on the brilliance of individuals like Suarez, Torres (before he went shite) or Gerrard, making each match feel as close to the real thing as possible. By contrast FIFA’s low effort, generic stats has always meant that the team with the best squad always won out in the end, a cold computed result that lacked the heart that only PES could deliver.

Elsewhere this degree of depth evident in PES can be found in every facet of the game. From its inputs and their simple elegance, which ensure beating a man requires timing and opportunity, rather than a twatish foreknowledge of tricks that had no rightful place in a real game of football. To its Master League, which is second only to Football Manager in providing players with a true representation of the challenges of a full domestic league season. In short PES has it all where it counts, it plays better, it has more depth, and provides a more realistic footballing experience than FIFA ever could.

However people - like James - are stupid. The cheap gloss and commercialisation of football, most evident in the disgustingly gaudy Sky Sports, has a certain appeal to those with below par intellects. So when FIFA decided to ape the cheap looking on-screen graphics, the moronic commentary, and the pop music infused vomit fest that was Sky Sports football coverage it was onto a winner. This was the lowly depths that FIFA sunk to in order to outsell its rival. Unable to match it in substance, style was the only alternative. Even if that style was more consumerist and damaging to society than the illegitimate love child of George Osbourne and Donald Trump.

Because let’s be honest, FIFA has never, and will never come close to matching PES in the quality of its gameplay. Where a match in PES feels like an actual game of football, a match in FIFA feels like a football game imagined by the prick-faced TV executive whose job it is to cut together trailers from exhibition matches, splice in some classical music, and call football ‘the beautiful game’ as he sells it to those who think wearing Chelsea shirts to restaurants is acceptable. In FIFA, animations play out with no relation to what’s going on around a player, they skate over the grass, over-gesticulate in challenges, and wander around with faces that look as if they’ve been captured by a camera with a pair of your nan’s sweaty tights stretched over the lens.

No FIFA just will not do, it never has. PES has always been superior in every way and after this year’s iteration arrived the truth was unequivocally hammered home. When FIFA has succeeded, it’s been down to gimmicks, aping the worst aspects of modern football, or worse still, inventing the cash grabbing travesty that is Ultimate Team. Only morons - like James - would champion a game that goes out of its way to bend over its fans and provide them with a three knuckle salute on a weekly basis. Adding trading cards that have the capacity to lure countess droogs into obscene levels of spending in search of better players for their fantasy football team, and then making said system the focus of your entire game so that the rest of the content falls by the wayside is a truly reprehensible act. It’s something only made possible thanks to the complete lack of brain power, self-respect and morality present in those who consider themselves FIFA fans. Anyone with a shred of decency knows PES is the superior game, and for the sake of all that is decent together we must ensure FIFA, and its fans, are thrown down into their rightful place, somewhere between Kim Kardashian and a warehouse full of anal floss I expect.

Back to content | Back to main menu