There is an almost unnoticeable brilliance to PES 2016 that has left us struggling to explain exactly why are we loving it!
Brazil vs Argentina or Real Madrid vs Barcelona... Football has always thrived on rivalries. These derbies, over many years, have made soccer a beautiful game. But when it comes to the biggest digital rivalry, it has come down to Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer and Electronic Arts’ FIFA . PES used to dominate the match-up until EA revamped its offering a few years ago. Now, the American publisher’s franchise stands as the cup holder.
Since the switch in supremacy, Konami has worked hard to regain its place as the best on the pixelated pitch. Like a struggling star looking to regain his form, PES has slowly worked its way back into playing shape, ready for a chance to shine one more time.
When did you last use fun to describe a sports game? We’ve used words like realistic and detailed. Comprehensive, too. But fun? We don’t remember. And is that not the reason we play video games? PES 2016 is fun! There, we said it! This year, it has shaken off the last remnants of rigidity and has delivered faster more responsive and fluid game of football. It’s hard to compare EA and Konami, just because the two handle the game so distinctively. While FIFA recreates the look of the sport, PES closely captures the feel. For starters, there’s much more sense of physicality this year. If FIFA was like a more physical EPL, PES is like La Liga. It’s evident when you see the players fighting for possession-and for position, of course. Whether you win or lose the ball in a challenge is dependent on a number of factors, taking into consideration the skill of the players involved and their position in relation to the ball, and one another. Referees too are more lenient than in real life. You can barrel into the opponent, win the ball while making a direct contact and it won’t account for a foul every time.
The attacking game too has been tweaked and Konami efforts in individualising players are commendable. Like controlling Alexis Sanchez or Carlos Tevez is a joy as these players have the balance to skip over the challenges and are constantly striving to stay on their feet. As a fan of Arsenal, I expected the Aaron Ramsays and Jack Wilsheres to be unstoppable on the wings and a Mesut Ozil pass would be a thing of measured perfection, but it was good to see even Mikel Arteta equally well represented. Like last year, some players are clearly overpowered, but then that’s truth of life. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are close to unplayable, but it’s up to you to find a way to deal with them, whether it’s doubling-up on markers, cutting off their supply lines or even tactical fouling.
Away from the pitch, menus are much more user-friendly, with the ability to pin your favourite game types to the home screen, while Master League has undergone an interface overhaul that makes one of the medium’s best career modes even more enjoyable. We’re not going to list all the licences that are present and those that aren’t, you can easily find that information on World Wide Web. It’s clear that while Konami is still trying to grab as many as it can, this is one area where FIFA will always have the upper hand.
PES 2016 finds the perfect blend on the pitch while benefiting from some smart tuning off it. It’s hard to pick fault with what Konami has achieved with PES 2016 . While it’s too early to say with absolute confidence that PES 2016 is the best football game ever, it has to be right up there for sure!