Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer has, in many ways, surpassed EA’s FIFA. Ignore it at your own peril
EA’s FIFA is the benchmark for most football gaming enthusiasts. But, if you really love the game, Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) is where it’s at. While FIFA feels more arcade than simulation, PES threads the line where the game is fun enough to play with your buddies, but has enough for the enthusiast in you to feel satisfied. This is not only gameplay, but also the feel. Interactions and tackles with other players seem much better.
PES is not an easy pick-up-and-play game like FIFA. Even in the regular mode, the game is challenging, let alone playing it with a physical person or increased difficulty. This is partly because the game is frustratingly realistic, which adds to the emotion when you do finally manage to score a goal. If you find it tough to win against the AI, you can switch to Beginner which is the game’s easiest mode. But, do you really want to do that?
The most enjoyable mode in single player is the Master League where you can play a manager. It lets you manage the money part of the game, which includes negotiating contracts, finding affordable talent and developing the team. All of this is a lot of fun.
Just because you are a manager doesn’t mean you have to watch the game from the sidelines. Although that option exists, it is more fun to just get down and dirty on the field.
Become a Legend mode lets you manage the career of a player destined to be a star. You can either choose from an existing roster of famous players or build a new player from scratch. We’d recommend the latter. Playing with friends is also entertaining; you can all play as part of one team or even against each other all on one screen on the console version.
Unfortunately, there are a few chinks in the PES 2016 armour. For one, the commentary gets repetitive really fast and we mean like eight matches in, and since the game isn’t the same with the commentary on mute, you have to bear with it. The music is also a bit boring. There are a dozen or so tracks which keep repeating. But you can add some custom songs though, which is good. Another problem area is the polish. While the game plays well and looks good at a distance, close-up during replays and other events look rather unpolished on the PC and PS3 version. FIFA probably has an advantage here. Though, according to us, this isn’t a big problem since most of the real gameplay happens from a distance, where PES is as good a game as any.
While Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 does have some flaws, they aren’t crippling enough to affect the overall gameplay and we might go as far as to say this is probably the best soccer game we have experienced in a long time. The next version of FIFA would have to push itself to outdo PES. And, judging by the way FIFA has been resting on its laurels all this while, it might be just the kick they needed to up their game as well.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Price: PC: Rs 999; X360/PS3: Rs 2,499; XBone/PS4: Rs 2,999