Well, it’s another September in another year and we all know what that means! GTA V is coming out! Wait, no. The next instalment of FIFA and Pro Evo will be hitting our shelves! (But, the other thing too).
With every year comes the age old argument between football fans, do you play Pro Evo, or do you play FIFA? Often, one person can judge another person depending on their choice of game. If they like Pro Evo, they’re probably a sissy, if they like FIFA then it’s safe to assume that they’re awesome in every single way and have fantastic taste in video games (any guesses as to which series I prefer?). However, you might find this shocking to hear, but I was once a Pro Evo fan! “Blasphemy!”, I hear you shout to the rafters, “you traitor!”, you scream at the top of your lungs. That’s right, fellow gamer, I switched sides. Why, you ask? Well, I shall tell you. Because sometime, in the past ten years, Pro Evo stopped being the better game and FIFA leapt ahead, with all of its fancy licences and realistic game experience … ness. That being said, perhaps this year something will be different. Maybe this year Pro Evolution Soccer 14 will be the flag bearer for subsequent football games. Could FIFA fall from grace? Well, I’ve played both game demos and, I must say, it’s pretty unlikely.
I shall start with FIFA 14 and, using my technical jargon like ‘slower’, ‘more realistic’ and ‘interface’, I shall explain why I think this FIFA has the potential to be a real crowd pleaser. Firstly, the game feels much slower, but not in a bad way. FIFA games of old had a habit of shooting past. The ball could dart from one end to the other for the entire 90 minutes with both sides scoring four or five goals each (or none whatsoever if the keeper’s having a blinder). Now, however, play is much more methodical and it’s all about playing those killer passes and choosing the best time to dart forward with the ball. It’s about building an attack rather than throwing all eleven players at the goal like a schoolyard game of footy. That being said, the players have a real tough time keeping the ball. If you decide to hold the ‘sprint’ button at any time, you’re pretty much guaranteed to gift possession to the opposition.
This FIFA seems to be more about strength in possession rather than speed, which is a welcome change in my opinion. Crossing has also been updated so that it’s almost easier to score a headed goal than it is a shot from the area – which could prove frustrating in online games, but we’ll see. Furthermore, the interface seems a lot more user friendly, feeling much more like Football Manager than it does any previous FIFA title. In all, this feels like a much more realistic game. It’s well polished, the graphics are crisp (though almost unchanged from FIFA 13), the changes to gameplay are noticeable and, in the most part, welcomed. I think FIFA 14 is shaping up to be exactly what EA promised – slightly better than FIFA 13 … well, that’s not what they promised, but it’s what they mean by their statement, “the best FIFA yet”.
Now we turn to Pro Evolution Soccer 14. Here you can expect words like “Manchester United right back, Rafael, looks like a middle aged Rastafarian” and “sadly, it’s still not as good as FIFA”. Now, I just want to start by saying that every year I hope and pray that PES is better than FIFA. The sole reason being that I love the opportunity to create my own teams and then play as them in career mode. But, every year, PES disappoints me, and I end up having to play as crappy real teams with their crappy real players. So, where should I begin? The graphics for the players are very good, and in the most part probably better than FIFA’s.
Though everything else looks a bit untidy. The pitch looks perfectly flat, as if they were playing on Astroturf. The managers look ridiculous and so does the crowd (not that EA have done much better) and the whole game from a distance gave me a slight headache. That being said, the players that they have motion captured look incredible, whereas the players that they haven’t look pretty shocking. The whole experience feels unfinished and rushed and there are small annoyances – like the fact that the mini-map doesn’t disappear at the bottom of the screen when you run through it. Passing is overly difficult and tackling is near on impossible (but I must admit that fouling a player looks pretty damn cool, as I was doing it A LOT). In all it just feels second best to FIFA – and that really does pain me.
But, of course, there are some plus sides to the game. It feels like there is much more space on the pitch than in a game on FIFA 14. Also, celebrating a goal looks much more realistic when compared to the idiotic displays that players attempt in FIFA 14. In all, this is probably the best PES title for a long time but, sadly, it still isn’t the best football game out there. If you are a Pro Evolution Soccer fan, you will probably be over the moon with this title. But if you aren’t, don’t expect to be converted any time soon.