FIFA 17 vs Pro Evo 17 – battle of the demos, round two.

Pro Evolution Soccer versus FIFA; it’s a battle for the ages. One that’s been raging for over fifteen years. I myself have been on both sides of the fence. I picked Pro Evolution Soccer 3 over FIFA Football 2003. And I chose Pro Evolution Soccer 6 over FIFA 2006. But, since PES6, I’ve remained firmly on the side of EA and FIFA. I might have picked up a PES game on occasion, once I was bored of that year’s FIFA instalment. But since 2007 I’ve opted for FIFA as the football game I’d buy on release date. But recent instalments of the FIFA series have been flagging, whereas PES is only improving. So I feel like now, more than ever, could be PES’s chance to switch some of us die hard FIFA fans. And what better way to do that than through the demo?

Whilst playing the demos for both FIFA and PES, I’ve noticed one or two things which, for me, puts one ahead of the other. I thought I’d make a quick list of those things – to perhaps help you in your decision process, as to which football game to pick up.

Graphics.  Both games look great. But you’d expect that, seeing as it’s 2016 and both titles have had an obscene amount of money pumped into them. That being said, PES looks far better than FIFA this year around. The graphics for the teams available on PES are mesmerising; particularly for their crowning players, Messi, Neymar and Suarez. The upgraded Fox engine seems to run rings around EA’s Frostbite. But, I see that as a bitter sweet. See, the problem with PES is that they struggle to get the licences for all of the teams. So whilst the showcase teams – your Bayerns, your Barcas, and your Arsenals – might look incredible, the other teams in those leagues will probably look pants.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not that much of a stickler for graphics. But I play sports games for their realism, and I find that weird looking teams, with the wrong kits and strange player names, tends to put me off of my experience. It brings me back into reality, and I feel less connected with the game. Whilst FIFA 17 might not be as pretty as PES – it is at least consistent in its look, and the demo acts as a far better gage as to the overall look, feel and atmosphere of the game. The PES demo is a bit more of a peacock. It looks pretty at first, but then it goes and takes gigantic shits all over your town, and destroys your greenhouses, and you realise that it’s a bit of an ugly bugger.

Gameplay. For me, the make or break of any game is its gameplay. It could be the prettiest game in the world, but if it’s no fun to play – I’m out. FIFA has had a major overhaul since FIFA 16. And the improvements are noticeable. Freekicks and corners seem to be far more realistic, and the “new” methods for set-pieces are intuitive and add a new level of authenticity to the experience. You can properly hold up play, by using a player’s body and strength on the ball. You can take more intelligent touches – to make space for yourself and team-mates. Overall, it feels far more realistic.

PES is pretty much in the same ball-park. But my one complaint is the inconsistencies in tackling. Sometimes players will pull off a dream tackle, other times they’ll lunge for any body part left dangling. Not only that, but the refs make rash decisions. Booking players for silly fouls, and sending them off when it was a fair tackle, or a 50/50 chance. FIFA seems to have balanced the issues of FIFA 16, and refs seem to make far better decisions. That being said, it’s not perfect.

Atmosphere. A big part of both the PES and FIFA series is the atmosphere created by stadiums and crowds. I feel like both do a fairly decent job – but both are still lacking. The most noticeable thing, for me, is that the pitches on PES feel far more realistic. Not only that, but the way that players interact with the ball looks better, too. For instance, I took a corner with Modric on FIFA 17 the other day, and the ball had started moving before he’d even kicked it. It’s just the little things, like that, which take away from the overall feel for the game. I’ve not really had anything like that on PES – but that’s not to say that it doesn’t happen.

Overall. Both games are great. And, to be honest, I’d probably be happy with whichever installment I went with, this year. Now that’s saying something for PES, and I feel that Konami have really pulled it out of the bag this year. That being said, I think I’m going to opt for FIFA. Until Konami work out the issues of unlicensed teams, it’ll take a little more for me to switch over. They’ve made some great steps, though. So maybe next year, eh?

Have you played both demos? Which do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below!