Fifa vs PES. It’s a yearly debate that keeps fans arguing in circles. If sales figures are an indicator of success, then Fifa is undoubtedly the superior franchise. But the reality is a little more complicated. Fifa has always been a franchise geared towards the masses, while PES reigned as champion for Soccer connoisseurs. At least that’s been the scenario over the past few years. Hoping to reach a wider audience, Konami made subtle tweaks in last year’s entry, most of which unfortunately hurt the overall experience. Gameplay dynamics and mechanics were sacrificed for greater detail, stripping PES of its realism and fluidity. With Pro Evolution Soccer 2015, Konami has found the perfect balance between accessibility and authenticity. While Fifa still holds the graphical edge, PES 2015’s gameplay has finally dominated EA’s franchise with the most realistic representation of the sport to date.
The new Fox Engine has done wonders for the PES franchise. While last year’s release suffered from frustrating frame rate drops, PES 2015 is buttery smooth during both gameplay and replays. The smoothness further translates to character animations and ball physics. Players’ weight and the ball’s momentum are felt with every kick and dribble, giving players unprecedented control on the field. PES 2015 may not be technically groundbreaking, but its stability is a notable step up from last year’s messy performance.
"While Fifa still holds the graphical edge, PES 2015’s gameplay has finally dominated EA’s franchise with the most realistic representation of the sport to date."
In terms of lighting, player likenesses and clothing dynamics, Fifa still comes up on top. There’s a certain richness in texture and color that PES hasn’t managed to replicate. Having said that, PES 2015 is still a beautiful looking game. Each stadium radiates with detailed crowds that respond to every action on the field, and the lifelike animations make each replay appear like a clip straight from a television match. The polished presentation extends further to the menu designs. Gone are the dull menus of PES 2014. All options are presented with a sleek metro aesthetic and cinematic player clips in backgrounds. EA’s Fifa remains visually superior, but PES is catching up quickly.
On the field, however, PES 2015 crushes its competition. The controls are snappier and tighter, resulting in precise player-switching. Increased responsiveness means instinctive reflexes are rewarded with faster reactions from the athletes. More emphasis has been placed on player individuality, making teams feel diverse. It’s exciting to see players react differently to things like aggressive tackles and fouls. The smarter AI puts up a serious challenge, even at normal difficulty. The enemy team responds to player mistakes realistically, although there are a few occasions where AI inconsistency breaks immersion by ignoring a rolling ball or direct pass.
"PES 2015 has improved every gameplay mode with new features and refinements, making this year’s entry the most complete soccer experience to date."
The newly introduced Role Control gives multiplayer matches stability. The feature allows players to divide roles between them, like midfield, attacking and defensive, making fast-paced matches less chaotic. By governing their own area, players can coordinate cooperative plays efficiently. Most importantly, new measures have been introduced to lessen online cheating, something that’s been a major issue in the past.
PES 2015 has improved every gameplay mode with new features and refinements, making this year’s entry the most complete soccer experience to date. Considering EA’s stagnancy the last few years, it’s going to take a lot of innovation and gameplay refining to trump this latest masterpiece. Fifa may still be a prettier package, but it’s the on-field action that matters. When it comes down to realism and authenticity, PES has reclaimed the throne as the definitive soccer champ. With a little visual polish, PES will have no problem holding its sovereignty over the genre for years to come.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Playstation 4