It has taken a battering in recent years but Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) may finally be able to reclaim some ground on EA Sport’s FIFA video game. Last year Konami decided to not focus on the next-generation consoles: Xbox One and PS4, but they will be making their foray this year.
For many gamers it is hard to remember when there was a time that PES was superior to FIFA but, in the years 2005-2009 PES was very much the premier game. It had a fluid gameplay that EA just could not replicate, it was a lot more fun to play and also boasted the better graphics; and then FIFA 10 happened. Since which PES has never recovered. People did not care that PES lacked licensed teams and players, something that FIFA attained, and that is testament to just how good it was.
Yes it has been a dark few years for Konami but from what we have seen of PES 2015 the signs are promising not ominous.
Hallelujah, Konami have got the gameplay right on the money. This time about, players are far more responsive, a criticism that has dogged them for the past few years. Upon watching a couple of matches on the PS4, players are now capable of turning extremely quickly, and dribbling has been improved tenfold. The passing is responsive and looks natural while the infamous aerial through balls are as big as ever. Off the ball runs also look very realistic rather than the sand-boxed runs that occurred on PES 2014. But the biggest enhancement of the game has to be the fun-factor, which was always PES focal point. The game, although vastly modernised, looks and feels like a throwback to the great PES’ of old, albeit minus the glitches. This is something that Konami have rightly brought back; people enjoyed it because it was fun and focused on individual play rather than accuracy for accuracy’s sake. Although you wouldn’t bet on PES’ gameplay bettering FIFA’s in terms of realism, in terms of enjoyment it does come up trumps. It’s Fox engine; used in Metal Gear Solid 5, is capable of matching EA’s Ignite.
Konami put more into graphics than gameplay in recent years, something that has come at a cost. On the plus side they do have a stockpile of accurate players and stadiums. The graphics look very good this year. Apart from the players, they have matched FIFA with the pitch degradation concept and the menu has been streamlined. The graphics are good but they are not the be all and end all.
It is a return to force for PES. They have stopped trying to match FIFA and go back to the model that made it so popular in the first place, enjoyment. The lack of licensing does hurt the game, so does the clumsy menu pages, but these are just aesthetics rather than proper problems. The biggest fault that the game possesses is its release date: PES doesn’t hit the shelves until November 13, FIFA is released on September 26, giving it a whole month to accrue sales. Konami needed to be aggressive and try and get themselves out in front of EA, not a month behind.