Friday, 16 September 2011

PES v's FIFA: The Demos


FIFA is lovely on the presentation front, it's what we expect: super slick, commentary from Martin Tyler, very pretty.  It's nothing new though.  PES front end feels a lot like the 2011 version, which was a big leap from where we'd been previously.  But where as FIFA's game play feels like it's stalled, PES has taken last years success and built on it.  Big time.

I jumped to FIFA for a year while Konami thought about what they'd done in 2010 and sought to put things right.  Finally it seems as though they're starting to get up from the naughty step and pull back in front.

There will always be an audience for FIFA regardless of how much of a better football game PES is.  The licence alone gives EA the kind of following that Konami can only dream of.  But FIFA is more breadth than depth, like a very wide, but very shallow lake.  Where as PES is a ridiculously deep well, full to the brim with the best Mojito you've ever tasted.

Game play wise FIFA feels on rails.  You press the pass button and the game engine leaps in and assists to make sure it goes in the best possible direction.  There's so much animation in the FIFA players that they feel sluggish but despite the detail, it's hard to tell them apart.  Goals feel easy to come by: once in a while you feel like you meant it but for the most part it's the goals EA meant you to score on view.

With PES you're working all the time.  Switch off and you'll be punished.  It's fast, super fast and the control is almost perfect.  There's still the occasional frustration.  The odd stray pass that seems to have no bearing on the buttons pressed.  But what this PES has that's been lacking since the jump to this generation of consoles is the punch in the air stuff.  When you've been under the cosh, 1-0 down, seconds to spare and you ghost past a defender, cross low and hard into the box, your striker waiting to pounce and bury it and it works, you'll be off the sofa, waking the cat up.

PES has the ebb and flow of football. You can be on top for ages, dominating possession but not scoring.  Or you can be dominating and scoring freely.  FIFA just doesn't have that.  It's football as basket ball.  One team attacks then the other has a pop.  The players in PES while still being a notch behind FIFA when it comes to replays etc are completely recognisable.  You know who's on the ball because it looks like them.  When Modric scores you know it's Modric.  When Modric gives away the ball it's his name you scream in frustration.

The licence thing will always be an issue, but within days of release (and with a bit of luck in time for the European launch) some geek somewhere will have turned Merseyside Reds into Liverpool with an option file.  It won't have every team in the world, but it will be football.  I'm not sure you can say that about FIFA.