Many people might be asking themselves… FIFA vs who? This is a strange, but understandable reality. Pro Evolution Soccer (P.E.S.), formerly known as Winning Eleven is a long time veteran of soccer simulation made by Konami. The rivalry between these two giants has been going on since the mid 90’s, yet the battle has been somewhat under the radar in the United States. Yet in a worldwide context these two have been at war every single year. EA Sports and Konami encourage this rivalry as they constantly choose to release their games within the same two weeks. There are die-hard fans on both sides and plenty of conversions back and forth by soccer fanatics. Living in the U.S., it’s fair to say that FIFA is the go-to soccer simulator without much room for competition. This article will go over some of the reasons why P.E.S. is a worthy consideration and what some of us might have been missing out on all of these years.
What is P.E.S.? Why haven’t we heard much about it?
Evolution of the rivalry throughout the years
From FIFA 2004 and P.E.S. 2004 to FIFA 13 and P.E.S. 13 there have been enormous amounts of changes in the two franchises as well as their competitive status. What’s interesting is that the two games constantly improve in the same areas, while some come out on top in particular aspects. Every year, both sides would claim to have better graphics, more licenses, more game modes, more intuitive and dynamic gameplay, and more realism. They both do a great job, which makes it difficult to distinguish between them and pick a favorite. The most relevant changes to the modern day competition occurred more recently. Something odd began happening around 2009. In 2009, when P.E.S. 2010 was released, it borrowed some aspects of gameplay from FIFA. It was most unusual. P.E.S. seemed to have sold its soul in the hopes of keeping up with FIFA’s growing popularity. Goals became more difficult to score, passing became dictated by the power bar feature, borrowed from FIFA, making passes more exact in pressure sensitivity, and the game significantly slowed down. This was a major turn off for many loyal P.E.S. fans and suddenly a gap began to grow on an international level. P.E.S. 2011 did more of the same and FIFA seemed to be proudly evolving on its own terms without paying the competition much attention. P.E.S. 2012 began to look desperate in its attempts to maintain its integrity while simultaneously keeping up with the competition. 2011 was a turning point where FIFA 12 outsold P.E.S. 12 by a large margin. Despite the many improvements on both sides, P.E.S. simply began to seem like a struggling wannabe. Many P.E.S. fans will say that it was making great strides forward, and it was in some aspects. It continued to push graphics forward, it improved its previously terrible soundtracks, and it brought out some new gameplay features as well. However, it’s easy to spot the reasons why FIFA began to outshine P.E.S. in a significant way during these few years.
FIFA, a game obviously sponsored by FIFA, is able to continue every year to have licenses for practically any team one might want to play as. P.E.S. has not been able to make improvements significant enough to stand out and is always lacking some key team licenses, leading to a less authentic experience.
P.E.S. has tried to reinvent itself, but in a way that copies many of the features of FIFA, yet not as polished and smooth as FIFA. This forced P.E.S. fans to scratch their heads and wonder why exactly they prefer P.E.S.
- Online Game Play:
Konami apparently struggled every year to come up with a solid, smooth online experience all the way from P.E.S. 2009’s terrible, nearly unplayable online mode. FIFA has simply been consistent in its delivery these past few years.
FIFA has been feeling intuitive at every corner. It begs to be played in every way possible. P.E.S. is rather generic in its set up and leaves a lot to be desired. Again, P.E.S. tried to borrow some of FIFA’s concepts here, such as giving players skill numbers instead of the beloved hexagon that would give a visual representation of the player’s various skill levels.
- The Charm:
This isn’t necessarily a technical aspect that can be articulated as easily as graphics or presentation. This also isn’t necessarily something that FIFA has over P.E.S. Rather, it’s something that P.E.S. used to have over FIFA. There was a competitive edge, a charm, a love for the game that has since been diluted by its unfortunate transformation into something of a confused FIFA clone.
This whole article seems to have put FIFA down, brought P.E.S. up, and then reversed the two. That is the beauty of competition. One never truly dominates the other because there are always fans on both sides with their own personalized valid reasons for their devotion.
Now, with FIFA 13 and P.E.S. 13 both available to the public, the debate hasn’t gotten any easier. Konami has recognized all the things that have been wrong with P.E.S. over the last few years, and P.E.S. 13 is hailed by some as revolutionizing the way that soccer games are played. One complaint fans had about FIFA 12 was that it was a bit too technical, too robotic, leading to plays and goals that were less than exciting and fairly predictable. But on the other hand, FIFA 13 holds onto its consistent and effective formula while making some other improvements as well. Perhaps this opens up new insights about the choices that are out there. It’d be nice if the choice was easy, but the reality is that both deserve some significant play time before one can truly make a comprehensive, authentic decision.