FIFA 16 vs PES 2016: The Ultimate Comparison

By Ian Dransfield on at

FIFA is as good as it's ever been, though it's been treading water for some years now. PES, on the other hand, has been mounting a gradual comeback over the past few years, after suffering the indignity of relegation to second fiddle at the dawning of the Xbox 360/PS3 generation. For a while, there was no comparison, but things have changed.

I have played and enjoyed both FIFA 16 and PES 2016, with reviews of each coming later this week (once I've had more time online with both). But for now I can tell you... which is better? PES vs FIFA: fight! 

Presentation

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It's always good to open on a no contest ultra-win in these kinds of things, right? Because that's what you have when you're talking about graphics, sound, all the overlays and general matchday presentation. FIFA 16 runs away with it.

PES 2016 makes an effort - and thank almighty Thor that it isn't riddled with that utter shit we saw a few years ago - and it has much more responsive menus than FIFA... but it also looks cheap. No two ways about it. Some players look spot-on, but not many, and the whole presentational package feels budget as a result.

There is the standing issue that PES doesn't feature many real teams. I mean, it does, but they don't have proper kits a lot of the time and have very silly names like Yorkshire Reds. FIFA does trump PES in that regard, again, thanks to its near-bottomless pit of licensed sides and competitions and all that gumph.

FIFA 16, meanwhile, looks, sounds and feels just like the multimillion pound production it is, with all the licenses, music, player faces, stadia and everything else you would expect of the game that is the Face Of Football. It's seriously impressive.

Winner: FIFA 16

 

Women

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This is sort of a foregone conclusion, what with PES 2016 failing to include women's football. FIFA 16 might have taken 22 years to bring the double-X chromosomes into play, but at least it's done it.

Hey, maybe we'll see it introduced by PES 2018, when that series hits the 22 year mark. (We won't, because Konami doesn't have the kind of budget EA does to make new things, but we can dream... we can dream.)

Winner: FIFA 16

 

Shooting

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Second only to passing (and maybe tackling...) in the List of Things You Do in a Football Game, the feel of shooting is of vital importance to your enjoyment of the thing.

While FIFA 16 is continuing to make progress, with the knuckle-ball shots and all that fancy gumph we've seen introduced in the last few years, PES 2016 just has that feeling you don't get elsewhere.

It produces the kind of shots - and reactions to said shots - that make footie games so utterly beloved. It's closer than I thought it would be, but Konami's game takes it here.

Winner: PES 2016

 

Making a Dransfield

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Because I always make myself in games. And no, I don't think I look like Cristiano up there. More like Iain Dowie. Anyway, player editing is one of the more clear-cut categories between PES and FIFA.

Yes, in FIFA 16 you can make players and they look great -plus you can make a team for online modes. But in PES you can create and edit almost any aspect of the game's teams and competitions, as well as import your own images to the game - meaning you can not only make all the fake teams real (Yorkshire Reds til I die), with proper kits and crests and all, but you can also make any fantasy teams you want.

PES might not have the official licenses, but this year, for the first time in a while, PES 2016 allows you - via its editing system - to make all the teams as they should be: names, kits, crests and all. It's laborious to edit everything and not everyone will do it, because who the hell has the time, but the fact you CAN is a big thing, I feel.

FIFA has moved away from this level of personalisation, and that annoys me. One of the great things about football games is making your own, stupid team. Like Fuckbean United. PES romps home with this one.

Winner: PES 2016

 

Pay to Play

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I'm done arguing that these should be standalone, free-to-play releases because every time I ask someone involved in development about it they just fob off my question. So I accept that FIFA Ultimate Team and PES's MyClub mode are Things That Exist. And... well, I've been letting myself have fun with both of them, actually. And it's a close-run contest, as both modes have their own perks and peculiarities.

PES 2016's MyClub is a good fun, building a squad through scouting and loan players - the former coming from a random, roulette-style selection - and, unlike FIFA, allowing you to develop and improve the skills of the players in your team. But - and here's an odd one - not every team manager is available for GP, the easily-earned in-game currency. Instead, the better coaches cost MyClub Coins - these can be earned, slowly, in-game, but the clear impetus is on making the player fork out for a few hundred of them.

FIFA, on the other hand, features a mode in which absolutely everything is earnable by just playing the mode. It is, however, a lot slower to progress than PES - obviously edging you towards paying real money - and your players can't really develop unless you apply (limited) consumables to them.

FIFA is the more well-oiled of the two, but as a result feels a lot more calculated and psychological in the way you're subtly pushed towards spending extra. PES wins it - just - for me, because at least it feels more innocent in that respect.

Winner: PES 2016

 

Playing (/Losing) Online

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I don't go online as much as I probably should with football games, just because it's a whole new way to get frustrated and I could do without that. Both PES 2016 and FIFA 16 tick that box nicely.

Having said that, EA's effort does seem - from a pre-release version, admittedly - to have a more stable, integrated online mode. Going by the past few years' games, it's easy to assume there won't be any vast changes or failures in this regard.

PES, on the other hand, has been struggling a bit online. Not as much as last year - certainly not as much as the years before - but it's clear there are some teething troubles. There's also less to do online compared to the competiton.

As such, FIFA takes it. But this is liable to change as much as the online service and those who actually play the game online do.

Winner: FIFA 16

 

Five-star

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The difficulty of playing online is one thing, as it always comes down to who you're playing against. Offline single-player, though, is a whole other avenue of violent disagreement. Difficulty, like PES's former five (and six) star settings, matters.

And, frankly, both games are irritating bastards on their higher settings. Omniscient AI that predicts and tracks your every move with pinpoint accuracy, intercepted passes and blocked shots, ludicrous pinpoint first-touch play from lower league teams - both FIFA 16 and PES 2016 have you covered.

What makes the difference here, then, is that PES 2016 just feels a bit less oppressive on higher difficulties. It's still a struggle - though there'll be those of you out there who breeze through (I hate you) - but it actually feels like you have a chance. In FIFA 16 the rate of blocks, interceptions and should-be fouls is just so high, it feels like you're facing off against god. Or at least a demi-god. And not in a good way.

Winner: PES 2016

 

Training

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Training is something that has been introduced in FIFA 16 and revamped in PES 2016, but either way it's more important than it has been in either game previously. As such, it's a point to discuss.

Which is surprising, considering in FIFA 16 it feels like a gimmick that actually hamstrings development of your players. Limited to just five training slots per week in career mode, you're only able to develop certain players quicker than others.

In PES 2016, training is very much like a videogame - almost like an RPG. In MyClub you can 'combine' players together, discarding one of them and seeing the other reap XP rewards as a result. Yes, it's not realistic, but it does the job it should and is a lot more satisfying than only being able to train 20% of your squad per week.

Winner: PES 2016

 

Responsiveness

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Probably the key feature in any game that involves quick action (like, say, a game simulating soccer-kickball-9000), responsiveness matters.

On this front, PES 2016 has it down pat. While FIFA 16 feels like players are running on a bed of pillows, passing when they feel like it rather than when you tell them, Konami's game reacts when you press things.

Sure, it almost feels arcadey as a result, and running, for example, isn't quite as analogue as the game wants you to think (take a bow, FIFA), but for me, PES gets the gong here.

Winner: PES 2016

 

Common Tater

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In all honesty, I'm surprised - but then I am a tragically old man who remembers commentary's first steps in football games. Both PES 2016 and FIFA 16 have the best commentary I've ever heard in a footie title - it's almost seamless, it says more than ever and adds more to the atmosphere as a result.

Having said that, it does still suffer an irritating amount of repetition - especially in PES - and both games suffer the horrible fate of featuring Clive Tyldesley (alongside Andy "Tactics Van" Townsend) or Peter Drury. FIFA 16 nicks it though, because Tyldesley isn't the default commentator and only pops up in international fixtures.

Winner: FIFA 16

 

How Much Does it Make Me Shout

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Both do, a lot. A lot. Honestly thought I was past this, but both FIFA 16 and PES 2016 make me scream aggressively at the TV as the AI, once again, shafts me out of a rightful victory. Screw you, both games.

Winner: Nobody, especially not my flatmate or the dog

 

So Which is Better?

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All in all, I think it's pretty clear that you'll have fun with either game, and FIFA, as ever, absolutely has the most professional presentation. Having said that, PES 2016 feels much better than it has in previous years and, generally, feels as though it wants it more... to use a horrible commentary cliche that probably pops up in both games.

For that reason - oh, as well as the fact that I enjoyed it a lot more than FIFA 16 - PES 2016 is the one for me. I will see you online, where you will all likely beat me 8-1 as I scream bloody murder at the TV. But I'll be love-hating every second.

Go and Buy: PES 2016