Madden has always been the one NFL game to rule them all, and now FIFA is the one soccer title to rule them all, but that wasn’t always the case.
Back in the early-to-mid 2000s it was PES (Pro Evolution Soccer) that reigned supreme. However, much like the recent career trajectory of Rafa Benitez ( Inter to Chelsea to Napoli to Real Madrid to relegated Newcastle) the demand for PES has dropped significantly since the development of PS3 and Xbox 360.
Unlike Rafa Benitez, however, the outlook for PES is brighter than its been in years and it started with PES 2016. Now the team wants to bring you the most realistic form of video game soccer on the market and has brushed aside features like new games modes and official player and team licenses. Yep, it’s all about realism for these boys, even if that means forsaking actual stadiums and whatnot.
The licensing is a big deal, though, and that’s what keeps a lot of people from switching to PES. Konami is a much smaller studio than EA, which puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to acquiring these rights, but if that’s your biggest gripe then so be it.
PES 2017 looks to harp on replicating the fundamental building blocks of team play and will include advanced tactical systems that let you define exactly how your team will act on the ball and off it. It’s less about fancy skill moves and more about the thinking man’s game, so prepare yourselves for that if you’re a real soccer buff. Attacking fullbacks and false fullbacks will change the way you possess the ball and clog the midfield, a feature you won’t be seeing in FIFA.
Coming from an avid FIFA player, I have to say that the tactical approach to PES 2017 sounds amazing. What’s more, the game’s revamped AI that learns player patterns forces you to get better at the game; adjusting on the fly to changes in your opponent’s play that would be somewhat limited in FIFA. Couple that with improved goalkeeper positioning and reactions, life-like graphics and regular updates and you’ve got yourself a solid title.
It remains to be seen whether or not PES can reclaim the virtual soccer crown, but this year could just be the start of a comeback.