Dating back to the PS3/Xbox 360 era, Fifa has always held its reign as champion of the virtual football world, despite losing out to PES for the majority of the PS2/Xbox era. Taking full advantage of the PS3's and Xbox 360's capabilities, the crafty developers at EA Sports pushed Fifa to maximize its potential on these consoles. As a result, PES fell behind, leaving its quicker and simpler gameplay to appear amateur in comparison. Thereby, for football fans, Fifa was the only real option for almost a decade.
Now, two generations of consoles on from the PS2 and original Xbox, Konami has decided to play catch up with their release of PES 2016. This iteration offers advanced graphics, more intimate controls coupled with all of the simple pleasures that made PES so successful during the PS2 days.
The developers at Fifa who have followed the same formula throughout its iterations have received continued success, largely due to its innovative modes and authenticity, but also due to the lack of competition. This year, gamers worldwide are supporting the PES underdogs who have reformed and are eligible contenders to take on the mighty Fifa champions.
PES 16 is unquestionably the best PES game in years. Trumping its predecessors, PES 16 offers fluid and intuitive gameplay and refined graphics. Its Fox Engine, which is also responsible for this year's Metal Gear Solid V, presents the game in a formidably beautiful format. 'Fluid Formation' adds a more adaptive touch to your game and coupled with 'Team Spirit', PES 16 allows more versatility in strategic football. PES ultimately provides more control over the ball that although requires more patience, will engage hardcore football fans with their beloved sport.
However, PES still falls short in many aspects. Firstly, whilst Fifa has introduced 12 authentic women's football teams for the first time, PES still lingers on to their replicas such as Man Blue and West Midlands Village, which feel unforgivably gimmicky in this day and age. Secondly, PES's myClub mode is simply no competitor for Fifa's beloved Ultimate Team mode. Additionally, whilst PES maybe trying to emulate the best aspects of its PS2 days, PES's menu designer seems to have unfortunately emulated PS2 menu styles too.
Fifa, which has received unparalleled success, has arguably become slightly complacent with its releases. Last year's Fifa 15, which scored highly with football fans doesn't feel much different from this year's edition. Whilst EA Sports has focused more on the midfield in Fifa 16, resulting in tougher defences, Fifa 16 feels more like a DLC for Fifa 15. Indeed, the gameplay is smooth, the graphics are fantastic and FUT is more fun than ever, but this was all true for Fifa 15.
Nevertheless, in no way is Fifa 16 a weak game. On the contrary, it is an incredible football simulator that will not disappoint footballing gamers and ultimately is still the best football game on the market. PES 16 is finally a commendable competitor, but still falls many steps behind Fifa. In terms of improvements on their editions, PES wins by a landslide, but PES's rejuvenation is still not enough to bring down the mighty Fifa. PES does, however show great potential with PES 16 and it will be an exciting battle next year between these two. The developers at EA sports won't take kindly to the competition served up by PES this year and will undoubtedly up their game for Fifa 17. As a result, we should have two landmark football games lining up for 2016. Until then, back to Ultimate Team.