If, like me, you felt the urge to look up what the initials PES actually stood for before reading any further, then I’ll quickly put you out of your misery – it’s Pro Evolution Soccer. I know you knew that, I just had to explain, just in case.
‘Realistic’, ‘atmosphere’, and ‘overall feel’ are all words which I’ve seen used in respect of PES 16 which all make the experience sound very promising indeed. PES 16’s developers Konami haven’t attempted to overhaul PES 15 but what they have done is very simply (and very successfully) worked on improving the systems which already worked very well last year.
This game isn’t just a case of getting your players to pass the ball forward as quickly as possible in order to score and then move on. Rather, each and every player on your team has his own particular skills and abilities which you have time to develop and actually use. What’s more, the better you are at unleashing the power of any one player the better your chances of being able to unlock the skills of the players around them thus enhancing your team overall – just like real football, then. It thus stands to reason that this game doesn’t merely revolve around the brightest and best teams of the footballing world. If you have the ability to unlock the skills of your team you have as much chance of making good progress playing as a team from Serbia as you would if you chose Real Madrid.
The movement offered in this game is fluid and simply excellent and in this version the tackling has actually been developed to allow for greater unpredictability which clearly adds much to the challenge offered. There’s also an improvement in the collision system which allows players to really get stuck in and jostle with each other – again, realism and atmosphere are present here in spades.
The game is obviously focused on football, but some of the developments in PES 16 compared to last year’s version are fun, if not essential. You can, therefore, choose how your player will celebrate upon scoring a goal – I wonder if you can choose to get booked by making him remove his top. There is also ‘dynamic weather’, which means that a match which starts dry will potentially see some rain at some point which will obviously affect the playing conditions. As mentioned then, not essential but they do add an extra dimension of realism to this game.
Compared to the previous version, the referees have calmed down somewhat and so sliding tackles and heavy two-footers aren’t necessarily punished as you would expect. This will either excite you or aggravate you, but it could be argued that it does at least allow for smoother continuity of play.
The more astute footie fans amongst you will be wondering when I’m going to mention FIFA 16. Well, wait no more. Here it is, in a nutshell – don’t buy FIFA 16, buy PES 16. There, done. The things that FIFA does better include the officially licensed leagues and cups, and the general presentation of menus. I ask you, however, do those details matter enough for you to consider purchasing the FIFA game over the PES game? Well, s’up to you obviously, but if it’s all about the football then the choice is clear.
PES 16 is aimed at the discerning football fan, who is more interested in the gameplay than the fact that FIFA’s licensing means that PES doesn’t feature officially licensed English Premier League or German Bundesliga. But other than that, PES 16 offers football in all its finery and the details are simply stunning. And when I’ve included a total of zero puns, it seems the appropriate time to conclude by saying that Konami have scored the equivalent of a hat-trick with this game. Get it; it’s really good.