There has been keen rivalry between the two top football ( sawcer!! ) simulators for the platforms. Fifa Football, published by EA Sports and the Pro Evolution series, published by Konami. Both games had their good points…..Fifa had quicker, more arcade-like games, where Pro Evo had better depth and more realistic gameplay. For the last few years I have been firmly in favor of the Pro Evo series, mainly because of the realism of the gameplay. In the Fifa you could score the same type of goals over and over again..your center half could score overhead kicks from the edge of the area . Whilst Fifa undoubtedly had the better presentation, Pro Evo was always the essential purchase.. well no more!!
This year the depth of Fifa 07 is a huge improvement on previous years. There are two huge improvements in the game.
Number one is a hugely improved player-manager mode..whilst this has been in previous releases ( and featured in Pro Evo first ), the new all singing all dancing manager mode is excellent. You get a choice of teams from all four English leagues and at least two divisions from all the other top European leagues. All domestic and European cup competitions are included ( have a Carling cup game in midweek?….send out the reserves!! ). There is also an in-depth scouting and transfer system..plus a youth academy at each team, giving you the chance the mould the next Steven Gerrard.
Number two is the vast improvement in overall gameplay. Gone are the days of simply giving the ball to your quickest player and bashing the sprint button. In this new version the CPU defenders are too clever for that, and even if a trick works once against them the chances of it succeeding the next time are very slim. Scissor-kicking center backs are truly a thing of the past.
The presentation of Fifa’s games has always been top class and that remains the case here, but there has been a big improvement to the camera options available in the game mode, which were always under par. The commentary is also very good, and the same “Great save/goal/tackle/pass Clive!” comments aren’t repeated ad nauseum. The only minus point is that the music in the menus is rubbish…but you can’t have it all!
And so to Pro Evo 6 , the thinking man’s sim. With the gauntlet well and truly thrown down I was interested to see what Konami could come up with. Unfortunately the answer is “not much”. The presentation ( which was never its strong suit ) is absolutely amateurish and the in-game graphics look like a PS1 game. The game play and options are as good ( but the same ) as ever, but given the leap forward taken by Fifa, it seems the Pro Evo team have really taken their eye off the ball ( pardon the pun ). None of the depth added to the EA title is evident in its Konami counterpart. Hopefully they’ll come up with some fresh ideas for the next release, but in the meantime, it looks like for the first time this century EA Sports has the bragging rights in the footie sim market.
Which has the better gameplay? It basically depends what you are looking for. If absolute realism, in unique player movements, and shooting dynamics, pick FIFA. Recognition of players is pretty easy, especially players like Wayne Rooney, as a lot of time was spent with him in a body suit doing footballing stuff like tricks and shots- and it shows. Wayne runs like Wayne (well, if the real Wayne runs, anyway). The graphics are a shade sharper, a shade better as well, with better celebrations to boot. Pick of the celebrations is (I kid you not) Peter Crouch’s unique robot dance- superbly recreated, though possibly a very last minute edition, if the standard of finish is anything to go by.
Also, through balls on PES are pretty poor in comparison, with FIFA’s tending to be better by better players such as Alonso or Gerrard, and better control is shown by those who you would expect- Rooney being a good example.
Shooting is good on both, and with practice goals wouldn’t be too hard- strikes are more manageable on FIFA, long range efforts less likely to hit row Z, an annoying part of PES meaning the perfect strike is far less likely.
One on one multiplayer is as you would expect, with no odd tricks of the trade, but annoyingly if you press start mid game your opponent can use the menu to change his team first- something that can’t be done on Pro Evo. I have only played a four player (2 on 2) on Pro Evo but player switching and interplay was fairly good, and good fun.
Evolution has not been made in swathes on either game, so it seems at first pointless buying the new versions of either, but the revisions are plenty good enough and numerous to keep you entertained on either game.
FIFA team starting line ups offered another weird anomaly- Peter Crouch does not start for Liverpool, and Fowler and Garcia are not even on the bench- annoying, and this is just one example. Also annoying are the ’signing in’ and ‘profile’ sections, and it’s hard to see why these are really necessary, and the oddly complex menus. Making a sub could be much easier, but the menu is either looking at subs or on-pitch players, making substitutions are hard ship not a joy like on Pro Evo.
In short, if you are a person who doesn’t really spend a huge amount of time playing, and just wants to have a bit of fun, FIFA is probably the better pick. But if learning and improvement over long periods of time are your thing, then buy P.E.S.
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