It’s no secret that over the past few years, Pro Evolution Soccer has been overshadowed by the train that is the FIFA franchise. Unable to capture what made PES the top football franchise back in the glory days of the Playstation 2, every year each iteration has hurt the series. However due to the rising competition and always striving to be better than last, PES is seeing a resurgence and with the latest entry, we’ve finally got a football game that players of PES can be proud of.
Powered by the Fox engine, and being a year into maturity with the PS4 and Xbox One, it’s clear to see that the developers have had a good portion of hands on to accurately model players and their animations during matches, and it shows. Some players looks scarily accurate to their real world counter parts in PES15 than they do in FIFA15. Whilst some don’t look as good and have either slightly larger heads or wider jaw lines.
Characteristically players such as Arjen Robben with how he runs and Cristiano Ronaldo with his unique stance prior to a free kick to name a few. Crowd support is exactly as is during a tense match in the EPL or El Classico, the fans are loud and supportive and it really adds to the atmosphere of the beautiful game. What brings this down though is once again the horrid commentary. It’s still too stale and repetitive, and at times I felt it would be better to turn it off completely and casually make remarks myself at the game.
Whilst PES still cannot compete with FIFA with licensing, they do their best with the team and players names, prior to the games release, patch v1.00 does add Adidas and Nike boots and we’ll as additional teams and authentic kits. It’s good to see that as the game rolls on, the developers are doing their best to try and garner more authenticity, keeping fans happy.
Man City as Man Blue or Chelsea better known and as London F.C and so forth are different in name only. Whilst this may still unsettle some players, rest assured each players is as authentic as possible in both appearance and gameplay. What hit me almost instantaneously is that PES15 is a more mature football game and one that many players will require hours to take a grasp of. Passing requires a much more calculated approach, where one cannot simply tap A and let it magically go to a player of their own.
Players will need to see where their team mates are and ensure that passes are complete, because having a ball intercepted could result in a counter attack by the opposing team. It’s a much more manual game than before, and I feel will make some frustrated at times. The ball doesn’t roll as if it’s always on ice and first touches are everything. Thankfully, PES15 isn’t FIFA15 and players can’t just run though the whole opposing 11 by just flicking the ball around and somehow not being penalised with a loss in speed. Multiple online matches in FIFA15 has shown me that the franchise is going in the wrong direction. Whereas PES15 is finally becoming more grounded again, requiring less assistance and relying less on individual performances and instead, on how the team performs as a whole.
C. Ronaldo can’t just run from kick off down the line up in the box shoot and score. By having such a tight control over how players and your team defend, goals are much harder to come by and that leaves the player feeling much more satisfied when they eventually hit the back of the net. Shooting is harder than ever, however it’s much more realistic and more intense. Games won’t go up to 5 or 6 goals a piece but instead be more akin to real world scores such as 1-0 or 2-1 with the odd 3 to 4-0 victory if your opponent gives up.
If a player wishes to turn off all assisted options for passing and shooting they may do so, but be warned that whilst PES is difficult turning off all these options could result in disaster. PES is a difficult game and always has been, especially with the very little assistance involved in its gameplay. Players have indeed perfected the level of gameplay present within the franchise but for newcomers or casual players it is not recommended. The ball requires the delicate touch and performing tricks to pass an opponent are satisfying when pulled off but getting too cocky can lose you the ball.
Higher prolific players have better first touches than lower ranking players, and it clearly shows. They occasionally misplace a hospital ball given to them but overall they are consistent, and allow you to create a passage of play with some basic passing and crosses.
I, myself, play turf soccer every Monday and have been playing for roughly 4-5 years now. I’m not the best player who can rainbow the goalkeeper, or roll the ball over and take on a whole team, but I can dig up a sense of determination and play a solid amount of football that requires again, a calculated approach rather than just taking the ball and running down the field. I make the odd mistake when I don’t listen to my teammates, but I don’t just kick the ball everywhere or ‘Hero Run’.
This I feel, is emulated to perfection in PES15.
I’m happy with how this year iteration has turned out and I can safely say it’s the better football title available on next-gen, however what it doesn’t get right the way that FIFA does is that its online portion is severely broken. Sure, Master League and Champions League can keep players happy becoming increasingly difficult as you progress up the leaderboard to eventually win the title, but every now and again I wish to compete against a colleague online for supremacy.
This cannot be achieved, as the game won’t allows us to connect to each other.
The developers have acknowledged that there is a problem but in today’s current age of technology it’s extremely unacceptable. 343 Industries and Microsoft are doing back-flips because multiplayer in the Halo: The Master Chief Collection is broken. It’s the same case here in PES15, multiple nights and countless hours wasted creating games in multiple servers to no avail. With no word of an official fix anytime soon, unfortunately shipping a game with a broken multiplayer does hinder my ability to full enjoy the experience.
Despite that being the only real problem present, I cannot fault this game for much when compared to its competition. Goalkeeper AI is much more fluid and rather than forgetting they can touch the ball with their hands, accurately pressure strikers and correctly decide when to come out for the ball. Defenders with precision mark their players and follow them instead of ball watching, whilst the only nuance present is that of the referee. He seems to have studied the rules of the game from the same book FIFA has where certain fouls he won’t reward but others, he’ll blow the whistle and give a card. It’s not enough to be a huge problem but you will realize every few games it is present.
+ Player characteristics and animations are top notch
+ Easily encapsulates the essence of the beautiful game
+ Game modes can be increasingly difficult and well worth the challenge of getting better
– Multiple multiplayer issues
– Menu system whilst fluid still not as appealing as the FIFA franchise
– Default speed may be too slow for some players
A friend of mine recently told me that if he was to compare both Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA, he would say that FIFA is Call of Duty, fast, frantic and good to pick up a controller play a quick match then be on your way. Whereas PES is more like Battlefield, it requires patience, a much higher level of skill and finesse to come out victorious. It’s a football game that rewards the player for their hard work and with the ability of the FOX Engine to produce some stunning visuals the way the ball flies into the back of the net after a sweet connection with your boot, is nothing short of satisfying.