Each year, two of the longest running football games battle it out to win over the massive football fan-base, and it’s safe to say there’s only been one winner for a while now. FIFA has utterly dominated the competition in recent years, but there’s a feeling that Pro Evolution Soccer might be able to swing the outcome into their favour this year. Both games have been out on the market, receiving enough updates and time to be judged, and so, it’s time to find out who deserves the crown.

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Offline Gameplay

How a game plays can make or break the whole thing, fortunately for PES, the gameplay is great and easy to pick up for players of all abilities. Players glide across the pitch, caressing the ball to each other in one of the smoothest experiences I’ve possibly had the pleasure of getting involved with. Some of the goals able to be scored are simply glorious, even if the wonder goals occur a little too often.

FIFA on the other hand, offers a far more dynamic experience where anything can happen, including mistakes galore and miss-hit passes. I found it to be much trickier to get to grips with, especially when dealing with the random nature of play, but the rewards for mastering it are well worth the wait. New ways to pass and shoot add so much more to the already varied gameplay.

Verdict – PES

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Online Gameplay

I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed such a big difference between offline and online gameplay as seen in PES 2017. Oh wait, yes I have, it was the same last year. For some unknown reason, the whole online side turns into a sluggish affair, to the point where it feels like a different game entirely. All the smoothness is a distant memory, which limits the enjoyment a great deal.

As for FIFA, you’d barely notice any change in how it feels when jumping online. If there’d be a criticism it’d be in the A.I. defenders being unaware when an opposing player tries off-the-ball manoeuvres. In multi-person matches the defence can turn into a shambles game after game and in general the Goalkeepers’ flaws are exploited a fair bit by crafty players.

Verdict – FIFA

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Game Modes

PES took the stance of not changing an awful lot because there wasn’t much wrong in the game modes it had previously offered. No new game mode features were really implemented, and the modes that are present, aside from Master League, are merely imitations of what its rival provides, without bringing anything innovative to the table.

FIFA tried, and in my opinion failed, to try something new with The Journey, which relied on its fantastic cut scenes to dazzle, whilst forgetting to make sure there was a point to playing the matches. Fortunately, Ultimate Team garnered multiple new features which enhance the ever-popular fantasy style mode, and the Pro Clubs mode, despite a setback, is still the best mode of any football game to play in teams.

Verdict – FIFA

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Authenticity

Although PES is at an immediate disadvantage due to the lack of licenses acquired compared to the many official teams and leagues on FIFA, they struggled in match presentation also. Everything comes across as dark and grim during a match, but at least the cut scenes are of a high quality.

FIFA takes things a little too far the opposite way in visual representation by ensuring the on-pitch experience is extra vibrant, almost cartoon-like. It’s also lacking in textures, however, the sheer amount of men’s and women’s teams with authentic kits, badges etc. is very impressive.

Verdict – FIFA

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Soundtrack

FIFA is well known for laying the foundation for various up and coming talents to get their music out to the masses, becoming more and more recognisable with every match played, as well as throwing in established artists. They play the long game as the eclectic mix usually takes a while to get used to.

PES went for a more condensed list of quality tracks from James Bay, Ellie Goulding and Galantis, to name just a few. At this moment in time I’m more into those, but ask me in another month or so and I’ll be regularly humming FIFA’s track list.

Verdict – Draw

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The Final Verdict

It doesn’t take a genius to see that FIFA is the all-round winner, but in truth it’s not really by much at all. PES’s offline gameplay is way ahead of anything else, and if Konami could’ve transferred that online then it’d have been an entirely different story. PES 2017 is still the best choice for newcomers to get stuck into, or even those who don’t venture online, but for everyone else, FIFA 17 is the one to play.

This time next year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the crown stolen from FIFA 17.

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