I started reviewing these two games together in 2012 because I felt that this rivalry, the last real competition in all sports games, deserved a look at how each title was designed. It was also because most people interested in football would only ever buy one of these games, and it seemed like a good and practical idea to tell them which one was better.
It also grew out of a desire to escape the centuries-old obsession of sports game reviewers with bullet points and incremental updates that are too often the focus of coverage and can distract people from a game's more fundamental strengths or mistakes. I thought it might be more useful to play the games against each other rather than the list of features from the previous year.
After six years, however, there is a feeling that this double check is in danger of turning into the exact type of repetitive drone that it is designed to counteract. More than ever, the advantages and disadvantages of each series are so established that it is almost a waste of time to dredge them again.
For example, you can rightly assume that FIFA will offer the best broadcasting experience a sports video game has ever seen. And you are right to suspect that Pro Evolution Soccer, so elegant with the ball at his feet, will screw up everything he touches as soon as he leaves the field. 98% of FIFA players will jump straight into the Ultimate Team and will hardly see the rest of an incredibly generous game, and 100% of Pro Evo fanatics will spend the next 11 months saying to critics, “Oh, you can just do that Official Modify Kits ”.
As true as these generalizations are, both games have pushed their limits this year. FIFA is glittering than ever, especially given the Hollywood treatment scheduled for the Champions League, while the PES feels emptier than ever before. This loss leaves a gaping hole that no lot of fake team names and minor league licenses can fix.
And so many people will already know which of the two games they will choose, and they don't care what I have to say on the subject. It doesn't matter whether PES has the Scottish Premier League or whether FIFA now allows you to play new exhibition games according to the rules of the Bonkers school yard.
Just in case you're still on the fence, or if you're only looking for a tweet-sized judgment at the top of this post in the interest of the rubber throat, you can get started: 2018 delivered what FIFA was a knockout hit could.
For the first time since the start of these comparative reports, one game is so clearly superior to the other that I would recommend it to any football fan almost without hesitation, regardless of which series they normally prefer.
A combination of more physical play and the outstanding performance of the single player story mode makes FIFA 19 one of the best football games of the past decade, right up there, with the groundbreaking debut of FIFA 09 and PES & # 39; Fox Engine in 2013 .
Why? Let's stick to the most important points and let's start on the field. FIFA's biggest improvement this year is that everything feels more immediate and intimate. Tight control is closer and shielding is more effective, with the result that the game is now so much more than just bulldozing runs and ball spam. Defense also benefits because the dance is now almost perfectly balanced between simply pressing and dipping into a tackle.
That sounds insignificant, but it changes the game completely, slows everything down and brings FIFA much closer to the measured experience that PES has long been known for. Sure, old-fashioned FIFA tactics can still be used, but a delicate, methodical approach to the goal is now more possible than ever for the EA series, and the ability to switch between the two styles whenever you want (or need) ), is welcome.
Not that this progress could make up for FIFA's longstanding deficiencies in other areas. As always, the rubbery animation of the players is still bad and the ball moves far too slowly when passed around. FIFA also struggles with standard situations, with free kicks and corners showing special shortcomings.
Overall, however, FIFA's performance in the field is a massive improvement over this series a year ago.
In comparison, PES 2019 is fine. It's still a great football game in a vacuum, but there is so little innovation to note this year that you can almost only review last year's review and update the rosters. The ball movement is still more realistic than that of the competitor, and the game pace is somewhat slower than at PES 2018, but this year, FIFA is a lot closer to PES than before in terms of playing like a real football game, so what was earlier big differentiator between the two games is no longer.
Without this clear advantage in the field, we need to take functionality into more account, and PES is an exhausted series. There are no major new modes, no bold ideas to surpass EA's monetary superiority. If you suffer from the menu system and the user interface, you have to remember the worst trends in Japanese game development from the mid-00s. Peter Drury's comment is enough to mute the entire game.
The loss of the Champions League license, the long marketing advantage of PES over EA, is massive, since it is a six-pointer in football. It is bad enough for Konami that the license is missing in her own game, but to see the pomp and bombast she received as the new heart of FIFA – complete with her own image and commentary team – it only gets worse (or better if you are EA Sports).
To compensate for this, PES has added a number of new licenses from smaller European and South American leagues. Good news for fans of obscure contests, in which 117 Chelsea loaners play. However, if the EPL, La Liga, and Bundesliga are missing, as are most of their teams, this is a big blow to everyone except the most obsessive hobbyist.
PES also comes up short in other areas against FIFA, from its tournaments to online modes to its dark menu system and the fact that EA continues to include a robust women's mode, while Konami remains a purely male affair.
But there's a difference between the two games that really sets them apart, more than any ball physics or management control, and that's The Journey.
I remember wondering in 2014 why there were no great sports role-playing games. Now, just four years later, we have one. This third chapter of The Journey is almost everything I wanted from a single player sport experience. It gives me just enough playtime to really feel involved and responsible for what's going on, with just enough cutscenes and directorial interventions (starting certain games from the bank) or under difficult circumstances to remember that I'm going through a current story and not just another boring career mode.
After FIFA 19 expanded its cast of playable characters to three last year, he completes each story as Alex gets used to being a superstar in Madrid. Danny faces some personal challenges as he climbs to the top of the Premier League and Kim tries to lift the Women's World Cup with the US national team.
It's a single player experience, full of important decisions and entertaining consequences, cheesy but endearing performances with characters whose greatest attraction is that they are so normal. There is neither NBA 2K's corporate slime nor Longshot's hypocritical cliché here. The triumvirate of the trip are young, stupid, vulnerable children who make mistakes, make jokes and simply do their best, which makes them surprisingly likeable.
With the ability to influence the development of the story (and even the final outcome) through both dialogue choices and gameplay, The Journey even feels like a footballing mass effect at times (if you haven't dealt with spoilers, PCGamesN, you did) a summary of all possible variables to get an idea of what's in stock.
You are in control of all three characters for the duration of a European season and can play as long as you like and switch between them at any time. You can only play as one of them for the duration. However, it is smartest to follow a prompt where you can find the best character that you can play at any given time so that you can see most of The Journey's story.
With dozens of games that can be played in the La Liga, Premier League, Champions League, and Women's World Cup, the amount of playtime and kinematics would make it a standalone AAA sports title. The fact that it is just one game mode among many is what strengthens FIFA's place at the top of this two-game pecking order.
The gap between these two games is so big now that I feel almost bad for PES. Konami is now in a similar situation to EA when NBA Live returned to the market a few years ago and had almost no reason to recommend their game to the more glamorous and popular competition.
At least with NBA 2K there is an annoying microtransaction bullshit that counts against the superior basketball game. There is none of this here. Since FIFA's additional purchases are quarantined in a game mode, you never have to touch them if you don't want to. All single player upgrades and cosmetics are unlocked through the game.
It's not that PES is a bad game. If your grandmother bought it for you for Christmas, or you never wanted to play online with friends who are probably all owned by the FIFA Ultimate Team, or supported one of the few big teams like Liverpool or Barcelona for which it has a license, you I have a great time. After all, it's mostly the same game as last year that the Kotaku Showdown 2017 took place.
But that was then and it is today. And if you only get one soccer game in 2018, make it FIFA 19. While PES has stalled, FIFA has made the most of its licenses while improving its product and single player innovations on the field, leading to one of the most comprehensive below and most entertaining sports games for years.