There’s virtually no hype or chatter about FIFA 16 this year, despite the fact that it’s been available to those with EA Access for a couple of weeks now. All anyone is talking about is the recent arrival of PES 2016. And with good reason, Konami’s now only remaining credible series has been steadily improving for the past three or four years, whereas EA’s FIFA has stagnated under years of barely noticeable upgrades. Something that’s become even more evident now both games have hit shelves across the country. But just to make things unequivocally clear I thought it might be wise to explain to you all - and James - why PES has always been, and will always be, the number one football game for anyone with any taste or self-respect.
It would be easy to write long, insightful chapters on why FIFA is so completely average, why it’s criminally uninspired, and more shit-caked than Richard Gere after having been locked in a Pets at Home megastore for an entire bank holiday weekend. And so I’ll do just that, but first let me explain what it is about PES that makes it so good.
Ever since the early days of the PlayStation 2 PES has ruled the roost as far as proper football games go. It was the progenitor, the game that practically invented the cheap night in playing videogames with your friends. A bit of PES, a fridge full of beer, and the sense of comradery created by collectively slagging off your mum, practically became a rite of passage to anyone born in the 80’s. And now with its recent return to the top spot, PES is set to once again delight those old enough to drink, but too young to realise just how much of a cunt drinking turns them into. Because PES is the ultimate social game, it can be picked up and played with relative ease by just about everyone, and whether you win, lose, or in James’ case get routinely pounded like a farmyard animal at Oxford, it’s always entertaining.
That being said however, PES does offer depth for those who seek it out. Most importantly despite not having access to certain licences on account of FIFA’s thuggish monopolising, each instalment of PES still managed to capture the individual traits and feel of each player. As hard as it may be for me to admit, over the past ten years or so Manchester United have traditionally held stronger squads than Liverpool. Yet despite this the majority of encounters between the two have more often than not ended with Liverpool - rightly - victorious. This truth of life is something that PES has always managed to echo flawlessly, it’s something the likes of FIFA and its identikit players has never managed. In years gone by PES games could be swung on the brilliance of individuals like Suarez, Torres (before he went shite) or Gerrard, making each match feel as close to the real thing as possible. By contrast FIFA’s low effort, generic stats has always meant that the team with the best squad always won out in the end, a cold computed result that lacked the heart that only PES could deliver.
Elsewhere this degree of depth evident in PES can be found in every facet of the game. From its inputs and their simple elegance, which ensure beating a man requires timing and opportunity, rather than a twatish foreknowledge of tricks that had no rightful place in a real game of football. To its Master League, which is second only to Football Manager in providing players with a true representation of the challenges of a full domestic league season. In short PES has it all where it counts, it plays better, it has more depth, and provides a more realistic footballing experience than FIFA ever could.
However people - like James - are stupid. The cheap gloss and commercialisation of football, most evident in the disgustingly gaudy Sky Sports, has a certain appeal to those with below par intellects. So when FIFA decided to ape the cheap looking on-screen graphics, the moronic commentary, and the pop music infused vomit fest that was Sky Sports football coverage it was onto a winner. This was the lowly depths that FIFA sunk to in order to outsell its rival. Unable to match it in substance, style was the only alternative. Even if that style was more consumerist and damaging to society than the illegitimate love child of George Osbourne and Donald Trump.
Because let’s be honest, FIFA has never, and will never come close to matching PES in the quality of its gameplay. Where a match in PES feels like an actual game of football, a match in FIFA feels like a football game imagined by the prick-faced TV executive whose job it is to cut together trailers from exhibition matches, splice in some classical music, and call football ‘the beautiful game’ as he sells it to those who think wearing Chelsea shirts to restaurants is acceptable. In FIFA, animations play out with no relation to what’s going on around a player, they skate over the grass, over-gesticulate in challenges, and wander around with faces that look as if they’ve been captured by a camera with a pair of your nan’s sweaty tights stretched over the lens.
No FIFA just will not do, it never has. PES has always been superior in every way and after this year’s iteration arrived the truth was unequivocally hammered home. When FIFA has succeeded, it’s been down to gimmicks, aping the worst aspects of modern football, or worse still, inventing the cash grabbing travesty that is Ultimate Team. Only morons - like James - would champion a game that goes out of its way to bend over its fans and provide them with a three knuckle salute on a weekly basis. Adding trading cards that have the capacity to lure countess droogs into obscene levels of spending in search of better players for their fantasy football team, and then making said system the focus of your entire game so that the rest of the content falls by the wayside is a truly reprehensible act. It’s something only made possible thanks to the complete lack of brain power, self-respect and morality present in those who consider themselves FIFA fans. Anyone with a shred of decency knows PES is the superior game, and for the sake of all that is decent together we must ensure FIFA, and its fans, are thrown down into their rightful place, somewhere between Kim Kardashian and a warehouse full of anal floss I expect.