For the past few years EA Sports’ FIFA series has been superior to Konami’s PES franchise. However, PES 2016 is a sign that Konami could be back on top.
Back in the PS2/Xbox era, many console gamers agreed that PES played far better than the FIFA series. PES may have lacked the all of the official licenses, but the gameplay was far better back then.
This all changed when PES 2006 came out and EA Sports stepped up to the plate with its FIFA series. PES 2006 marked a decline in Konami’s series and it would take several years for the franchise to be seen as relevant again.
Last year, PES 2015 showed signs of a mighty comeback. Not only had the gameplay improved, but the visuals were great thanks to the FOX Engine. This is the same game engine that powers the impressive looking Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
PES 2016 truly is a return to form and is one of the best soccer games I have played recently. The gameplay has changed for the better and it is more realistic than in previous years. The physics feel more in line with the FIFA series and this is a good thing.
During PES’s dark days, the physics of the game were criticized by many as they felt the ball floated too high and the gameplay just didn’t feel right. Thankfully, all of that has been fixed in PES 2016 and even the harshest critic has to admit things are much better now.
There are several options for the player to cater to their needs. You can adjust the AI to make things easier for you, or you can up the difficulty to give yourself a real challenge. I do like how the AI is smart as the defender and goalies are always in the right positions they need to be.
Shooting and dribbling have also never felt better. In the advanced controls, you can do elaborate dribbles and passing to bypass any defenders that come your way. Shooting and chipping also feels great as you can bend the ball like any professional soccer player can.
In terms of games modes, there is plenty of stuff on offer here. Exclusive to the game is the official license to the UEFA Champions League. There are lots of other leagues on offer too. Some are licensed, while others are not. However, Konami has made efforts to license as many teams as they can.
The only major thing that might be holding this game down is due to the lack of official licenses. There are many real players in the game itself, but they had to change the team names. Chelsea for example is now named London FC and so on. It can be hard sometimes to find your favourite teams when they have a different name...
Another missing feature is the addition of women players. FIFA 16 added female players for the first time this year which is great. Hopefully in future PES games we might see a women in the game, although they might not be coming anytime soon.
Overall, PES 2016 looks and plays fantastically. The only thing holding it down is the lack of official licenses, although you can change the colors and team names by editing them yourself. Despite that, this is the ultimate soccer experience. PES 2016 shows that the franchise is back and better than ever now.