Two football games released at the same time. What are the odds, eh? Pretty high, obviously. Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 vs FIFA 17 may be the latest battle, but it’s a war that goes back decades.
Now that both PES 2017 and FIFA 17 reviews are out in the wild, it’s time to finally decide on a winner. Will it be PES’ on-field brilliance or FIFA 17’s widespread overhaul? Let’s take a look and see which is the best game: FIFA or PES?
“FIFA 17 is another strong iteration of the iconic series, and one that looks to lay the groundwork for future titles by switching to a new engine. The hyper-realistic graphics are great, with facial expressions finally helping players look more than ghosts.”
“PES 2017 plays the best game of football I’ve ever experienced, offline. Online it continues to suffer with similar issues to last year’s entry, albeit there are improvements across the board but nowhere near to the level I was hoping for. I’ve been able to enjoy some lag-free matches, but these trend to be the exceptions which prove the rule.”
Authenticity and graphics
Let’s start with how they look. Superficial, I know, but it’s important in its own way. While both FIFA 17 and PES 2017 are good looking games, it’s really no contest between the two of them. FIFA 17’s players amble around the pitch in such a way that they’re almost recognisable from their movements, before the commentator even opens his mouth. By contrast, PES 2017’s are a touch more generic, and the players movement feels a touch more stilted.
EA has changed its graphics engine for FIFA 17 from Ignite to Frostbite, the same tech that powers the likes of Battlefield and Mirror’s Edge. The improvements for the most part are subtle, but for the likes of stadium lighting, it’s significant.
The floodlights now emit a gorgeous bloom across the pitch at night with quality lens flare. Replays of the game now bringing realistic depth of field, too.
Some leading players have also been performance-captured to bring even better expression to the game, as well as tripling the number of animations. In the game, however, players look largely the same, albeit a year older.
Of course we also have managers in the game, although they don’t seem to have been given as much TLC as the players on the pitch. In situ they look great, but when the likes of Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp open their mouths, they have a weird goldfish effect and the illusion is broken.
PES transitioned to the FOX engine in 2016 and it offered a huge improvement, with players looking incredibly realistic. Konami has developed this further in 2017, with better lighting effects, animations and a revamp of stadia.
PES 2017 offers a stunning game of football, with player detail incredible, especially with the officially licensed teams. In motion the game can look gorgeous.
However, PES lacks the detail of lighting visuals that FIFA offers with the new Frostbite Engine. It also doesn’t quite capture the atmosphere of the stadia, primarily because, again, few are official and can deliver a real, relatable experience.
PES 2017 is an absolutely gorgeous looking game, but we’re giving a very narrow win to FIFA here.
From our verdict the Winner is… FIFA 17
This is the big one. While FIFA has pretty much steamrolled the competition thus far, this is where it all counts.
Both EA and Konami have made significant changes to gameplay this year. EA has focused on four key areas this year: set pieces, AI, physical interplay and attacking techniques.
For set pieces, you can now manipulate exactly how the kicker approaches the ball. Everything from where he stands to take the kick to the run-up and even the camera angle for free kicks has been adjusted.
For corners, a new reticle will pop up on the penalty spot with which you can aim your delivery more accurately. Unfortunately the whole system proves a little clunky and convoluted and doesn’t add much to gameplay.
The physical play overhaul is a much more positive one and sees the rise to prominence of football’s giants. Stronger players are capable of barging smaller ones off the ball to win back possession, but also can fend defenders off and keep hold of the ball. The physicality of the sport is definitely something you need to be prepared for in FIFA 17.
Overall, FIFA is a slow and considered affair, reliant on steady build-up play and accurate passing to break down defences. At times it may feel like it lacks the thrills and spills, but the complex command inputs work to give complete control to the player.
However, this can also serve to the game’s detriment, especially when compared to PES 2017, which beautifully offers simplicity in control while also delivering a fast and thrilling game of football.
On the pitch, PES 2017 is simply unrivalled. The fast-paced action means end-to-end action is commonplace and exhilarating. The ease of which you can control players and pull off amazing pieces of skill and interplay means PES is a joy on the pitch.
While FIFA 17 is better than FIFA 16, PES 2017 is undoubtedly the best game of football there has ever been.
From our verdict the Winner is… PES 2017
FIFA 17 VS PES 2017 – VERDICT
While FIFA 17 draws PES 2017 1-1 in our categories, it’s not as surprising as the score may seem. While FIFA wins out in graphics (albeit very narrowly), the fact that gameplay is such a strong win for PES mean this year it’s such a close call.
It honestly comes down to personal taste: If gameplay on the pitch is all that matters to you, then you’re probably best served buying PES 2017. If variety of modes and ways to play the game matters, then FIFA 17 is by far the stronger game.
Although online stability is too soon to call, PES 2017 is known to suffer with issues and FIFA has had issues in the past but it’s started off well this time. We’ll have to check back once lots of people have started playing to see if it will stay that way.
Both have their strengths and weakness, and where one is weak, the other is strong. It is a very close race, and you can’t really go wrong with either game this year, as both are excellent.