My Grandfather always used to say, never talk about religion or politics as it will only end up causing arguments. Any gamer will tell you that there is a similar subject never to discuss in public and that would be the subject of whether you prefer the FIFA or PES football games. Defend either of the games and you will be labelled a fanboy by the opposition instantly, but as a wise man once said; “there is no right or wrong only human opinion”.
Before we look at the games, I should probably make you aware of my allegiance, back in 2001 I discovered the new “best football game evaaaar” which was Pro Evolution Soccer (or Pro Evo as I refer to it). The game was frustratingly hard and found myself playing for ten minutes trying desperately to grind out a 1-0 win. Where as by contrast a game on FIFA would very often end up 12-0. This is where my love affair began with Pro Evo. I really didn’t care that the team names and player names were wrong; the game played just like a real game of football and the ball physics just felt right.
Several years later I would mock anyone that dare praise FIFA in my presence, as it really wasn’t a proper football game and if they could not see this they were philistines. Pro Evo 6 remains my most played game on my Xbox chart but then it all went horribly wrong. Pro Evo creator Shingo “Seabass” Takatsuka had suddenly gone from hero to villain as the last two games were released nearly unplayable online and nothing was done about it. The way I figured it, over the last two years they have taken £80 of my money and ran off laughing. What followed was something I never dreamt possible, people left Pro Evo in their droves and moved across to FIFA. Anyone who knows anything about football games on any format will tell you this was a huge change, the average Pro Evo player would sacrifice their first born rather than to admit playing FIFA, after all it would make you feel dirty.
In some ways the real irony is that the two games have switched places; Pro Evo was the thinking man’s game where you concentrated on slow, steady build up play, and FIFA was the arcade game which was much faster and involved lots of goals. Last year especially Konami seemed to have sped up the game engine and concentrated on arcade action on Pro Evo where as FIFA’s gameplay had been slowed down and made more thoughtful. To put this in perspective, Pro Evo Network (a pre-cursor to both TIMJ and CGN) ran dedicated leagues for Pro Evo suddenly found itself in crisis as the game was unplayable online. In its subsequent site structural changes as XBLN it now runs a very successful FIFA League.
So the big question is can Pro Evo ever return to a type of form to recapture its title as the best football game? Will fans be willing to give it another try despite being burned from the last two years? Offline many players will argue that Pro Evo still is the better game, but Konami need to sort out the online issues that have dogged them for the last 2-4 years.
Although this years instalments of both titles are not out until October, already the media war has begun and mind games from both camps could be likened to wars from the real game between Ferguson and Wenger. As a gamer, you have a decision to make that will define who you are in the eyes of your friends and enemies over the next 12 months.
Since the dawn of time football games give you the option to run in eight directions, up, down, left, right and the diagonals but for the first time this year, EA have taken a gamble and created a system where you can now run in 360 different directions. Every possible angle has been mapped so you can make any run and play any ball. No matter how good you are at FIFA 09, you will have a new control system to learn. There are also custom set pieces added this year so looking good.
So many people including myself have done the unthinkable and joined the dark side of Fifa, but there will always be a place in the heart of every true football fan for Pro Evo!
Fear not this could be the year that creator “Seabass” fights back. He has listened to what the fans want, the ball will not be flying around the pitch like a ping pong ball this year, the gameplay will be slower and back to the game we love. But they say that every year at Konami, don’t they?
If EA think they are the only ones to offer 360-degree control system they are wrong because I am pleased to tell you that so will Pes 2010. 360-degree control will be available on both the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC-DVD versions of the game via the analogue sticks on their respective controllers. Playstation 3 owners will also benefit when using the Dual Shock’s D-Pad, but Xbox 360 and some PC D-Pads are limited to eight-directional control due to technical limitations of the hardware.
Although looking at the early screenshots graphically FIFA just edges it, but the season’s best football game has never been about the best graphics but playability, ball physics or even good old fashioned net bulge! To be honest nothing annoys me more than early close up screenshots because nobody plays either game with the camera zoomed in that far anyway. It looks like football fans are going to have a very hard decision to make in October, I will probably end up buying both and the losing title will end up going to the highest bidder on a certain auction site.
What are you going to do? Please let us know.