FIFA 18 vs PES 2018: Which plays the best game of footie?

FIFA 18 and PES 2018 are both great football games, offering strong evolutions over their predecessors. But which game is the best? Is FIFA 18 good enough to persuade long-standing PES fans to jump ship? Or is PES 2018 able to lead FIFA fans to shun the need for licenses and Ultimate Team and join the team over at Konami?

Trusted Reviews has compared the two games and come together with what we think is the verdict on this year’s best game. Disagree? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.

Buy FIFA 18 now from Amazon UK | Amazon.com

Buy PES 2018 from Amazon UK

FIFA 18 vs PES 2018 – Gameplay

There’s no debate that both FIFA and PES have improved how the game plays on the pitch, but what is also true is how FIFA 18 is significantly better than FIFA 17, while PES 2018 feels more little a subtle evolution over its predecessor.

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PES 2018 has introduced improved dribbling mechanics, granting even more control when on the ball, something the series has already excelled at. Konami has also introduced improved physicality between players jostling for possession, but its implementation is a little hit and miss.

Thanks to the developer’s approach of simple controls, while it’s great to see players barging and pushing each other in a fight for the ball, sometimes it can feel hard to protect the ball as the more diminutive player. While FIFA offers multiple ways to shield the ball from a defender, with PES’ new format, it can sometimes feel like, unless you drag the ball backwards and kill attacking momentum, the strongest man always wins.

It’s a solid start, but one that will need a bit more tweaking either via a patch or in next year’s entry.

As always, the beauty comes in PES’ subtlety and the ability to score a goal from anywhere. There’s no greater feeling than scoring an absolute worldy in PES 2018 after pulling off one of the most stunning build up plays you’ve ever seen.

Related: FIFA 18 Best Career Mode Players

FIFA 18, on the other hand, feels like a complete overhaul on all previous entries in the series. By unlocking animations it finally plays as fast and fluidly as its rival, and with improved crossing mechanics alongside better dribbling and ball control, the whole game feels incredible.

Shielding the ball is now an effective skill thanks to more intricate turns from players. No longer do you have to use the fanciest skill moves in order to get around a tricky defender.

FIFA used to fail to come close to matching what PES could do in terms of intricate passing and ball movement, but this year it’s arguably neck and neck.

It’s hard to quite describe how significant an improvement FIFA 18 is on the pitch unless you play it for yourself. Thankfully, EA has released a demo for you to see just how far it has come in just one year.

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It’s a very close call, and probably comes down to personal taste, which is why we’re calling this a tie. You really can’t lose as a football fan this year.

Winner: Tie

FIFA 18 vs PES 2018 – Graphics

PES 2018 continues to use the FOX Engine, and provides subtle improvements with increased use of stadia scenery and better lighting and motion capture. But in reality, the engine is starting to show its age slightly. The game still looks great, but it’s clear Konami isn’t able to develop and innovate as much as FIFA has on the Frostbite engine.

Player faces still look great in PES, and the game particularly shines in its replays, allowing your best goals to look even better.

When we’re talking graphics, we have to talk presentation also, and unfortunately PES’ menus and UI is verging on prehistoric nowadays. The same basic user interface we’ve had for years continues to be the way players select their desired mode, the same tactics board, and it all looks very basic.

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FIFA by comparison, thanks to the help of licences from nearly every club and league in the land, looks much more like Sky Sports Super Sunday. Everything around a match looks as it does on a real match on the TV, and it makes for a much better experience. Everything from the team lineups to the scorecard creates a sense of authenticity that PES simply can’t match.

Couple this with the continued improvements the series is making on the Frostbite engine, the game is utterly gorgeous. The lighting effects in particular make the pitches and players look amazing in both night and day games. Gone are the weird claymation characters, too, thanks to much improved player models and better textures, players look significantly better than they have ever done in the series.

EA has also given the menus a brand new lick of paint, creating a much fresher look to the whole game. Its vibrant colours make for simply a much “cooler” looking game than PES.

FIFA wins this one by a country mile.

Winner: FIFA 18

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FIFA 18 vs PES 2018 – Modes

This, unfortunately, is where we come to PES 2018’s achilles heel. While playing an excellent game of football, unfortunately Konami has failed to innovate on the amount of ways the beautiful game can be played. Master League continues to offer a broken transfer system that means the sense of immersion is broken. In a mode where Neymar can be bought for just £30 million, the sense of challenge can be lost in trying to take your club to the very top.

The game still has the Champions League and Europa League licence, but outside of the nice presentation, doesn’t do much with it. You simply go from game to game moving through the competition, with little sense of ‘show’.

MyClub is still solid, but like all other attempts in other sports titles, stands in the huge shadow of FIFA Ultimate Team. And overall, none of these modes do anything significantly different to what they did last year, which is a big disappointment.

EA Sports has worked hard to present at least something new in each of its modes so that there is something for everybody, while keeping Ultimate Team as the definite star of the show.

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Manager Career Mode now includes real-time contract and transfer negotiations, which sees players and managers walk into your office and you engage in a dialogue to try and seal that deal. Going back and forth with offers and counter offers is a really cool way of doing things, and seeing the managers in the room adds that much more realism to the mode. It may be a single new feature in a mode arguably in need of a huge overhaul, but it’s enough for players who have probably felt starved of change for years.

The Journey: Hunter Returns sees a new, darker story for our hero, Alex Hunter. EA is looking towards 2K and the brilliant NBA 2K18 MyPlayer as a rival with this single player story mode, and while it still trails that series, FIFA remains light years ahead of what PES is offering in this department.

We also, of course, have that killer app in Ultimate Team, which introduces a new mode for players off-put by the online seasons of last year. Squad Battles sees you face off against other real world players’ squads, controlled by AI, over the course of a week in an attempt to rack up the highest score for prizes. It’s a great new mode that’ll appeal to both veteran players and newcomers as a welcoming way to earn cash and packs.

Once again, this round is FIFA’s.

Winner: FIFA 18

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FIFA 18 vs PES 2018 – Verdict

As a football game, players can arguably take their pick between FIFA 18 and PES 2018 and have a great time playing matches both online and in single player. But PES 2018 feels like a small step over 2017 compared to FIFA 18’s giant leap. FIFA 18 is so much better than the series has ever been it can now comfortably rival PES in the gameplay department, while also outshining it in many other areas.

Buy FIFA 18 now from Amazon UK | Amazon.com

Buy PES 2018 from Amazon UK

As an overall package, it’s hard to overlook how much more players get for their buck with FIFA, compared to PES. Thanks to the stagnation of PES’ modes, and FIFA’s continued growth and long overdue introductions of new features, FIFA is simply the better overall product this year.

Winner: FIFA 18

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Disagree with our verdict? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.