PES 2015 vs FIFA 15

Which will come out as man of the match?

FIFA 15 and PES 2015 are finally here and with Christmas on the horizon many football gaming fans will be lining up to take sides. Which of these two fierce rivals is worthy of the top spot?
 

FIFA 15 vs PES 2015 – Interface

FIFA 15 is immediately slick, with clear menus and cool looking widgets and smooth transitions as you navigate the various options open to you. In direct comparison, PES is cluttered and clunky, with menus that look decidedly retro, it feels as though you’re playing PES from days of old

But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you still remember the golden age of PES before FIFA muscled its way to the top of the pack. It’s vintage PES in many ways and as a fan, we liked it, FIFA fanboys may write PES 2015 off at the first hurdle though.
 

FIFA 15 vs PES 2014 – Graphics

Whilst PES 2014 looks distinctly ahead of its time thanks to the deployment of Konami’s Fox Engine, this year I must say I expected more. People raving on about this game’s graphics are either basing their opinions on cut scene graphics or haven’t played any graphically decent titles on PC, Xbox One or PS4. The performance delivered by the FOX Engine in PES 2015 looks a little dated when played side-by-side against FIFA.
 
Close-ups of player’s faces in opening and scoring sequences looks detailed and high quality in FIFA 15, clearly mapped from actual 3D scans of the many of the player’s heads. In PES 2015, close-ups reveal literal cracks in this game’s graphical performance. The game’s designers appear to have forgotten to connect the still pictures they used to create the 3D faces of the players around areas such as eyes, mouths and ears for example.

Another weakness in PES 2015’s side is the crowd. looking beyond the pitch and into the stadium reveals pixelated, Minecraft-style football fans, again, something I wouldn’t expect from a next gen title.
 
See also: Best games 2014

Player faces
PES 2015 – Player face comparisons

However with all of that said, PES 2015 does get some things very right, such as details around the field and the kits of the teams they have managed to secure licenses for such as Real Madrid and Manchester United. Other than the fans, the stadium elements are also decent, with some variation between characters like the sideline photographers, soldiers and police. Is it cynical of me to also notice that the advertising hoardings displaying genuine brand ads look particularly polished and life-like? On a slight side note, I wonder how Microsoft feel about the PS4 advert plastered around the pitch even when you’re playing this game on Xbox One.
 
Anyway, back to the game. PES 2015 player animations look natural and fluid, compared to the mechanical motion from players in FIFA 2015, and that’s what really counts. FIFA 15 is polished and comes complete with bells and whistles, but PES 2015 concentrates on gameplay, and for me does the better job of delivering a fluid gaming experience; tackles look extra tasty as well.
 
FIFA 15
FIFA 15 – Player face comparisons

FIFA 15 vs PES 2015 – Gameplay

So let’s talk gameplay then, both games take slightly different approaches when it comes to recreating the beautiful game. FIFA goes for pace, and is noticeably faster in its movement. Players feel almost weightless in comparison to PES. In some ways, FIFA is slightly more responsive making it easier to play Spanish tika-taka football, which will suit some gamer styles more than others.

PES is a much more physical affair, with the players having a tangible heft to them. As a result, PES 2015 does a better job at delivering realistic tussles for the ball, whilst in FIFA 15 players seem to go down at the mere suggesting of contact – wait, which one is actually more realistic then?
 
Jibes at the frailty of professional top-flight ballers aside, we found PES 2015 delivered the most fun in-game experience. FIFA is downright frustrating at times for a number of reasons, but the fact that the player’s move like android clones and can’t handle the physical nature of contact sport makes it feel like a football simulator rather an actual game, which by definition is ultimately supposed to entertain.

See also: Xbox One vs PS4

FIFA 15

PES 2015 vs FIFA 15 – Artificial Intelligence

FIFA 15’s android clones apparently never had their footballing brains installed, which is evident when your teammates often amble around you instead of bombing ahead and into space in anticipation of a killer through ball. Of course FIFA masters know how to coordinate their players when in attack mode, but that’s the deployment of human intelligence, so for me FIFA struggles in this area. The same footballing brain deficiency is apparent in defence with your unselected team members seemingly running away from the ball whilst you’re being attacked. Time and time again, you will experience your team parting like the red sea for no apparent reason. Conceding as a result of this bizarre quirk is controller-dashingly annoying.
 
More impressively, PES 2015 does a better job of giving you a team of pro footballers at your disposal, capable of closing down danger and making intelligent runs throughout a game. You can feel your team working with you rather than against you whilst playing PES, making it a more rewarding experience when interplay connects and ends up with the ball being slotted neatly into the back of the net. Work has clearly been done to try and improve the wayward passing that plagued PES 2014 where the ball would inextricably end up at the feet of the wrong player or run beyond your intended target regardless of the amount of power used. Both games still suffer a little from incorrect player selection in attack and defence, but PES 2015 is better in this area in my opinion.
 
Although not a slick or as pacey as FIFA 15, the forces controlling the AI players and the ball in PES 2015 feel more solid and under your control.
 
PES 2015

FIFA 15 vs PES 2015 – Rights and details

Same old story here when it comes to FIFA, the game has it all, pretty much every team and player is legit and up-to-date. But this year they’ve also secured the Premier League as the Official Sports Technology Partner meaning that in the PC and new-gen versions of the game EA has managed to recreate every Premier League stadium with official scoreboards, ad boards TV graphics, refs and sanctioned fan chants such as Liverpool’s ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ which rings out at Anfield as the match is approaching conclusion. Because of the breadth of official licenses and meticulous execution, FIFA 15 delivers an overall sense of legitimacy that simply can’t be touched by any other footballing title.
 
Konami has had to take a much more selective and measured approach, securing the UEFA rights, key teams and leagues such as Argentina’s Primera División, Manchester United in the Prem, Benfica, Porto and Sporting CP in Portugal. It’s a process that seems to be an ongoing one with DLC delivering updates as Konami secures more rights. Although sporting brands seem to have been a bit less difficult to work with as PES features boots from Adidas, Puma and Nike, recreated beautifully. Of course it is possible to edit teams, kits, players to your hearts content, but it would take until the release of PES 2017 for an individual to recreate what FIFA 15 does straight out of the box.
 
PES 2015

FIFA 15 vs PES 2015 – Commentary

Another crucial element in any sporting game experience, the commentary adds the necessary character and atmosphere. Variation, realism and charm are key when in comes to in-game commentary and it’s really hard to tell which game does a better job. English commentary is dry in tone and disjointed in PES 2015, with the slotting in of different player’s names noticeable at the end of sentences. For example: “The finishing was made a lot easier for…BALOTELLI.” It’s downright cheap. But the good thing is that PES takes a less is more approach, making comments on moments and swings of momentum instead of talking incessantly throughout the game.
 
FIFA 15’s commentators on the other hand are full of anecdotal information, just like real life and have recorded a wider variety of tones for each of their expressions, making them sound much more natural than PES’s commentary. The problem we have with FIFA’s approach is that the commentators seem to be suffering from the same footballing brain deficiency as the game’s players. Quite often they will say things that simply aren’t reflected on the pitch. For example, whilst on the counter attack, the commentator said: “This is last chance saloon for Liverpool.” Only we were already 3-0 up and it was the 79th minute. Or they’ll comment on players who aren’t playing and you’ll have no idea what the commentary team is actually on about. It’s distracting and after a while it will grate on you to the point that you’ll either turn it down or switch the language to Spanish or Portguese.
 
FIFA 15

PES 2015 vs FIFA 15 – Modes

Both games have a good variety of modes, with typical career options such as managing a team or a player’s career. FIFA allows you to manage or play as the most obscure clubs, which will appeal to fans who want to take their local league team to the Premier League. Where FIFA really shines though is its replication of the real world media circus and public nature of what goes on a football clubs. Throughout career mode, you’re invited to attend press conferences ahead of crucial games and can choose to praise or unnerve the opposition. Brief news stories from around your FIFA universe also populate your experience, whilst players’ form and team selection is reflected in the interactions they have with you and the stories written about them. There’s a great level of depth to the competition and career modes in FIFA 15, what little you get in terms of options are superior in most conceivable ways to PES 2015. However, PES 2015 holds its own due to the number of mode options available.
 
Beyond Master League and Career management, the UEFA Champions League and Europa Leagues are delivered superbly by PES 2015, right down to the famous soundtracks. But fans of football across the globe are also treated to more regional competitions such as the Asian Champions Leaguem Copa Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana as well as other less internationally popular competitions. PES 2015 will appeal to fans less obsessed with the usual suspects, instead inviting players to delve into the footballing world beyond Europe.

FIFA 15

FIFA 15 vs PES 2015 – Online

Perhaps due to its popularity or scale but EA servers really do suffer when it comes to online gaming experiences, Titanfall seems to get all the love when it comes to reliable online gaming experiences. Playing FIFA 15 is a mixed experience with matchmaking taking anything from seconds to tens of minutes.
 
We found it much easier to play PES 2015 online and the game seems to hold up better than FIFA which has a lot more heavy lifting to do, due to the level of detail that they’ve put into the stadiums, pitch and players.
 

Final Score

In truth, both of these games are great in their own ways. For the first time in a long time, there isn’t a clear winner. Both games have their weaknesses and strengths; FIFA 15 is polished and pacey on field. PES 2015 looks a little dated but delivers a physical game with intelligent interplay.
 
On one side of the pitch you have the in-depth, football simulator style experience of FIFA 15 with it’s broad range of official licenses, up-to-date news feeds that reflect what’s typically happens in all major leagues across Europe. Whilst on the other side there’s raw and realistic football from PES 2015 that is straight up entertaining to play despite lacking the shiny extras.

See also: Best Xbox One Games 2014