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PES 2016 review




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  • PES 2016


Our Score:



  • Superb physics and animation
  • Convincing real-world football feel
  • Fast pace and agile players
  • MyTeam mode improving all the time


  • Poor and repetitive commentary
  • Game modes should be more accessible
  • Inconsistent goalies and defence

Available on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC

It's time to ask that age old question once again: PES 2016 or FIFA 16?

Well, we can definitively say that 2016 is without a doubt Pro Evo's year. Konami's football sim finally plays a more exciting, faster paced game than its EA rival. It does a much better job at capturing the true flow of the beautiful game.

While quick-thinking is rewarded and clumsy play punished, it's the fact that the players feel responsive and agile.

Usually PES pails in comparison to FIFA when it comes to the graphics, but this year the game uses the same FOX Engine as Metal Gear Solid 5. That means superior detail, animation and lighting, which gives Pro Evo a substantial edge over its rival.

If you're being particularly fussy, you might complain about the flat-looking grass or some unconvincing effects for footfalls on wet turf. But the players' skin and cloth dynamics have never looked better in a PES game and the ball physics and ball animation are second to none.

All the same, the many voices acclaiming this year’s Pro Evo as a landmark football game, even the best football game ever made, might be pushing it a little. Pro Evo is this year’s champion by a margin, but it’s still not perfect. Reports that PES 2016 stomps all over FIFA or redefines the genre still need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Related: FIFA 2016 review

PES 2016

Why? It’s partly to do with issues that have always made life hard for Pro Evo and which come down to licensing more than anything else. Without the weight or war chest to compete with FIFA for licensed teams and tournaments, picking Pro Evo still means living with a range of made-up teams, and while fans might say that it doesn’t matter that you have to play London FC, Merseyside Red or East Dorsetshire instead of Chelsea, Liverpool and Bournemouth, we all know it does.

Licensing is one thing, but there is a lot of other stuff that Pro Evo could be doing better. The presentation, heavy on static screens, fiddly menus and dull tutorials, isn’t even close to FIFA standard. The Master League mode has seen a revamp that makes it clearer and more accessible, but the Become a Legend and MyClub modes remain slightly awkward, unatmospheric and obtuse in comparison to their FIFA equivalents. That’s a shame, because both modes have real depth and substance, and MyClub is steadily evolving into a very credible rival to FIFA’s Ultimate Team – one more related to real-world football than collectible card games and microtransactions.

PES 2016

And while Pro Evo is getting better on delivering real match atmosphere, it’s still behind FIFA in key areas. This year’s commentary from Peter Drury and Jim Beglin is just about adequate when you have licensed Champions League teams on the pitch, but with other sides it’s unconvincing. It won’t take you many matches before you grow tired of the generic, repetitive comments or the failure to respond to what’s unfolding. In fact, there’s something slightly depressing about getting told that your striker has a wide open space to play with when he’s being harried mercilessly by three defenders, or getting told that the match is finished when the other team is only two goals up with thirty minutes still to go.

Yet all this stuff fades into the background when things are going right on the pitch. It’s hard to pin down exactly what Pro Evo gets so right. Is it the way that ball physics, smart controls and player interactions come together to make a more believable game? Is it the way that the virtual players seem to reflect the play styles – even personalities – of the real-world players they represent? Watch Messi, Neymar or Karim Benzema at work, and you’ll be amazed at how closely the new Pro Evo replicates the real deal in terms of pace, gait, ball control and finishing power.

PES 2016

Is it the fantastic flow of the game, where passes build into waves of attack that either smash their way into the goal or ebb, crash or break on a fast-moving defence? Whatever it is, PES 2016 makes a beautiful version of the beautiful game.

Unrealistic player interactions were one of Pro Evo’s biggest failings last year, but Konami has transformed them into one of this year’s biggest triumphs. FIFA has been handling this stuff well for years, but PES 2016 takes it to another level. Watch players smash and stumble against each other, jostle for the ball, barge opponents or come in for a tackle, and they move with a substance and realism that’s eerily convincing and not at all pre-baked. Interactions with the ball are also more dynamic and slightly unpredictable, making each attempt to catch a fast, soaring pass or connect with a loose ball a thrilling moment. Who knows what kind of analysis and hard iteration went into making this all look so simple and so lifelike, but it’s the biggest area where Pro Evo surges ahead.

PES 2016

True, Pro Evo’s zoomed-out view doesn’t quite match FIFA’s for crisp detail, but the combination of that animation and the superb rendering of skin, cloth, hair and lighting in the close-up views more than makes up for it. In stills, Cristian Ronaldo, Luis Suarez or Lionel Messi might look more realistic in the EA Sports game, but in motion its Konami’s versions that are more convincing, with more human expressions and movements and less weird, uncanny valley robot stares. The weather effects are pretty good as well, with rain having a clear impact on stopping distances, slides and the pace of the ball.

All the same, Pro Evo isn’t perfect. In fact it’s weakest where the new FIFA is strongest: On defence. Sometimes the AI seems incredibly tight, while at other times its woeful. Sometimes nobody scores for 90 minutes, while other matches transform into ludicrous end-to-end goal fests. FIFA’s defence is far more consistent, its positioning and tracking of enemy strikers so much smarter. While this makes for a less flowing and sometimes more frustrating game, it also leads to fewer situations where the scoreline reaches levels that make grown Brazillians cry.

Related: Best games 2015

PES 2016

Yes, it’s possible to argue that goalkeeping takes more skill in Pro Evo, or that this is a more accurate reflection of the abilities of different goalies, that won’t make you feel much better when yours lets in cheap shot after cheap shot, losing you the match. Nor will you feel cheered up when the useless git allows shots that might be best described as speculative to roll at no great speed across the line. Sure, you won’t complain so much when you’re on the striking end, nailing goal after goal against a poor online player, or weak AI, but if PES 2016 has any serious gameplay issue, this is it.

Luckily, it’s not game-breaking. Play as the world’s top sides and the goalies are stronger, and even with weaker teams you can work around it, taking more control of your goalie rather than leaving the AI to handle things for you. And when Pro Evo is good – which is most of the time – then it’s so very, very good. At it’s best, it’s almost as brilliant and enthralling a game of football as its more fanatical fans claim.


Pro Evo is still struggling to match FIFA on match atmosphere, presentation, accessibility and commentary – all areas where Konami could and should be doing better. Yet it’s a fantastic football game once you hit the pitch, with brilliant close-up graphics, superb animation, convincing ball physics and player interactions and a fantastic feel for the ebb and flow of the match. It still has issues with defence and goalkeeping, but if you want guts, adrenaline and excitement in your video game footie, this year’s Pro Evo is the one to buy.

Overall Score


gilbert khayat

June 25, 2015, 6:19 pm

I really enjoy playing PES2015 however there are few things that needs to improve which is:
1. Through passing is not working properly.
2. The other teams sometimes makes me feel I am playing against Barcelona while they are a low ranked club.
3. The master leagues lacks the basic functions like skipping matches not just one match. For example I know that I am won the league and I just want to skip the last two matches.
4. Sometimes the players feel slow and don't even want to play lol. Can't explain that but it happens so many times.
5. GK is really bad on this version I hope the address on the new version.

I am still going to go for PES regardless of the improvements because Fifa for me is not fun anymore


June 26, 2015, 9:04 am

I have really enjoyed PES2015 on the PS3, they seriously need to improve on the collision detection engine, the foul decisions are poor at times, and player is sent off for just a clip at times. I don't think goalkeepers are that bad. The graphical presentation is pants, they really need to improve the layout and look to compete with Fifa. Also on the PS3 they left out many stadiums, and there are no cut scene animations apart from celebrations. Game play generally is far better than Fifa. Let's hope they don't mess up and keep things in check. Also Konami made a cock up with online game play for nearly two weeks most online players could not play against each other. customers who also purchased digital versions had issues activating. Konami need everything to be smoothed over..

gilbert khayat

July 5, 2015, 10:19 am

I agree, whle the game play was nicer than Fifa it still requires improvement. Sometimes lower division teams are stronger than Barca. Other parts of the field just freezes and only few players move during offense or defense. But at the end it's really exciting to see Konami release the game in September and not November.


September 24, 2015, 6:27 am

looks like pes16 wins this round


September 27, 2015, 5:32 pm

Fifa may have exceptional presentation but seeing as the main thing that makes Fifa better than Pro is the licensing (which can be remedied on Pro: see below) and the main thing that Pro has on Fifa is the gameplay (which can't be rectified on Fifa) you have to really only ask yourself which to sacrifice.

Personally for anyone pondering the player and team licenses can easily be edited Pro. If you are new to Pro Evo let me tell you that it takes about an hour to edit all the team names including their commentary names for each league. It takes about half an hour to edit the strips for any individual team which is a bit tiresome and technically it takes roughly two days straight to to a complete re-edit of any one league. Nearly all the leagues are already licensed it's just the Premiership that needs a bit of work max four days. It's not hard to edit in pro evo either so even a newbie to the franchise can navigate and edit to their hearts content with relative ease. If this isn't convincing enough then you can always download other peoples edited data for a measly sum of money saving you time and effort.

The parallel's between Fifa and Pro aren't vastly different and both games are very good (on their good years) but right now Pro Evo edges Fifa in terms of game play and at the end of the day is it not the game play the really matters?. Once the editing has been done to a high enough standard all my friends who are die hard Fifa fans have said they preferred last years Pro to Fifa.

Habung Martin

October 3, 2015, 6:49 am

1 n 4 point to v noted lol

Mango Fandango

October 18, 2015, 5:09 pm

I have to question whether the author understands defence in football. It's laughable to state that FIFA is at it's strongest on defence. There is nothing notably good about playing defence on FIFA 15 and 16. Defenders colliding with strikers simply delay the inevitability of the striker getting to the loose ball, defenders losing track of runners on a whim, fullbacks that suddenly freeze as you control the CDM to close the winger only to see the winger blow past the FB. CBs being generally inept at dealing with bread and butter lobbed balls - it's small wonder why LB+Y is used so often online.

Then there is the case of the breakdown in possession. Opponent gives the ball to the fastest player and then runs directly into your backline. Directly into traffic. And then gets free and blasts one at the back of the net. It's not beautiful and it's frustrating when all you want is to control the defence.

Plus the kick-off exploit, whereby the defence will not react to the striker running up the middle. Sure it is stoppable (teammate press whilst you jockey another guy into position to intercept), but the fact that so many goals online proves that the AI is incapable of dealing with simple situations like having 11 men vs 1 pace abuser. It is now a prerequisite in FUT to try to exploit the passive AI to gain that cheap goal.

The only constant that exsits in FIFA's defensive AI is it's ineptitude. I have been involved in games that exceed 7-10 goals and yet I have rarely had a 0-0.

Having played PES16, the AI on defence is smart! They react depending on the defender's personality, the tactics actually can aid you (or destroy you if done badly, like I once did when I had David Luis man mark Benzema but had him playing as CDM, which meant I conceded so much space). The physical collisions are meaty enough that it's satisfying to bully strikers off the ball just as you'd see in real life! Successful tackles are comprehensively in favour of the defender that it becomes a conclusive turnover in possession. Defence is so clean in PES16 that I have to wonder why football games haven't been like this.... EVER!

If FIFA's strong point is defence (thankfully it isn't - it's the fluid execution of skill moves) then FIFA is dead, because FIFA has very little in terms of gameplay to satiate the hunger of football fans that want to play the beautiful game as we see on TV or how we play on the pitches on a Sunday afternoon.

pes 201612

December 19, 2015, 12:17 pm

İ like pes 2016 play game. http://www.dusoyun.com/futb... play games.

Der Führer

February 16, 2016, 3:23 pm

This is More of an Update to the previous 2015 version.

and that explains it .

still a weak ,Unresponsive , dull , unimpressive gameplay , PES has gone a downhill since 2013 , and nothing ever fixed , it's just slightly better than the 2014 which was unplayable , and you kinda feel they made easier to score goals so you won't get bored and think it's better than 2015 !

The camera position and Visuals are less lively than the 2013 , and you don't feel in game , the camera in PES 2013 was the best , specially on wide , best height , best position , best zoom , and following .
This game has become a FIFA copycat since 2014- and since 2015 it's just a renamed FIFA , and that explains the unpleasant directions the Konami has taken in every aspects with this game .
the User interface also sucks and it's also copied from the FIFA .

thank a bunch Konami , another waste of money and the a pile of disappointment for one more Year .

see you in 2017 , ops just kidding , F*** you and your over rated game.

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