FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer have long been the two juggernauts in football video gaming. Their battles over the years aren’t quite legendary due to the fluctuating success of both companies but this year things have become very fierce. Konami have managed to close the gap on EA Sports and this year the two games are both excellent. We’ve now decided to do FIFA 16 vs PES 2016 to see how they compare.

We’ve broken this up into five different categories and put the two games side by side to give an overall score and eventually an overall winner in this titanic battle. In order to make the judging as fair as possible FIFA 16 will be judged by Pete Sharland whilst PES 2016 will be judged by Raj Mahil. Both are avid fans of the respective series and are well positioned to give their opinions on the games. So here’s our opinion on FIFA 16 vs PES 2016.

Presentation

FIFA 16

One of the real standout areas for FIFA and it has been for some time really since the games moved over to the new systems. The stadiums in FIFA look absolutely fantastic and having all 20 Premier League stadiums is a massive coup for EA. Every year player faces get more and more accurate and the commentary team of Martin Tyler and Alan Smith is tried and tested.
The interface is being constantly redesigned and this year everything feels really smooth and well laid out. With their Bundesliga partnership playing a match between two Bundesliga sides feels very authentic and along with the Premier League you do really feel like you’re watching a proper match.

Verdicts & Reivews - FIFA 16 vs PES 2016

Verdict – 5 stars

PES 2016

Though admittedly still way behind FIFA, Pro Evo’s presentation has improved this year. The commentary reigns have been handed to Peter Drury, who whilst not the best announcer in the game, is a lively addition. The execution of lines is a little better and when playing Champions League games, it brings about an authenticity due to his years with ITV and now BT Sport (in a similar vein to Tyler talking through Premier League games on FIFA).

The visuals are stunning for the most part – especially in replays. The excellent FOX engine (which powers Metal Gear Solid) was one of the highlights of PES 2015, and it still impresses now. Player faces are mostly good, though a few (as always) are laughably bad.

Verdict – 4 stars

Licensing

FIFA 16

Having every Premier League side is a massive bonus for EA Sports and the sheer depth of their licensing is simply astonishing. Of course the Premier League is the big prize that everyone wants but having the major European leagues, and now unparalleled Bundesliga coverage, really does set FIFA apart from PES.

Of course the major elephant in the room is still the Champions League, which will stay with PES for the next three seasons. There’s no denying that if FIFA had this it would really take Career Mode to the next level but as it is it’s still pretty good. FIFA continue to lead the way despite this and that seems unlikely to change any time soon.

Verdict – 4.5 stars

PES 2016

FIFA has quantity, PES has quality. The UEFA Champions League is the biggest competition in world football, and Konami have thankfully signed up those rights for another term.

Furthermore, the Europa League, Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana, Asian Champions League and Euro 2016 are all present. It’s important to note the popularity of PES (or Winning Eleven) in its native Japan, and also in South America.

Meanwhile, the Edit mode on PlayStation platforms allows Premier League and Championship kits and badges to be imported, via a simple file pack (a la the excellent PES World).

Verdicts & Reivews - FIFA 16 vs PES 2016

Verdict – 3.5 stars

Game modes

FIFA 16

Ultimate Team is Ultimate Team; there are always going to be problems no matter how hard EA try to push it. It seems to be something that if you like you love it but if you don’t you won’t touch it. Having said that Ultimate Team draft is a very shrewd addition and it can be a lot of fun providing you have the necessary coins.

Personally I think the real gem for FIFA 16 this year is Career Mode which, thanks to the addition of training and a number of other small tweaks, has become far more immersive. It’s really fun to actually build a team and you have far more control over the club than before. Sure it’s probably not as much as we’d like but it’s definitely getting there.

Verdicts & Reivews - FIFA 16 vs PES 2016

Verdict – 4.5 stars

PES 2016

The various competitions named in the licensing section are all playable in solo tournaments, which is always a fun little distraction, allowing you to try out a team without dedicating an entire Master League to them.

Speaking of Master League, it’s undergone a much-needed revamp this year. There are nice touches such as more cut-scenes (for instance a player picking up the UEFA Player of the Year award). It’s good – there’s a lot more information and customisation on hand – but the unintuitive UI still slightly lets the side down.

Become a Legend meanwhile is functional, but along with FIFA’s mediocre Be a Pro offering, shows how far behind the football sub-genre is, compared to basketball. The Story mode behind NBA 2K puts PES to shame.

Verdict – 3.5 stars

Gameplay

FIFA 16

This is a really tricky one. Personally I think the gameplay is much improved from FIFA 15 and a match feels like a far smoother experience. The importance of pace has finally been scaled back and it feels like FIFA is trying to be more of a proper simulation. The problem is that PES is just ahead of them on this one.

Ultimately I feel that PES is probably the more complete simulation but I always find myself having more fun when playing a game of FIFA, take what you will from that. It’s so nearly there for FIFA and I imagine that FIFA 17 will be when they bring it all together.

Verdict – 4.5 stars

PES 2016

This is where Pro Evo dominates FIFA for me. The latter borders on farcical at times, a complete mess. Yes it has some good points but it requires a lot of tinkering to get there. PES is great as soon as you load up the game; no modification needed.

Popping the ball around with precision passing play is an absolute joy. It dwarfs the competition with a lovely balance to the gameplay; pass-heavy philosophies are phenomenal to play with, but equally a physically imposing side can do wonders.

The gameplay flows unbelievably well and the PES Productions team have nailed player tendencies and animations. Seriously, believe the hype. Pro Evo plays an astonishingly good game of football.

Verdict – 5 stars

Verdicts & Reivews - FIFA 16 vs PES 2016

Online

FIFA 16

There’s two ways of looking at this, connectivity and selection. In terms of connectivity you can tell EA are making an effort but there are still some problems. This partly seems to be EA using their own servers rather than dedicated ones for the Xbox One in particular. There is still some noticeable lag although I have to say that I am yet to be disconnected from a game apart from if my opponent deliberately quits.

The flip side is that between Ultimate Team, Seasons and Co-op there is a raft of options available to you and of course there’s the FIFA Interactive World Cup as well. For me this is where FIFA really pulls out ahead of PES, until the latter can catch up the former is always going to be the king.

Verdict – 4 stars

PES 2016

The online portion is more stable this year than it ever has been. In fact, I have not even had a single lag-filled encounter in PES 2016, whilst on FIFA Ultimate Team, around 20% of my matches have been disconnected partway through.

However, the range of online modes and lack of polish in PES’ connected offerings is notable. Konami’s answer to Ultimate Team – myClub – is still a work in progress, and the only reason why I still put up with FIFA. There’s promise, sure, but right now myClub lacks a real hook to invest hours of game time into it.

Verdict – 3 stars

Verdict

Once again FIFA edges out PES but it’s evident that the gap is getting smaller and smaller. If you’re someone who loved the old Master League or the realistic feel of the older Pro Evolution Soccer games you should really consider picking up PES 2016. There have been a lot of improvements made and it’s a really good game.

Having said that though FIFA 16 is still the top dog, it has more depth to it and the authenticity of the matchday coverage is fantastic. For now it remains the number one but they’ll have to make sure FIFA 17 is very special if they want to stay at the top.