FIFA and PES have waged a battle for the title of best football simulation video game for years now. Even though PES reigned supreme for over a decade, in the last couple of years FIFA came dangerously close and even surpassed Konami’s hit title. Konami might have ‘helped’ them by making some bad decisions and with not the best realization of their version for the previous seasons. But, it all seems to change once more with Pro Evolution Soccer 2016.
PES 2016 is a football simulation that simultaneously marks 20 years since the creation of the first Pro Evolution Soccer, i.e. Winning Eleven as the game was called in the past (and still is in Japan). Konami has successfully extended their license until the year 2018 for the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and UEFA Super Cup, meaning that these competitions are a part of PES 2016. It’s especially interesting to note that Konami has ‘seized’ the UEFA Euro 2016, a competition traditional for EA, i.e. FIFA until now, and which should release in some form during next year – whether as a stand-alone game or as an add-on for PES 2016 remains to be seen.
When it comes to the teams, stadiums and leagues, this year’s release is a mixed bag. Ligue 1 and La Liga are licensed, but Seria A and the Premier League are not, with Manchester United being the only team licensed from it, along with Bayern, Wolfsburg and Borusia Monchengladbach from the Bundesliga. Seria B is not, just like the Primera, Ligue 2, Segunda and Campeonato Brasilero Serie A. Among the 21 stadiums in game, only 11 of them are licensed, Alianz Arena, Juventus, Maracana, Old Trafford, and San Siro, to name a few, while the others are unlicensed.
Also, Peter Drury and Jim Beglin replace Jon Champton as commentators and we have to say that this is one of the biggest gripes we have about the game. The comments are repetitive and not particularly interesting, but at the same time that is the only major criticism that we can have about this year’s edition. Everything else is done in accordance to the good old PES quality standard that we were used to.
It’s been a long time since we were drawn like this to a PES game by it’s gameplay and quality. Physics model is great, the game commands react well, the gameplay is dynamic and always challenging… Simply put, everything in PES 2016 gives off a sense of a great game that will surely bring hours upon hours of good entertainment to a crowd that loves to “play some PES” in their spare time.
Beside the physics model and the dynamic physics engine that has a new collision system, and an improved AI that encompasses dozens of smart individual decisions and enables all players to seem ‘as one’, the graphical aspect deserves praise as well. The animations are excellent, as are the fluidity and control, player’s movement without ball… The defense players are great at defending their goal, they get stuck in and steal the ball, the attackers position themselves well to receive your passes – everything is as it should be.
If we have to try to find another bad characteristic of this game, then we could probably mention the behavior of referees, who from time to time make a complete miss with their decisions, but beside that, the Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 is probably the best PES we’ve seen since the Playstation 2 era.
Author: Stefan Starović