Over the last two decades, the two biggest football sim franchises – EA Sports’ FIFA, and Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer (PES)– have come ever closer to perfecting the intricacies of the game. But just like football itself, it hasn’t always been a straightforward journey. Both titles have seen their share of ups and downs, and have opted for different approaches in getting where they want.
Funnily enough, owing to the decisions made with each successive iteration, both FIFA and PES have ended up where the other was, ten years ago. Just look at PES 6 and FIFA 07, which released in 2006. Back then, EA was more focused on delivering an enjoyable time, and it showed in the impossible crosses and half-line goals that were a regular part of the game. Konami’s PES 6, on the other hand, was much more realistic.
Fast forward to today, and it’s FIFA that holds the crown of realism. Konami has chosen to embrace the fluidity and the beauty of one-touch football, which makes for a more stylish experience. PES 2018 is another step in that direction, but that doesn’t mean it’s not interested in realism. There are multiple improvements on that front in 2018, be it dribbling, body movement, opposition awareness, ball physics, and keeper save animations.
PES 2018 is also an important year for the franchise’s PC fans, who have felt neglected over the past few years. This time around, Konami has brought the game’s PC version in line with the console releases. It delivers fully on that promise, and we’ve covered that in detail separately. There’s Nvidia Ansel support on PC too, which is great news for in-game photographers.
But despite those enhancements, PES is all about high-octane fun, where you can link up terrific long balls and aerial through passes to create wonderful goals, with nary a worry for first-touch accuracy. PES 2018 continues the infallibility of crosses, with balls swerving and dipping in an ideal fashion nine times out of ten. The game is built in such a manner that a high percentage of moves will always lead to goals.