Last year, FIFA 10 won the battle for the best footy game on all consoles (excluding the abysmal PC version, naturally), and with the release date for both games edging near, fans are drooling over the possibilities, tweaks, and adjustments both games have made to try and win the fans over.
So, without further ado, it's time for the second iteration of "FIFA vs. PES." In the upcoming slides, we will examine the added features and promises made by both EA and their arch nemesis Konami.
Note: The writer of this article is in no way responsible for the promises made by the game designers and whether or not they are actually realized. If both games suck, take it to the EA/Konami forums.
Rooney is a bully, Berbatov is lazy, and Robin van Persie is injured. EA promises to successfully imitate the personalities of the players on the pitch in a way never seen before in a sports video game.
While indeed, this might sound like a revolutionary concept, it's safe to say that EA didn't build the personality of each player from the ground up. That would take an eternity. But rather, they created a new "Traits system" of sorts, where each player's traits are assigned to him (ex: Rooney would have an increased aggression and hard-working traits, while van Persie would have the injury prone and technical traits assigned to him), all of which can be assigned with flexibility in mind to make the players closer to their real life counterparts. That way, while Rooney has aggression added to his personality, van Bommel's aggression is on a much higher scale.
While it remains to be seen what impact Personality+ will have on the overall game, it would be a nice touch to put the Personality+ feature in the cut scenes in the middle of the game (ex: Rooney gets mad all the time whenever the referee calls offside). This feature, however, is not mandatory.
Ever since the PS3 era began, PES didn't have much going for it, losing to FIFA three years in a row. The game barely has enough licensed teams, only three fully licensed leagues and limited tricks, flicks, and skills.
PES 2008 had a non-existent defensive system, and 2009 was worse. It had too many glitches and referees that were worse than Howard Webb, giving red cards on perfect tackles. 2010 was slow, clunky, and didn't have enough oomph to it's punch. Konami needed to make some drastic changes if they planned to get near FIFA's sales and profits. And change they did.
Konami has blatantly copied EA Sports' FIFA, and took the famous skills and tricks in FIFA and implemented them in the new PES 2011. The passing system and player's dribbling appears to be enhanced as well, with the game developers finally understanding the importance of 360 degrees in football video games.
While copying EA won't help them overhaul the FIFA franchise anytime soon, it's safe to say that Konami has finally understood why FIFA is the number one football game in the market, and can enhance the overall product with such a strategy.
This image is a love letter to all Arsenal fans. Finally, the majority of the Arsenal squad looks realistic in every sense of the word. Bendtner looks lost, Almunia looks dumb, Song looks cool, and Vermaelen looks scary.
The majority of the players in FIFA 10 were all FON™ (Freaks Of Nature), and only the famous players (and fan favorites in certain leagues) resembled their real life counterparts. The hardcore FIFA veterans were not willing to play with FONs™ and add them to their roster, resulting in few players the hardcore crowd would consider buying in manager mode.
While it is indeed lamentable that it took EA Sports until the year 2010 to make the players look realistic, they finally did it in the end.
However, it is not known how many players will resemble their real life counterparts. While Arsenal, Barcelona, and the biggest teams in Europe will all have a realistic looking roster, fans will want to see the lesser teams have realistic looking players as well, especially in teams such as Dortmund in the Bundesliga and Ajax in the Eredevise.
Note: FON™ is a registered trademark that belongs to Awesome Eldin™.
It is hard to believe that in this day and age, PES would have any advantage whatsoever over FIFA when it comes to license, but indeed this seems to be the case.
PES has the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and UEFA Super Cup fully licensed. While those aren't at all considered an advantage, seeing how they're just for show, and with FIFA's create a tournament able to resemble the CL to some degree, this was not the powerful advantage as Konami would have hoped. Especially after last year's CL finalist Bayern Munich wasn't featured in PES 2010.
But at the end of the PES 2011 trailer at E3 2010, Konami proudly showed the ace up its sleeve to all the audience on the show floor: The Copa Santander Libertadores.
While indeed the presentation of the tournament will be no different than the Champions League, PES has more South American clubs than any football game before it.
Konami, with brilliance, has breached an unprecedented market. The South American continent will no doubt await the imminent arrival of PES 2011, and will no doubt play it far more than FIFA 11.
And while FIFA 11 has the Brazilian league fully licensed, PES has the biggest clubs in the continent. They have teams from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and many more countries, which can only enhance PES' chances of surpassing FIFA in South America.
Finally the poor, poor PC owners can look forward to the greatest game of football available on their PCs.
Some fans have paid a mini fortune to build a super computer that can play games with the highest graphics known to man, a kick ass surround sound system, and do it all in glorious 3D, only to get screwed by the fact that EA have made a joke of a football game on the PC that requires a pathetic 128MB graphics card to work.
This, coupled with the fact that the manager mode is the exact same one from FIFA 2007 on the XBOX (the old XBOX) has made PC owners feel royally screwed. Needless to say, the majority of the PC owners started losing faith in EA Sports, especially when Konami released the exact same PES game that was available on the PS3 and XBOX 360.
Thankfully though, EA has announced that FIFA 11 on the PC will be the exact same version available on the HD consoles.
The Wii version however, still sucks more than the anticlimactic ending of a Captain Tsubasa finale (what do you mean both teams win the cup?! That is impossible!).
Now, when the game hits shelves worldwide, PC owners will yet again ignore the original copy completely and download the game online illegally (you know yourselves). But for those who buy the original, they'll have the online experience they've been craving—all 20 of them.
The feature every PES fan has been begging for (literally), PES 2011 gives you the pleasure of building your own dream team and squaring off against friends and their own dream team online.
This new feature will no doubt please every PES fan, and will entice the FIFA fans to at least check out Konami's latest entry in the PES franchise.
The one issue that will raise concerns, however, is the weak defensive system that Konami hasn't patched up until today. When playing against a computer AI, it usually frustrates, but when playing against another player online, defensive errors will drive people mad no matter who they have on their team. Konami needs to create a defensive game engine that rivals that of EA Sports' FIFA if they are to regain the number one spot again.
In the past couple of years, EA Canada has been focusing on the game play more than anything else. You don't need scrutiny to realize that the menus are almost identical to that of FIFA 2009 and 2008, but also the manager mode in FIFA 2008 and 2009 are the exact same product.
FIFA 2010 had an even worse manager mode, with no control over the players' improvements, and the infamous player wages issue (you need to pay Ronaldo over 500,000 a week to play for your team! Not cool), and the fact that it's near impossible to sign a player from a rival team (you need to offer John Terry 2,200,000 a week to join your team—interesting).
FIFA 11 appears to have a completely revamped manager mode, new stylized menus, and some creative new features such as "be a goalkeeper" and the long awaited arrival of the "create a team" feature. FIFA 11 has enough momentum to retain the throne yet again, but will probably face a difficult challenge, thanks to the PES team increasing the game's speed, build up play, and copying some of FIFA's main assets.
For the past three years, Seabass and his team stated that they have built their new PES game from scratch, and that the game will win the fans over. Every year their games were found wanting, but it may finally be Konami's year in terms of key improvements.
While the game doesn't look much different from a graphical standpoint, the gameplay trailers have shown that if Konami can deliver a final product that fulfills the promise shown in the trailer, then PES might finally have found their way back in the competition.
The new defensive engine is the one feature fans will hope to see revamped more than anything else, seeing how the old system was one of the main culprits in PES' fall in recent years.
With some really interesting new features, most notably the online Master League mode, a skill engine resembling FIFA's, and the new South American clubs, PES 2011 might actually be able to rival FIFA 11 in terms of sales and critical acclaim.
Football fans everywhere will be hoping that both games reach their full potential and deliver the final product that they've promised to deliver. Both FIFA 10 and PES 2010 fell short in that department. FIFA 10s manager mode was disappointing to say the least, while PES 2010 was one of the slowest football games in recent memory.
Despite the shortcomings from last year's games, FIFA 11 and PES 2011 (especially the former) seem to have huge potential. Fans of both games will hope that the final product will be worth the asking price.
Whichever game proves superior when compared to its rival, it's safe to say that as long as both games deliver, everyone's a winner.