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Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 (Xbox One) Review

 
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At A Glance...
 

Formats: XBox One, PS4, PC, XBox, PS3
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
8.5
8.5/ 10


User Rating
2 total ratings

 

We Liked?


Incredibly responsive and superbly immersive with improved UI.

Not So Much?


Commentary is weird as ever. The occasional poor AI and control issues.


Final Fiendish Feelings?

Since sporting games began, it’s been a race to develop gameplay that actually works, and this might be the best example so far. Fun and easy to pick up – something for everyone. Except rugby players.

0
Posted October 15, 2015 by

 
Final Fiendish Feelings?
 
 

A

s far as mechanics go, sports games knew what they were supposed to do back in the 1990s. International Superstar Soccer on the SNES let you pass, cross, through-ball and shoot – all that really got in the way was that it never did it successfully. Sports games since then (or at least ones that take themselves seriously) have been trying to make the whole malarkey work properly. And that, in a nutshell, is why PES 16 is probably the best sports game I’ve ever played.

FIFA and PES (Previously ISS) have been competing since I was too young to know the difference between either of them, and in that time they have managed to differentiate themselves quite well. EA Sports’ FIFA being a more realistic version while PES has always been about emersion and the fun of the game. The latest instalment works better than ever with fantastically responsive controls and minor touches that are difficult to elaborate on but make all the difference.

For instance, contesting for a header or even position no longer depends on who got there first, but takes into account many variables – such as player skill and strength – to give a sense of competition for every kick or challenge. Tackling is more user-controlled than ever before – whereas hammering the ‘pressure’ button might eventually yield results in previous games, more control and finesse is required in PES 16 lest you cause a foul or trip over your teammate.

Sliding is more satisfying than it’s ever been requiring you to understand timing and movement, and for new players, tripping over or getting the ball stuck on downed players can generate some amusing Three Stooges routines in multiplayer. Those who haven’t played a footy game in a while might recall clairvoyant goalkeepers with a mystical ability to get in the way of any ball regardless of position or momentum. PES 16 has altered this – it’s now easier to score, but only in the context of the player you’re controlling at the time’s ability to do so.

Without trying to sound too hyperbolic, the attention to detail is better than Henri Rousseau. Players all control differently depending on their size and attributes, and even have player specific strengths and weaknesses accommodated for – which you can utilise on your team or exploit within opponents – making the team management system more important than ever. But not to worry for new players, because while the depth of the experience for veteran players is enveloping, actually playing the game is quite simple, with easy-to-pick-up controls. It says something to the game’s design when almost every time something goes wrong, you know for sure it was your own fault, not the technology (not that it’ll stop the accusations).

Aforementioned veteran gamers/football enthusiasts might be disappointed that the squads haven’t been updated yet, especially if it really bugs you that Čech is playing for Chelsea (although correctly playing at Arsenal during online play). The update should fix this, but not until October 29th. Those same players are the people that will get a kick (pun) out of Career Mode, however. As mentioned the players in PES 16 have individuality, rather than being clones with differing stat figures. Their strengths and weaknesses affect the team as a whole, so a single substitution could require a new strategy in gameplay. Those who know their football will get rewarding enjoyment out of having to be adaptable and strategic as well as good at kicking a ball into a rectangle.

The meticulous detail that Konami have gone into is very impressive but didn’t just involve the gameplay. The motion capture makes all the movements realistic and fluid, even if everyone does look inexplicably greasy. I will say that I was disappointed with occasional moments from the AI. Despite being able to produce perfect through balls and crosses, when the opponent took a short free kick you could just place your player in front of the obviously intended recipient of the ball before the AI passes it and take an easy possession – a cheap technique that I remember using in 1995. Also, since the ball is privy to physics and chaos theory, it does make it difficult to know who has possession during a scuffle. Several attempts to tackle turned into an awkward shot from half way.

I have to lethargically congratulate the audio in doing it’s job. It’s a football game so it only has two functions: being full of unadventurous licensed music and commentators saying barely relevant – and often bizarre – comments on loop. No, where PES 16 excels is it’s ability to draw you in and most importantly, how fun it is. Not being a football fan, I still found myself cheering and booing on local multiplayer, and every goal felt like a work of art. Those of you familiar with MyClub will be very happy with the tweaks made to that too, with rewards for players working well with trainers among others. But what’s going to really going to make this game a success is the ’90 minutes’ on the pitch. It’s just works.

Final Thoughts

PES 16 has attempted to rework the football game mechanics to make the experience more physical and competitive, and despite the odd confused mistake have come up with an impressive and enjoyable game. To say that it contains the variety of names like the Arkham series or even previous generation games like Spec Ops The Line would be folly, because it’s a football game. But Konami went the extra mile to make every bounce of the ball and every player jostle felt by the user; a immersive, fun and intensely satisfying addition to the genre that dares the next generation of sports games to do better. Good luck, FIFA 17.

The product under review was provided by the creator, manufacturer, publisher or their PR representative free of charge and without caveat. Please see our site review policy for more information.

Family Fiends Findings?

 This is a soccer simulation game in which players control soccer teams from international leagues. Players can compete in a variety of modes (e.g., Training, UEFA Champions League, Master League) and improve their skills through practice shootouts and drills.

  • Rated E for Everyone by the ESRB & 3 by PEGI
  • Online play is featured so beware of obtrusive and offensive interactions from other players

Fin Carew