FIFA 17 vs Pro Evolution Soccer 2017: Which football game should you buy?
FIFA 17 or Pro Evolution Soccer 2017? Unless you’re very rich, you won’t be wanting to spend £80 on two footballing games, and if you are, you probably won’t have time to play both. That means you have to make a choice. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
The truth is that both games have their strengths and weaknesses, so it’s not as simple as pointing at a box and saying “that one”. So here we go, metric by metric, it’s match day: FIFA 17 vs Pro Evolution Soccer 2017.
FIFA 17 vs Pro Evolution Soccer 2017: Gameplay
Back in the early 2000s, the commonly held view was that FIFA was the arcadey game, but PES was the true football sim. This has blurred over the last decade, with both becoming more realistic, and a lot of it is down to personal preference.
As such, the best approach is to test both demos and make a snap judgement. The beauty of football games is that the demos give you a genuine flavour of what to expect, without being able to show you just the best bits.
But you came here for an answer, so the fairest thing to do is to average out the critics’ opinions. Metacritic currently has Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 on 88 (Xbox One) and 86 (PS4), with FIFA 17 on 86 (Xbox One) and 84 (PS4). This closely matches with what other critics have been saying.
As The Telegraph says, “ PES 2017 offers the best on-pitch action for our money, serving up matches that take on their own narrative and teams that feel like individual units rather than the same bunch with differing stats.” On gameplay, Pro Evolution takes it by a nose.
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FIFA 17 vs Pro Evolution Soccer 2017: Graphics and authenticity
Like a team that suddenly starts clicking when it goes a goal down, FIFA comes back with a bang on this point. There’s no question that the way the players move, and the overall presentation is immaculate in FIFA 17. Players are recognisable from the way they move, and if you squint, it’s like watching real football on the TV – especially as now real matches have EA Sports branding everywhere.
It’s not that Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 is an ugly game – not by a long shot – but it can’t really compete with FIFA. The players’ movement seem a bit more stilted, and the players aren’t as recognisable. On top of that, EA Sports licencing might means it has immaculated drawn kits for hundreds of teams. Unless you’re a fan of Manchester United or Barcelona – two of the teams that Konami has a licence to use – you’ll be looking at the likes of North London Whites instead of Tottenham and West London Blues instead of Chelsea.
There are unofficial patches to fix this, but it’s a bit fiddly, and it’s only really fair to judge what you get out of the box, so FIFA 17 dramatically equalises.
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FIFA 17 vs Pro Evolution Soccer 2017: Career modes
Pro Evolution Soccer has a very addictive single player campaign mode called Master League, with plenty of focus on developing young talent. It’s entertaining, and you may well find yourself still awake at 3am, having promised “one last match” when it was still light outside. It also has “Become a Legend” mode where you take on the role of a single player.
Once again though, EA’s huge FIFA 17 budget makes mincemeat of this decent offering by providing a ridiculous number of game modes. Not only does it have “Career Mode” which is broadly comparable to Master League (only with a lot more management options, and a great deal more polish), but there’s “Be a Pro” mode (where you take on the role of a single player for a career, transferring from club to club) and the new introduction of “The Journey”.
“The Journey” is a genuine story mode for FIFA 17. You take on the role of a single player, and then train and play in the matches. What makes it different from “Be a Pro” mode is that this involves building on relationships with Mass Effect style dialogue choices. Your career will also change depending on performances on the pitch, leaving you a lot more invested in your player’s career in a (very sanitised) look at the life of a aspiring young footballer.
FIFA takes the lead.
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FIFA 17 vs Pro Evolution Soccer 2017: Multiplayer
In many ways, this is the same story as the gameplay. Playing against real people won’t suddenly make FIFA feel like the better game, but on the other hand, it certainly has a lot more variety going for it.
I don’t mean in the style of matches – you still get people massively investing in pacey players in Ultimate Team, making it a sped up version of the single player – but in terms of the raw options. You have standard friendly matches, Seasons mode (where you battle it out against equally skilled players to get promoted or relegated – it works out because it gives you a points target rather than a real league table), Ultimate Team (which combines the addictiveness of computer games with the nostalgic thrill of sticker collecting) and Be a Pro multiplayer, where you can play as one player in a whole team of other players.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 multiplayer, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. While it has a lot of equivalent options going for it, getting a game going can be a challenge, and you’ll often find the tactical tenseness that made the game so good is missing when you end up against the same long-ball tactics Barcelona team you played previously.
FIFA has a version of that problem, but with less teething options in getting a game going, it gets the nod here. It’s another win for FIFA 17.
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FIFA 17 vs Pro Evolution Soccer 2017: Verdict
3-1 to FIFA then. That seems like a pretty comprehensive defeat (unless you play for my five-a-side team, in which case it’s quite the result), but it’s not as simple as that. Take a step back, and you’ll note that Pro Evolution Soccer’s sole win was from gameplay – and isn’t that really where it counts?
FIFA’s wins come from more polish, and more options, which is fine and important, but it probably comes down to asking what kind of football game fan you are. If you’re going to play this every night, then more variety is definitely better. If, on the other hand, you just want to dip in occasionally and enjoy some local coach-based multiplayer with friends, then Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 probably gets the nod.
Again, try the demos and decide for yourself: this is one rivalry that is going to go into extra time.
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