There seems to be a cliché forming when it comes to early opinions of Konami’s football series: ‘It’s the year of PES’. Wrong. Contrary to what you’ve heard this year and the last, PES is not ‘back’. It doesn’t recapture past glories, and likely never will. Instead, it pushes into brave new territory.

This is Pes’ new-gen debut, powered by Kojima Productions’ sumptuous Fox engine. It does football better than it has in many a long year (and console generation), the whole silly circus rendered in spectacular detail.


Stadiums heave, foreheads glisten, shirts wrinkle and shorts muddy. courtesy of Pes ID, the world’s top players skew scarily close to their real-life counterparts. Gareth bale makes his signature heart sign after scoring and messi’s fond of superhuman jinkiness. It looks like a simulation, and it plays like one too.

Pes has been getting more sim-like with each instalment, arguably leaning too far in that direction last year, so 2015 smartly drags it back a touch, shortening animations to give you more control.

Creation theory

Dribbling is better, too. It’s not skills this year that’ll beat men, but sudden body shifts and rapid bursts of pace. As a balancing gesture, there are fewer players who excel at it. You won’t see John Terry dribble round players on TV, and you won’t see it here.

On the flip side, tackling is better. This was one of Pes’ worst aspects, boxy players jostling as if surrounded by force fields. Now, with a double-tap of the tackle button, they commit to a lunge. It’s a more binary system to FIFA’s dynamic argy-bargy, but it at least has observable rules.

The full game promises weekly live updates that revise team stats depending on real world performances across the english, French, Italian, Spanish and brazilian leagues; an editing suite for customising players, managers and stadiums; and the addition of second tier leagues from england, Spain, Italy and France. While the sun has  sadly set on those Winning eleven glory days, Pes 2015’s first new-gen outing represents a new dawn.
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PES Vs FIFA