There’s really nothing like having complete control of a ball at your feet. The way it moves with the slightest touch, or beautifully curves in the air after a sweetly powered shot. The ball ripples the net as the stadium erupts in a wave of celebration, your teammates rushing towards you in a state of jubilation. At its highest point, this is what the beautiful game feels like, and it’s the reason Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 gets so much right.

PES as a franchise made massive strides forward with their annual instalment last year, but it’s PES 2016 that has established a standard that even EA’s FIFA is struggling to hit. And it’s difficult to really figure out why. For the first time in a long time, PES 2016 manages to get the fundamental feeling of football right, but without sticking to the letter when it comes to authenticity. It’s fast, more fluid and on rare occasions wildly ridiculous, but it never ceases to be fun.

Pro Evolution Soccer Review 2016 2

A lot of that fluidity comes with the amount of control you’re given on the ball. With the reliance on Konami’s baked-in physics engine, moving the ball from left to right foot comes with the hold of button, while dashing forward with great strides comes with another. It’s rare not to feel in complete control of what you’re doing, in part thanks to dynamic and expertly implemented animations that provide great feedback on how your selected player is doing.

You can see exactly when he’s not going to make a tackle, or is positioned incorrectly for a powerful shot. Better yet, these can happen at any moment based on tiredness, a changing emotional state during the match and current form. When things do click though, it’s complete bliss. The crunch of a desperate last man sliding tackle, or the unapologetic thud of a ball being smacked for the top right – these are all moments that make up matches in PES 2016. And it’s like crack for any football fan to be a part of.

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Pro Evolution Soccer Review 2016 3

It’s a good thing too that the game around it is somewhat generous, towards a more fun style of football. Referees specifically are pretty lenient when it comes to bone-crunching tackles as long as you get the faintest touch on the ball, and goalkeepers often look like they really could’ve saved some of your more spellbinding shots. That doesn’t mean you’re going to have crawling, injured players all over and score sheets the resemble something more akin to a rugby score, but it does give the game a far more satisfying feeling when actually playing.

That satisfaction doesn’t carry over into the systems that manage everything off the pitch though. PES 2016 features a far more intuitive UI than before, but it’s still a mess of menus that respond sluggishly and look far below par. Getting around tournaments and team selections can often be a chore, which is sad considering the deep options available here. Formations, for example, can be edited so that they dynamically change during a match – taking into account whether you’re attacking or defending.

11

Options files also play a great part in ensuring authenticity is preserved in the still unlicensed PES 2016, although the menu system does make it more work than it should be. Pick up the files online, load them up into the game and I was soon looking at an exact replica of my beloved Chelsea team – in all their poor form, game-losing glory. It’s great that there is a system in place to streamline this process as best as Konami could, but it’s still something that you have to physically do to get full leagues looking normal.

Also, it isn’t available on Xbox One, so that’s bummer too.

Thankfully that doesn’t get in the way of the expected wealth of content PES 2016 has to offer. Modes such as MyClub, Master League and become a Legend all return in their usual spots, each with small enhancements to their established formulas. Master League, for example, has learnt a lot from Football Manager – giving you great control over your club with intuitive tools that map out past and upcoming games, as well as details on your current squad.

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Pro Evolution Soccer Review 2016 5

Online play is also pretty great too, with most of the matches I engaged in going off without any real problems. There’s a little lag here and there, but it never made the difference between me either annihilating my opponent, or the far too frequent opposite. PES 2016 also updates players statics weekly now, to keep the sense of realism going for the next calendar year. I do wish that Konami didn’t feel the need to bombard me with server update messages every time I started the game though.

Running on Konami’s Fox Engine (the same that powers Metal Gear Solid V), it’s no question that PES 2016 looks the part too. Details such as shirt ripples to the blades of grass on the pitch are crisp and jaw dropping, even if character models themselves look like they’re eternally drenched in buckets of sweat. At the very least we know what Neymar would look like if he ever chose to change up his Brazilian sporting career for diving into a real pool instead of a grass one.

Pro Evolution Soccer Review 2016 6

Still, these small problems are essentially throw away when you consider just how much PES 2016 gets right in the most important parts of the game. A football game needs to feel right, and PES 2016 is probably the best example of that on the market right now. It’s fluid, fast and a joy to play – which is really all you can ask for when sitting down to score some scorching goals and make some split second saves.

 

Last Updated: October 5, 2015

Pro Evolution Soccer 16
Summary
PES 2016 trades authenticity for fun in most facets of its design, but it’s a decision that ultimately pays off. What you’ll get is a fast, tightly-designed football experience that isn’t matched yet anywhere else. EA needs to start taking some notes.
8.9
Pro Evolution Soccer 16 was reviewed on PlayStation 4
87 / 100

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff’s a bastard.

  • oVg

    LOL I bet it sells more copies than MGSV 😛

    • VampyreSquirrel

      It’ll probably sell more copies than COD.

      • oVg

        GOOD… FOX ENGINE FTW 🙂

      • HairyEwok

        It’ll sell more copies than Tony Haw… Oh wait.

        • VampyreSquirrel

          Bwahahahaha!

        • oVg

          Now, if they had a man kicking a football while skating on the front cover we are talking

    • TosahZA has summoned me and I demand you keep your own bloody name!

      • oVg

        How is the water in Joburg?

        • Fine actually. If you don’t mind sitting on the shitter for the whole evening. Sticking to drinking beer, which my colleagues are not impressed with. I keep reminding them I just don’t give a shit, fire me if they want! TEHEHE!

  • oVg

    Ill buy this just because its 60fps.

  • SmurFyZA

    FIFA>PES – Vidal, Pirlo and Tevez dont even play for Juventus anymore. So either the game launches outdated or those are really old screenshots.

  • Mark

    I just can’t get into the game. The whole presentation is amateurish in the extreme. On fifa I only play career mode. Online play is full of too many cheats and weirdos. Fifa career mode is an immersive realistic experience that is a pleasure to play.
    By contrast pes offers something much less than this level of reality.
    Pes appears to be a game that is best played in a series of one off games. I find this pointless and meaningless.
    The graphics on the pes 16 demo on ps4 were way below fifa demo. I’ve seen some game play videos and they still look poor. Crowd animations are worthy of the ps4.
    Fifa provides a complete footballing experience but pes just gives a snapshot. If you want highlights then pes maybe for you. But if you want premium live coverage then fifa is the only game in town. Pes is a game for kids who want a quick fix but fifa is for the adults who can cope with a complete game and who have the patience to develop their management and on field skills.

    • Sybawoods

      Completely disagree. Have both. PES by a country mile. FIFA has the licenses and the looks, but PES has the gameplay and the deep simulation features. A little tweak in formation or tactics makes all the difference in PES, whereas with FIFA, it feels like the same game no matter what you do. Can’t help but feel that FIFA is scripted / designed to get you to the goalposts ASAP to score goals. In PES, it’s all about the build-up and mid-field battles. A 0-0 draw can turn out to be the most satisfying experience. Where it matters – gameplay – is where PES has the edge. A (perhaps horrible) analogy is that FIFA is the superficial one-night-stand. The quick pick-up-and-play when your mates come over. If it’s a deep, long-lasting and meaningful relationship you’re after – PES is your thing. I’m the deep, long-lasting type, so PES it is 🙂 .

      For me, it depends on what people understand by “realism”. For many, seeing the real player names, kits, badges, etc = realism. For others (me included), realism means whether the game faithfully replicates the “feel” of a football match. It’s the latter that gives PES the edge in my opinion.

      Another good analogy would be a racing sim. For many, titles like Need for Speed, which have the licenses to replicate the names and looks of real world cars, equates to it somehow being “realistic”. Forget that the physics is completely canned and makes no sense whatsoever. Other racing titles may not have had all the licenses and marketing muscle that EA has, but have consistently produced a better simulation of real-world car physics (cue games like rFactor 1 and 2).

      PES has always been about game-play and feel. A 0-0 draw can turn out to be the most satisfying experience, while FIFA does everything in it’s power to get you to the goal-posts as quickly as possible. PES is about build-ups, mid-field battles and the right combination of tactics and formations to outwit your opponents. No matter what formation tweaks and tactics you make in FIFA, you appear to be playing the same game.

      I have both titles. Always have. When my non-gamer mates come over FIFA is the quick pick-up-and-play. They see their real world teams, hear the crowd chants, the rosters, and for them, it’s a “simulation”. But once you start peeling the onion, there’s no real depth or layers of ridiculous gameplay, like their is with PES. There is so many ways to score, to set up your team, and it captures the dynamics and fluidity in a way that FIFA tries to make up for with “bling”.

      It’s the superficial one-night-stand that looks pretty in the dark with all the make-up (FIFA) versus the deep, authentic meaningful relationship where you keep coming back for more and discovering new things everyday (PES). No contest, really .

      At least with PES you can always fix the “looks” issue with the comprehensive editing mode. There’s no way to fix missing game-play though, and that’s what FIFA lacks.

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  • Guild

    Haven’t played a soccer game since FIFA 09. Thinking its time to buy one again but which one…..FIFA or PES?

    • jim marriot

      Just read the review by Sybawoods right above your comment. Or the main review artcile for that matter. You like football (soccer)? Get PES 2016. You think football is “kinda neat”…get Fifa. 🙂

  • This is one of the best sport game.
    You Can Download Full & Free PES 2106 at .
    http://allgames4.me/pro-evolution-soccer-2016-free-download/

  • nawfal

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