September 24, 2010

The Great Divide: EA's FIFA versus Pro Evolution Soccer

I've still very much jetlagged as it's the wee hours of the morning and I couldn't sleep. So it's about that time of year that I usually dig up the new videos and trailers of this season's renditions of soccer simulation. Oh the considerations.

First, I give you EA's FIFA 11.

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And now, Konami's PES11

Now I'm not here to hash out the war between FIFA and PES as that's a dead beaten horse that many have already been on about for quite some time.

But I would like to say that for the past decade+ I've been mindlessly shelling out money every year for EA's new FIFA version, usually about this time of year. It's almost scary how zombified I've become, to the point where I'm starting not to realize just how bland the new FIFA games have become.

I've been playing the FIFA games way back since it was just a wee little FIFA 96. Back then you had to play it on the computer to get virtual graphics, but back then there was also the legendary indoor mode. But anyways, in those days technology advanced so much that every year seemed to be a huge leap in improvement over the last, whether it was graphics, gameplay, or stadium and shirt packs.

These days, it feels like each new version of EA's FIFA is a more watered-down version of the last. This year's biggest improvement in FIFA? Something called "personality".

It seems like EA is trying to continue building on the same gameplay engine they've had for the past 200 years by adding smaller and smaller tweaks, in an attempt to perfect it. Maybe this will be the one tweak that finally makes the game playable. Probably not.

My only thing is that in my dabbling with demo's of PES in the past, it's just that PES is so much more playable. I know it's the same old FIFA-simulation, PES-arcade yadda yadda, but even with the way that FIFA is developed, a lot of times it just doesn't even properly simulate basic things like, well, playability. And Konami's downfall every year has been that it just has never been able to match up to FIFA's visual beauty.

The first thing I noticed straight away in the PES trailer was the detail of the players' boots. PES has finally matured into a good looking game.

It's like Konami gave birth to a daughter who was a late bloomer, one who was smart, quick, funny and agile, but just wasn't much of a looker. While FIFA on the other hand is a lot like the vacant and empty pretty face who always looks better and better every year, but just has something awkward about her internal gears that makes her look funny when she runs.

Either way, that's a horrible analogy. But I can't help but feel like I've been married to the wrong woman my whole life. And now that PES looks just as good and it plays, this might be the year that my (oh so hard earned) money courts a different maker. Even if I don't end up buying PES, at least this year I thought it about even more.

In the end, it's all just for one year anyways before we spend another $60 on next year's game. In the meantime, I'll be looking forward to the promising new Football Manager 2011