No, I haven’t decided yet. The post title and the picture above (bonus points if you get the reference) refer to my near-certainty, a week ago, that I’d be playing PES2014 by today. Instead, FIFA16 has come along to throw a spanner in the works.
PES2014 was pretty much a lock-in to be my football game of the near future. It has so much going for it. Fully patched, it bears little resemblance to the horror show that repulsed nearly all PES aficionados (me included) some two years ago.
The graphics remain poor by our new standards, and the loading times are atrocious. It takes far too long to get from the view below to actually playing. We are truly spoiled now.
But as every PES fan knows, you can overlook anything if gameplay scratches the PES itch. PES2014 really does do that. (Patched, I should keep saying.)
FIFA16 was always a possibility, but a lesser one. I thought PES2014 should come first.
Last week a semi-regular commenter, stewdog, remarked about how good a time he was having on Be A Pro in FIFA16. Okay, I thought, and fired up my old copy of FIFA15 for a play.
One thought led to another thought, and on Christmas Eve I bought FIFA16 in the PSN January sale (thirty quid: still steep, but what the hell, it’s Christmas).
That’s my existing EA Gameface on the player up there. It looks nothing like me. Peculiar, really, as the last time I used my Gameface (FIFA12?) the resemblance was quite strong. This version bothered me and I ended up changing it back to a generic look.
Before sampling BaP, I played a bit of regular International tournament as England, and really enjoyed it.
I like what FIFA16 seems to be trying to do. Considering I’m playing the digital download version with its multiple patches since launch, this still seems to me to do a few very important good things.
When receiving the ball, with one or two defenders at my back, I found myself often trying to perform silly three-point turns with the ball at my feet and then sprinting off into space. It’s doable, but it’s not so much a guaranteed move that it’s your first instinct. It’s a move so fundamental to PES2016 that it seems shocking not to be ‘allowed’ to do it in FIFA16.
The players often seem clumsy and slow. They have poor first touches sometimes. Contrary to current football-gaming orthodoxy, this is an overwhelmingly GOOD thing.
I don’t want my players to have instant response to input – online players do tend to want that, though, which is where PES2016 went massively wrong.
Where it aggravates many, I think, is when the unresponsiveness happens out of context, or seems overblown. It’s neither in FIFA16.
A brief word for FIFA16’s Passing With Purpose: I like it. It seems to add more tactical dimensions to general play. Individuality — for both passer and receiver — is enhanced with this feature.
I scored three goals in three matches in my fledgling Be A Pro career:
And what of PES2016? I won’t be going back to it now.
I did try to return. I fired up PES2016 and played a few matches on Superstar — really on Superstar this time.
The game felt the same. Too easy, and more than a bit too fluid. PES2016 is an online multiplayer game that solo players can get some enjoyment from too. It is enjoyable, but only up to a point, and I have passed that point. I’ve sucked all the juice out of PES2016. Maybe I’ll be back in the future, who knows? Never say never.
So the choice really now comes down to PES2014 or FIFA16.
At the moment I’m inclining toward the latter.
If I go for FIFA16 I’ve got a new world to explore, and I’ve got all the PS4’s next-gen features to enjoy with it. PES2014 on the PS3 would be a technical step back that I might not be ready for yet. It feels awkward and intrusive to reach for the mobile phone to record a clip or take a screenshot. But something like that won’t stop me playing the footy game I want to play. Even the best FIFA has a habit of being great for a short time, and then not so great.
I really haven’t decided yet. But there are now definitely only two horses in the race.
Another day off for New Year’s Day means that my normal posting schedule will resume next Tuesday, 5th January. When the decision will have been made.
Here’s to 2016. My football gaming wish is for this to be the year when nobody says ‘The King Is Back!’, in any context, ever again.