Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 - Critique
The developments in PES are such that I cannot emphasize one single change that would make all the difference. Indeed, this title has been refined and each of the changes brings a positive effect that is added to the others. This year, PES got rid of the last remnants of stiffness from the PS2 era and delivered a faster, more responsive and smoother football game. I'm always a bit reluctant when it comes to direct comparisons to FIFA - even more so when I've only played the demo version of EA's sports game - because the two games work drastically different. . FIFA really manages to recreate the allure of the sport in question more precisely, while PES is the title which brings, ultimately, the most sensations.
First of all, the physics are much better this year. This is evident when players are scrambling for possession of the ball. Before, the result was often binary, success or failure, but now it is not so predictable. Context is very important. Indeed, everything depends on a number of factors which take into account the talent of the players concerned and their position in relation to the ball and to their opponent. A successful and properly executed tackle is particularly pleasant, especially since if successful it shows how well you can read your opponent's play and anticipate the action. Moreover, the referees are more tolerant than in real life: you can rush violently towards an opponent, get rid of him while recovering the ball and that will not necessarily be considered a fault. Similarly, if you press X repeatedly while running alongside an opponent with the goal of attempting an instant tackle instead of waiting for the right moment to intervene, then you will have to concede a free kick. .
The attacking game has also been changed. This is where you'll first see Konami's efforts to make players unique. Anyone with a low center of gravity - like Alexis Sanchez, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Arguero - is a pleasure to control, as these players have enough balance to avoid duels, sometimes stumbling when embarrassed, but they do. still struggle to stay upright.
There is an obvious difference between these players and someone like Raheem Sterling who possesses the speed of a greyhound, but whose thinner build makes him much more vulnerable in a duel. You can get a free kick every now and then if you're cunning, but if you're going to use his speed, you're better off making deep passes that he'll catch easily while sprinting. Shots are also context dependent, and the type of shot varies from player to player (Tevez in particular has a cannon instead of the right foot). It is also a treat to fire a missile which bounces at ground level, passes under the keeper and makes the nets tremble despite too much pressure on the button. About the goalkeepers, they are more alert and responsive now, rushing along the goal to repel the shots that skim the ground and get up immediately to throw themselves on the ball they have just pushed back.
The idea of making each player truly unique doesn't stop with the biggest stars, far from it. As a Manchester City fan, I was naturally drawn to this team for my first matches. I expected Yaya Toure to be hard to stop as he galloped towards defenders and a typical David Silva through pass to be a move of measured perfection. But I was delighted to see that Pablo Zabaleta's tenacity is perfectly exemplified, while the runs to the left of Aleksandar Kolarov inevitably lead to a cross pass, all at high speed. It works both ways, of course: Vincent Kompany might be imperial in the air, but his tendency to leap to try and win the ball quickly can be exploited with some clever tactics. One of my opponents knew how to use this to his advantage by regularly finding holes in my defense until I applied changes to tighten it up. Like in last year's game some players are really overpowered. But it is also the case in real life: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are almost untouchable, and it is up to you to find a way to manage them, whether it is thanks to double marking, to well-anticipated interceptions, or even by means of tactical mistakes.
The consequence of this is that the management of the game is more crucial than ever. Substitutions and formation changes can make all the difference in a close fight. Bringing in a difficult winger in the last 15 minutes in the face of a tired defense, for example, can be very effective. On an occasion like this, I brought in Franck Ribery to torment the defense of Borussia Dortmund: during the minutes that followed, a red card and a goal (against without a side) changed the outcome of the match.
The movement of your teammates, meanwhile, is sensational. If you have a line of defense that likes to move forward, you will often see defenders approaching the sideline in front of your wingers making calls to receive the ball. Lose the ball in this situation and you will find yourself very exposed. You can master them by tinkering with tactics a bit, although it's not always wise to ignore a player's strengths when you can adjust your formation.
There is never a need to remember elaborate button combinations to accomplish your goals. PES simplifies everything in subtle ways, without ever making you feel like you're not in control. Sometimes you will use quick movements and strides to find an opponent; sometimes you just need a sudden change of pace to open the game. There is a bit of automation and yet it's perfectly calibrated: you might not be directly responsible for the tiny leap that allows you to win the game. duel in a last ditch effort, but you'll feel like it was your own mastery that got you here in the first place. One step closer to the defender and he would surely have stung you, after all.
Off the pitch, menus are much easier to use with the ability to attach your favorite game types to the home screen while the Masters League has undergone a complete interface overhaul that makes one of the best career modes of the genre even more satisfying. I will not list which licenses are available and which are not, as you can easily find this information elsewhere. Additionally, it's clear that while Konami always tries to get as many as possible, this is one area where FIFA will always have the edge. That said, this year PS4 owners will be able to use option files, and you should soon be able to import precise squad rosters, kits, names, and more.
If Konami has achieved a great chemistry on the pitch, there is still work to be done with the commentators. The exuberant Peter Drudy replaces Jon Champion perfectly, but he does not moderate enough. Suddenly, he shows the same elation and the same joy on all types of goals, spectacular or not. The contrast with the impassive Jim Beglin is also particularly striking.
With the servers now online, I was able to see if the PES 2016 netcode was holding up, and so far, it's very promising. I had several slight slowdowns during parts of it, but oddly it always seemed to happen at unimportant times. It will take some time to acclimatize to online play as the acceleration in game speed and responsiveness of players makes it possible to enjoy competitive matches that are both exciting and close. Don't expect too many draws since I have already won (or lost) games ranging from one to seven goals.
The My Club mode, meanwhile, has benefited from a number of changes that allow the player to be more involved. Indeed, the progression system is more efficient and players will gain additional experience by linking up with their coaches. In addition, if affinities form, you gain an experience bonus. If in its first edition My Club seemed like a half-hearted attempt to attract FUT fans, today it has taken a step forward and could possibly become a really interesting alternative.