Why FIFA Is For Rage Quitters & PES For Connoisseurs
Every month in Play Magazine, we take a hot topic and look at the arguments for and against. The ongoing battle between FIFA and PES is the subject of debate this time. Last week, we’ve had Play’s resident FIFA fan Liam Warr on why FIFA is better than PES. Now we have the response from Play’s Paul Walker-Emig, who argues that PES is the king of football games.
Do you think England are in with a shout of winning the Euros if only Roy Hodgson would call up Harry Kane, or whatever other overrated English player is the current flavour of the month? Do you nod your head while Robbie Savage is talking, wondering why he’s the only one who will tell it like it is, rather than scrambling for the mute button lest the verbal excrement that escapes from his noise hole infect you with chronic idiocy? Do you admire John Terry? If you answered ‘yes’ to those questions, you, my friend, are a moron. Or, in other words, a FIFA fan.
I understand why you think FIFA is better than PES. It’s the same reason you find flashing lights and loud noises more entertaining than books, describe Marvel films as ‘classics’ and think that the Assassin’s Creed games are ‘swag’. It’s because you value style, hype and presentation over substance. Don’t get me wrong, PES 2016 looks great when it comes to player models and animations. But you see FIFA with its official kits and real team names, its Premier League-style presentation, and superior commentary and you assume it must be better. You convince yourself that it’s not all that superficial fluff, the huge advertising campaigns, and the fact that your mates all bought it that persuaded you to plump for FIFA, but the fact that it’s a better game. You’re either kidding yourself, or don’t understand football, because PES is the game for football purists.
It might surprise you to hear that I by no means think FIFA is a bad game. I just don’t think it’s a great representation of the sport that I love. As I’ve said before in this mag, FIFA’s idea of football is one that’s drawn from a Sky Sports hype package for a Super Sunday clash. It wants every match to be a breakneck paced end-to-end thrill-fest with high scores and spectacular moments from superstar players. In chasing that goal, FIFA sacrifices too much. Take the midfield as an example. In contrast to the real game (by which I mean the sport that’s played on real pitches every Saturday. And PES), where the midfield battle is more often than not the most important factor in deciding a match, FIFA wants to let you transition through it as quickly as possible so that you spend more time in the final third, pulling off stepovers and 25-yard curlers. Not only does that forced McFootball approach to generating excitement quickly get stale, it’s not an accurate representation of the game.
Here’s what makes PES so great: variety. You can have barn-burning, counter-attacking games in PES, but the point is that they emerge naturally and feel special because of that. Then there are those tough-fought affairs where neither team seems able to fashion a chance and a scrappy deflected goal is the decider. Or, those matches where you use a possession game to draw a well-drilled defence out of position to punish them with a good pass. Every game feels different and every goal unique.
With FIFA, the most important thing is to master the game in the way FIFA wants you to, any other approach leading you to feel like you’re fighting against it. PES, on the other hand, rewards creativity, giving you an agency that makes it more satisfying and thrilling than FIFA has ever been. FIFA offers you a its own version of football based on getting the ball up front as quickly as possible and pulling off feats with superstar players. PES is a more team-focused title that makes the sport feel engaging, making every moment important and unique to you. Granted, it doesn’t match up to FIFA when it comes to modes, official kits and so on, but none of that matters when the on-the-pitch action is so superior.
PES is the football game for those that value team play over the obsession with individual superstars. FIFA is the game for people who thought that Pirlo was rubbish because he never did rabonas and didn’t run about very much. PES is the game for football fans that don’t judge a player after one bad game. FIFA is for fans that send players angry tweets littered with spelling mistakes and bad grammar. PES is for players who sit back and think about why they lost a game. FIFA is for fans who throw their controller at the TV in a fit of rage.
PES is the connoisseur’s football game. If you can’t see that, then you’re beyond help. Just look at Mario Balotelli: he likes FIFA and he can’t put on a vest by himself.