The Digital El Clásico: FIFA 17 vs. PES 17

The Footballing world has several great rivalries from Barcelona and Real Madrid to Manchester United and Liverpool, in the gaming world however there is only one: The FIFA series vs. Pro Evolution Soccer (PES). Like a real football rivalry each game has a loyal set of fans who will hear nothing against their chosen game. Kotaku even described the games as being similar to Batman and the Joker as you can’t talk about one without mentioning the other.

Thus, we will look back over the history of the two games and how the latest versions shape up against each other.

Pro Evolution Soccer is a Japanese game that started out as World Soccer Winning Eleven in 1995. The game quickly developed until it became ISS Pro on the PS1. It became famous over the years for its realistic game simulation and infamous for its lack of official licenses (Barcelona was called Cataluna on PES 2 and 3). After a successful run on the PS1 & 2 Gamespot wrote that PES 2008 on the PS3 suffered countless troubles which in turn gave the FIFA series a boost.

The FIFA series started around the same as PES in 1993 with FIFA International Soccer and was made as a tie-in to the 1994 World Cup. The game became known for its official licences and in four years after a World Cup tie-in brought it into existence, a second World Cup tie-in (1998) would make it famous across the globe. As each game progressed the amount of teams and leagues players could use increased. The game was also popular with professional footballers and becoming the cover athlete became one of the most highly sort after sponsorships. FIFA 16 became the first football game to include women’s teams, with the inclusion of 12 national teams, according to The Guardian.

The two latest versions of both game franchises, FIFA 17 and PES 17, have been released and once again opinion is divided over which is best. Popular football magazine Four Four Two played both games and compared the differences between the two. The latest FIFA now includes the managers for all Premier League sides and players can now move up and down the touchline for throw-ins making the look of the matches even more realistic. The reviewer also picked up that FIFA had added a level of physicality to the game. For PES, the game mechanics were even tighter than the previous games while being more user-friendly. The reviewer also pointed out that both games looked great with FIFA using Battlefield’s Frostbite engine to make the games almost lifelike.









The biggest difference between the two games this year is the single player mode. In past years the main draw of both games was player vs. player or online matches. This year is different with Digital Spy reporting that FIFA 17 features a new single player mode called The Journey where players follow one footballer on a journey from Sunday league to the Premiership. The website does concede that while FIFA is more entertaining with its single player mode, PES is much better in terms of gameplay.

While consoles have dominated the football gaming market other entertainment platforms have used the sport in their own way, too. Tech Radar made a list of the ten best football games and while both FIFA and PES were on the list there were also some more interesting choices. One such game was Rocket League, which combines cars and football with the site calling it a refresher from the serious nature of FIFA and PES. Mixing football with other genres is very common within the gaming community. Pocket Fruity which regularly mixes different genres in their games created their own version of the Euros 2016 for football fans. Like Rocket League it combines two niches to give football fans something different.

Who will win the digital El Clásico this year? FIFA 17 is already ahead selling 40 times more than PES 17, according to the Metro. However PES’s fans are very loyal and will defend their game, like their team, to the end as the superior product.