PES6/Winning Eleven 2007 Vs. FIFA 07


31 January 2004
I've been a PES player ever since PES3. Before someone introduced me to it I was a very convinced FIFA player... ever since that change occurred I haven't looked back. So it was a nice thing going back to the FIFA series after about 4 years in order to do this as an experiment.

This whole thing started because I got pissed off at the fact that Winning Eleven 2007 was exactly the same as PES6, no changes whatsoever (except for the PUMA license thing). I've got pissed off at the lack of a serious online playing experience, at the lack of imprement in graphics and sounds, and what I thought was a lack of serious improvement in each of the installements of the PES/Winning Eleven series every subsequent year. I had heard lots of very good things about FIFA 07, especially the fact that many people thought that the gameplay hd been made much better this time around, making it closer to what us PES players are accustomed to.

So, I ended up renting FIFA 07 just to see if I would like it, even though in almost every review of the two games the reviewers said PES was still better than FIFA. I wanted to see what it was that people meant when they said graphics, sounds, and general presentation were better on FIFA. Fair enough, when I received my copy of FIFA 07 I was very impressed at the way the game presented itself... lots of pictures of footballers, fans, and -by doing that- creating an aura of the general excitement that football as a sport conveys (it's not just the match itself, it's the whole world of football that makes us be huge fans of the beautiful game). I loved the fact that music was much nicer than the general music in the PES series, and that it better conveyed the fact that the pop culture world is very entangled with the world of football.

My first dissapointment, though, came in the menu navigation. I ended up not knowing where I was at first and going back and forth in menus did not help my experience with FIFA. It was frustrating. I never liked the menu system in PES, but it does work out better than in FIFA, or at least it's a lot simpler...

After I found my way around the menu system (and a few serious ocassions of lag, mainly because I entered the online menus without being connected to the internet), I entered the match section of the game... choose a team... WOW! WOW! WOOOOOOWWW!!!! I was presented with a myriad of teams, leagues, stadia, etc. THIS was impressive!!!! After so many years of unlicensed kits and leagues on PES (even if I download option files with everything corrected as everyone in this forum) THIS was awesome. For a while I thought this would make a difference... and it did! I was thinking about those fans of teams such as Birmingham, or Crystal Palace, Wolverhampton, Almeria, etc. who could really play with the teams THEY love and not just with the usual first league teams of England, France, Germany, Italy, or the Netherlands.

I chose a match between Manchester United (the team I support) against Juventus (a team I like very much). The first thing I did was go to the team settings menu. Here, it was another dissapointment. In PES we're used to be able to modify absolutely everything about the team, from where the players should run, to the positions where the players start off. In FIFA you can only define who's on the pitch (make substitutions that is), and what formation standard you want (4-4-2, 3-5-2, etc.) but you can't change the actual positions of the players... for instance, I wanted Carrick to be a little closer to the defenders than Scholes and Saha to be closer to the opposing goal than Rooney. NEIN! it can't be done in FIFA. Nor you can choose if you're going to use the offside trap often or if the defenders are going to participate in attacking. NOTHING AT ALL!! But the worst of it is that PLAYERS DO NOT HAVE STATS AT ALL!!!! They just have overall stats (Rooney is 89, Ferdinand 88, J.S. Park 78), which doesn't offer any player any flexibility at all!! And it basically makes all the players on the pitch the same. But I wasn't convinced about this until I started playing the game.

The match started beautifully. The lighting of the stadium was awesome (it looked like they were playing whilst the sun was setting at Old Trafford), lots of really cool looking shadows for the players, the turf was beautiful, it almost looked real. The stadium was awesomely made, with lots of textures, lots of real adboards, etc. The sounds of the crowd were awesome, and it sounded like I was in for a real treat on the commentary (especially since the commentaries in ALL languages are crap in PES). The match started, the controls were suprisingly VERY close to those of PES, even pressing the square button made two people run to mark the man with the ball. The gameplay so far had impressed me. Long passes worked beautifully, so did normal passes and shooting. The gameplay was very good; not as good as PES but it was close. HOWEVER, by the end of the first half the game was 5-0 for Man. Utd (against Juventus mind you). It's not that the game is easy, it's just that scoring is... my third goal was a screamer by Scholes that he shot from the midfield!!!!!!!!! Shooting almost always goes to the goal, and then passes always work because it seems you can't miss them... what I mean is, if you press the pass button you know you will always be passing to someone, you will never miss unless someone blocks the pass. So, it is true what they say when they say the game is scripted. Not much is left to the player himself (or herself), the computer works most of the stuff out, making FIFA a very arcadey game. This means that everything is easy to do, it's fool-proof. I guess this is not a problem itself, but it appeals to different people than PES, where the player works out everything, where passes and shots can be missed, and where everything feels a lot more like real football because doing things take effort and lots of quick thinking. Think about Zidane, having an overview of where the players around him are and to people watching him on the TV seeming that he sees everything in slow motion. That is how the experimented PES player plays a footie match, being aware of everything because it is difficult to score a goal with a good oppossing defending AI. All in all, PES feels a LOT more real. The PES approach might not be fun to many people, but to people who know about football -who play it or watch it at the stadium or on TV- this is a how we prefer to look at a football game, like a real game, more like a simulation than anything.

What bothered me the most though, is that the players on the pitch in FIFA really did not differenciate very much between each other. Everyone almost seems to be the same general player, give and take some more speed here and there. in PES every player is different, and when you switch teams to a team you never play with, you feel the difference. Not in FIFA. My second match was Lyon vs. LA galaxy. Choosing the teams was a treat, being able to choose an MLS team, but after the first half ended I could not really tell the difference between Lyon and my previously chosen Manchester United. Wiltord felt the same as Cristiano Ronaldo, Saha was the exactly same as Fred. This makes, in my opinion at least, the player (ourselves) tired of the game quicker than with PES, where every team is a world of its own, with new things to discover every time.

So much about gameplay and game mechanics. There is a concensus about how PES gameplay is much better than FIFA's anyway. So I move to review the things that people say FIFA excells at... graphics and sounds. The stadiums ARE much better rendered. But the graphics in general were a dissapointment. in closeups you see that PES actually does a much better job at rendering faces and looks that are closer to reality than FIFA does (at least the PS2 version of it). Trezeguet doesn't look very much like his real life counterpart in PES, but in FIFA he looks like a huge monkey with long arms and huge shoulders. Rooney in PES does look pretty real-life like, but in FIFA he looks a lot less detailed than in PES. I really don't know how is it that people say that player likeness in FIFA is better than in PES. Also, another thing I have always admired about PES is the way players move on the pitch, their animations that is. FIFA and PES are very close in this, but still I think PES is a lot more real . Why? Because the way players move changes between players in PES, in FIFA they don't... all players move the same. in PES Cristiano Ronaldo has a very distinctive way of moving, running, and stopping when faced with an adversary. In FIFA Cristiano Ronaldo moves EXACTLY the same as Rio Ferdinand... is that not a let down?? ANother thing is the uniforms. The texture used on PES seems more detailed than those in FIFA. I really don't have much to base this commentary on, other than the fact that the uniforms in FIFA sometimes look twisted, or just unpolished.

Soundwise though FIFA wins hands down. The roar of the crowds is amazing, and there are small details that are very pleasant. FOr instance, when a single player has kept the ball for a long time without passing, or if a team remains on its half of the pitch for too long, the crowd whistles and seems to be uncomfortable with the way the game is going. This is not the case in PES where sounds are a lot more generalised. Also, the crowds actually chant!!! I loved this because it gives the game a great deal of atmosphere. The commentaries were another story though. I always hear about how FIFA comments are much better than PES, but this is debatable, at least to me, because comments in PES are very scripted and boring, whereas in FIFA they're not good either, but at least the commentator changes his tone of voice a lot, which means that it sounds more real-like. Mind you, the comments themselves are not good, it's basically the commentator telling us who has got the ball on their feet, but at least they're not as bad as the ones in PES, where they are irritably scripted.

All in all... I can see why FIFA has a great deal of success in certain markets and with certain people. Making an analogy with other games I think FIFA is to Ridge Racer, where PES is to Gran Turismo for racing games. FIFA can be more fun for the casual gamer, and looking at the amount of teams it offers, the great presentation, and these things that you notice right off the bat can be very luring to someone who is not very experienced in fooball. I can see how FIFA can be a lot more popular in places like the United States, but in places like Spain, England, or Italy PES is an undisputted king. In my opinion, if the PES series presented themselves as well as FIFA does, putting more emphasis on things other than players themselves (more emphasis on the emotions of football, or the fans for instance), and if it had more licensed teams (being able to play with Brasilian teams, or even U.S. teams is just awesome... and let's not forget second division european teams!!!) the PES experience would be complete and 100% satisfactory, at least to this reviewer.

After having compared FIFA and PES, I can say I appreciate PES a lot better now. I realise that it does have the best graphics in a football game, and that the gameplay matters more than anything else in a football game (and that gameplay wise PES does an awesome job, even if we always complaint about how little Konami improves each year...). As a closing comment I will go back to the racing game analogy. PES6 and the Winning Eleven series are like a Gran Turismo with lots of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Jaguars, Porsches, and very expensive cars but without Toyotas, Fords, BMWs, Volkswagens, etc. The game does capture the essence of the sport, but it lacks that sense of reality that opening the offerings to much "normal and accessible" cars (or teams) would give. I understand that the great majority of the world support the great teams of the Premiership, La Liga, Serie A, etc. but we would all love to see our own local or smaller teams. Also, it would help if there would actually be a Champions League, or a World Cup in PES. The level of reality would be enhanced and the game would give the player that which the PES series seems to be working towards to: giving the player an experience of what on and off pitch football is like.
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