FIFA or PES: Which Is The Best Game?

It's time to settle this matter once and for all and see whether PES or FIFA is the better football game.

By Daavpuke, Posted 15 Apr 2014

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup starting in June, football madness is slowly creeping in around the globe. There will certainly be a mass of people trying to reenact the event, as well as alternate versions of it, on their favorite sports franchise. Some may opt for the special release of 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, which centers itself on the tournament, but a large group will also just stick to their known titles. Primarily, camps of fans exist between releases from either Konami or EA.

I was “blessed” with reviewing both Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 2014 and FIFA 14 this year. Previous years were only dedicated to the PES series; EA sort of dropped that one on us, which makes for a great perspective. So, in the spirit of the grandiose championship, perhaps it’s a good idea to see which of the two really is the ultimate football game. Just like with Battlefield and Call of Duty, fans of the series are usually extremely defensive and divided when it comes to their competitors, so let us be the Solomon judgment as an impartial bystander.

PES or FIFA: which is really the better game? Let’s find out.

FIFA 14,PES 2014,Opinion,Football,Sports,EA Sports,Konami


Purely based on an arbitrary score, without further context, FIFA 14 is undeniably the best game. This is thanks to a few elements in EA’s franchise that stand out. First off, this release has amazing production values, given that EA is just a lot more powerful than Konami. Animations are top-notch and its ingenious physics engine works in tandem with visuals for one immersive whole. It’s also equally pleasing to watch FIFA 14 as it is easy to get into it. With less complex inputs, like arcade controls, gameplay benefits from a low entry point and rises up with enough versatile options to satisfy high-ranking players as well and that with tons of content. There are a dozen ways to enjoy this football game.

Its golden goose is the FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) mode. In this section, players collect team members on and off the pitch like a Pokémon model and bond them together like The Sims. With a monetized transfer market behind it, EA also successfully employs free-to-play transactions for extra profit. It’s both the most personally engaging mode for players to create their own power team as it is EA’s most devious trick. FUT is only held down by requiring a mandatory online connection.

FIFA 14,PES 2014,Opinion,Football,Sports,EA Sports,Konami

Pro Evolution Soccer 2014

While this year had to yield points to a slow release, Konami’s franchise is usually up there with its competition in score. Still, PES 2014 isn’t the game for everyone like its peer is. This game doesn’t pander to audiences, instead opting for a solid simulation approach. Artificial intelligence (AI) is brutally demanding when it comes to overtaking defenses and letting any error slip is harshly punished as well. This AI is intelligent and doesn’t hold back. That’s also what makes PES 2014 oh so rewarding. Any victory taken from the clutches of this monster is one that’s been paid for in sweat. This year’s iteration makes use of the powerful Fox Engine, which amplifies the game’s realism even more. There’s a lot more activity going on, which makes the pitch feel alive.

For years now, the series sticks to putting players in the central element of success with either Master League or Become a Legend. In the former, an entire squad’s faith rests with the player’s sound vision, while the latter puts this in the perspective of one budding star on the field itself. Both are a more intimate touch to succeeding within the gauntlet that is its challenge rating.

FIFA 14,PES 2014,Opinion,Football,Sports,EA Sports,Konami

A Brief History Lesson

That’s the basic rundown for both titles as they are now. Yet, while both series are now engrained into our digital sports culture, their dynamics haven’t always been the same. When it first started, FIFA was a minor game. It steadily grew out its arcade style until one notable occurrence in the gaming industry in 2001: Pro Evolution Soccer’s release.

When the PES series evolved from International Superstar Soccer, Konami renewed the football model with extremely realistic gameplay. Its success astonished the world, which rapidly grew with the following iterations. It’s the reason why the series is as popular as it is today. It was leagues ahead of anything else on the market with an elevated challenge based on precise handling and tactical decisions with superior visuals as well.

FIFA 14,PES 2014,Opinion,Football,Sports,EA Sports,Konami
This, in 2001, was impressive.

Unfortunately for Konami, capitalism worked against the company, as EA liked the idea so much that it decided to steal the PES model. This can be seen in the large chunks of change the FIFA series started seeing in 2003, both in scope and production value. That fact is acknowledged by Konami’s Jon Murphy in a rare, outspoken interview in 2012.

Prior to that, Electronic Arts employed a yearly release development model of minor, incremental change, as noted in a lawsuit the company suffered against a disgruntled NFL Madden employee. It still does so today with “Legacy” editions of FIFA, which are literally just updated rosters and nothing more.

FIFA 14,PES 2014,Opinion,Football,Sports,EA Sports,Konami
*Updated rosters only* it says...on the back, where no one can see it.

Balancing Act

Given the essence of FIFA is now closely intertwined in its competitor, due to copying, anyone playing EA’s franchise today is also partially playing a PES game. That sort of puts things into perspective. It’s also quite irking for any person playing both titles, as the “borrowing” aspect is still pervasive to this day. Like many companies, both in this tug of war are looking at each other for ideas, instead of employing the renewing winds of the past generations. For instance, PES 2014 has put out several updates to add things like 11 versus 11 mode, because FIFA allows for something similar.

FIFA 14,PES 2014,Opinion,Football,Sports,EA Sports,Konami
Well, at least both have shiny arenas.

Moving On

While these debacles are sideline context to weighing which is the better game, there is a more decisive factor. When it comes down to it, FIFA has been evolving year after year, even if only in smaller parts. Every iteration comes with novelties that actively improve the experience, instead of just updating it.

On the other hand, Pro Evolution Soccer is a creature of habit. It had the guts to revolutionize football games once and has been sticking true to its model ever since. Because its competition has adjusted to their differentiating element, Konami has been moving in a counter-intuitive manner: resting on its laurels when it should be finding a new way to beat the curve. Without the same capital, they can’t employ EA’s wait-and-see stance. Konami hasn’t been steadily improving its perfected strategy year after year; EA has.

That difference in approach has made EA tack on a sizable amount of options that its competitor lacks. Yes, Konami has the home ground when it comes to realistic gameplay, but EA makes up for it in droves in other areas. When that isn’t enough, FIFA games go out to find something else the next year.

FIFA 14,PES 2014,Opinion,Football,Sports,EA Sports,Konami
A whole new ball game.

And The Winner Is…

Despite the rightful concerns that EA is a company that focuses on simple yearly iterations of the same game, Konami isn’t exactly throwing out all its ideas at once either. Therefore, when viewed on a smaller scale where every minuscule update matters, FIFA is way ahead of its competition. FIFA 14 is, in itself, a work of years in improvements with tons to offer and that for everyone to enjoy, instead of just some. It’s, for better or worse, the clear winner in this debate.

Konami may have had the better game years ago, but EA’s monster-bucks have since turned the tide on that one. EA used its competition’s best assets to their advantage and Pro Evolution Soccer hasn’t answered the call. Instead, the Konami franchise has been stagnating, with a rather disappointing PES 2014 to show for it. It may have a brand new engine that favors looks, but those won’t make up for all of the game’s current shortcomings.

This duel of giants will always be interesting to follow, certainly with the history they’ve already had, but the cup currently stands with EA and their FIFA series.

FIFA 14,PES 2014,Opinion,Football,Sports,EA Sports,Konami

P.S.: About That Victory

There’s a small nuance to be made, after this decision. Consider this an optional thought on a personal level, however, as it’s abstract in nature.

While EA has the “best” product, Konami still currently has the “better” game.

Explanation: FIFA is the easiest to handle, it works the most fluidly and has the most content. All those things matter and they make for an amazing sports experience. Yet, Pro Evolution Soccer is more satisfying and that evocative aspect of it is why I’d always gravitate to Konami’s game. Sure, playing a few rounds of FIFA is entertaining and without issue, but achieving anything in the PES series comes with a great sense of accomplishment, due to its difficulty paired with realism.

I’d also recommend people PES 2014 over FIFA 14, simply because the levels of enjoyment are so different. Frustration will be more present in PES, but its victories will also come with much greater highs. Simply put in numbers: While FIFA rides a constant line of 8 at all times, there’s nothing that beats getting a few peaks of 10 in valleys of sixes. It’s the ultimate payoff.

That said, FIFA still wins the duel. That didn’t change.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed (@Daavpuke)

comments powered by Disqus


General Information



Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC, WII, 3DS, Vita, Mobile
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
Developer(s): EA Canada
Genres: Sports
Themes: Football Simulation
Release Date: 2013-09-24

View All

Popular Articles