The PES 2016 demo is finally available on PS4, XBOX One, Xbox 360 and PS3. We've had the weekend to sit down and checkout Konami's already award-winning title, thanks to its outstanding performance at Gamescom! Konami have been selling all of their updated features for months, and we were sceptical. But how do they actually hold up with a controller in-hand? Are there issues already sprouting?
Without a doubt, I felt that PES 2016 destroyed FIFA 16 at Gamescom. I spent a lot of time with the FIFA 16 demo at the conference and it was shockingly underwhelming. Perhaps it was the new gameplay style for me that made PES 2016 feel like the better game - it was just the more enjoyable football sim on the floor. But it can be hard to say this far from release date. However, PES 2016's demo shows that this year has some gameplay improvements that I adore and that could genuinely make it a truly great contender in 2015!
How Does Konami's PES 2016 Demo Compare to EA's FIFA 16?
Before we get started, know that my experience of the PES 2016 demo comes from the Playstation systems. The PS4 is obviously the superior console in terms of graphics and performance in this comparison, however I cannot comment on how the game performs on the XBOX. But let's jump into what Konami have given us a taste of in this great little demo.
For starters, there's nothing too exciting going on in terms of PES' menu system. But the developers have always promoted PES' customisation. From the get go you can create your own crazed system for playing the game, along with how much manual control you have over shots and passes - which is nice for a demo! You'll have the option of 8 teams - two of which are national - two stadiums, two kits, some weather options, control over grass length and more. It's a decent welcome.
Graphics & Animations
There's a lot of emotion in PES 2016. The graphics have taken a much welcomed step into next gen territory, with better HD faces, more fluid body animations, and amazing close-up detail on features. Both FIFA 15 and PES 2015 felt like last-gen games in terms of graphics and we're happy to see that both sides have addressed this issue.
The movements of players is extremely impressive iN PES 2016, though. The small details that Konami have included are really appreciated. For instance, the way in which players watch the ball in the distance or take a glance at the goal just before shooting is an impressive sight. They seem aware of their surroundings by maintaining eye-contact with their goals.
Gameplay & Handling
I must say, I've been playing FIFA for a while now. Therefore, making the move from FIFA to PES is initially jarring. The animations seem so different, the controls are confusing and the game really does feel strange. But one thing that I've loved about the change is how fluid it is to play. Handling PES 2016 is a dream and with so much control over how it plays, you can customise the game to your heart's content. Swapping between players was always intuitive, whereas FIFA 16 still frustrated me with who it was picking.
Tackling is far superior in PES 2016 too in terms of handling. Slides are taken exactly how I want them to be, and even if you miss, your players are back on their feet with enough realistic timing to correct your mistakes. But my favourite aspect of the gameplay is how efficiently through-balls and crosses can be executed. PES 2016 just felt so much more intuitive in terms of understanding my intent. It just wasn't the same with FIFA 16 and I was surprised by how effectively I could perform certain tactics in PES 2016.
I'm starting to understand why players have said that Konami has better gameplay. PES 2016 is a really enjoyable football sim to engage with. Nailing the right kind of cross, or vital tackle at the right moment feels so satisfying. The AI is also so much more intelligent. Defenders place themselves better, keepers make far less stupid dives, and players place themselves almost perfectly for successful crosses and through-balls. I can see why PES was labelled the "better" football game for a while.
Where Do You Stand With FIFA 16 & PES 2016?
There is a certainly a weird change-over period at the start of playing PES 2016 if you're coming from FIFA. But I personally think Konami's work was just far more enjoyable after playing FIFA 16. Both games will undoubtedly have their issues, but as far as I can tell, PES 2016 has the upper hand. I highly recommend you download the free demo now and take your time with trying it out - it's really worth the effort!