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FIFA 14 VS PES 2014 PC: Reviews and Comparison 
Posted on September 6, 2014 at 09:20 PM.
 photo FIFAVSPESv3_zpsdaffe119.jpg

Introduction

The pitch has been watered and cut, the fans are piling in for a clash of bitter rivals! Each squad has been preparing for this since last seasons biter clash. One has glitz and has all the modern flash while the other struggling to redefine itself after past glory. FIFA 14 VS PES 2014 let's get ready!

I came in late to this years crop of football titles which gave me a different perspective on each game. I didn't have a hype period leading up to release that affected my expectations and I also benefited from playing games that were pretty much fully patched. I also got both game on late cycle sale prices. I paid $25 for PES 2014 with the World Cup DLC and I picked up FIFA 14 for $10 during an amazon sale. $35 for two quality games, you've got to love PC gaming.

So here's how this is going to go, I'm going to break down each game individually going through graphics, gameplay and modes then to finish off I'll put both games head to head to determine which game I enjoyed the most. I'll start off with FIFA 14.

FIFA First Impressions and analysis

First things that stuck out
  • Speed is fast, maybe too fast.
  • Makes the break fun but it can get out of hand.
  • It's nice to be able to beat a defender from a stop.

Graphics and Animation
  • The pitch looks NICE, lighting is nice and crisp.
  • The lighting is also where a bit of the realism suffers, it's too crisp.
  • Shadowing isn't as realistic as it could be.
  • Overall there's nothing about it that sticks out in a bad way.
  • The little touches on ball are slick, quick and fun.
  • Running feels a little too glidy but momentum (change of direction) is done decently well.

Gameplay

Initial impressions
  • It doesn't feel like you're playing alone.
  • Defensive players cover reasonably well in comparison to past games.
  • Offensive players make runs into open space. overlapping runs by fullbacks etc.
  • Opponent AI attacks with a reasonable purpose, doesn't just play keep away(like FIFA 12).
  • Passes can be a bit slow as far as getting into the animation
    which is ok sometimes if it's off the ball related but sometimes happens when it shouldn't.

Career Mode initial impressions
  • Great presentation, I love the story line integration and tiled look, very sleek.
  • email system, obviously not new but lacking in so many other sports games
  • I like the communication between clubs when negotiating transfers
  • Not just yes no, there are counter offers and dialog.
  • I like that sometimes a rumor will break before a transfer offer actually comes in, for example in NBA2k (last gen) the rumor mill had nothing to do with possible trade offers.

Graphics analysis

Graphically it looks good, has a bit of an artistic (aka cartoony) look but most of the faces look good. Some faces look scary accurate and realistic but a lot look sort of generic and plastic. The pitch looks crisp and stadium models are nicely rendered. Animations have a ton of variety; overall it's good but some of the running animations stick out in a bad way.

 photo EmiratesFIFA_zps1c15e98f.jpg
Emirates Stadium in FIFA 14

Gameplay analysis

After a few games you start to see some of the short comings, particularly on the attack. Defense has lapses but defenders usually do enough for the goal keeper to make a save. Speaking of Goal Keepers, they're good at stopping shots in the box and on 1v1 situations, oddly they struggle with even slowly hit headers off of crosses and corners. Gameplay is a bit frantic at times, going back and forth with a lack of build up but this can be helped via tactics and gameplay sliders. FIFA plays a fun style of football but a touch more realism could really help it make that final jump I've been waiting for. Lack of foul calls adds to the up and down pace of the game, it seems like the logic behind the system should be rewritten because calls don't correspond very well with the nice contact and collision animations. I haven't seen any huge game killer type flaws which is a feat in itself so overall very solid.


Overall Initial Impressions

Definitely a solid game but like any game, it has it's issues, the players feel sort of floaty on the pitch. It's difficult to put my finger on it but the best way to describe it is that they lack weight. The AI I saw the first few games seems to have disappeared somewhat. This is especially the case on offense. I may have been triggering runs accidentally using the left bumper. The defensive AI is still pretty decent. There have definitely been some sketchy moments in which intelligence goes missing but it's not all the time so I can live with it.


The build up is pretty severely lacking, especially if not calling for runs manually. Players don't seem to find the open space which is so weird and frustrating because they seemed to the first few games. I'll have to play with the settings a little to see if it's something I tweaked accidentally.

Career mode is very captivating, there's a lot to keep you busy. I can't speak about player progression or youth squads yet. The tiled look is what's in right now so it looks modern and sleek. It's easy to navigate to where you want, especially after you get a feel for where things are.

Presentation is pretty solid but not great. The commentary is smooth and solid but can get repetitive. I like the updates for scores from other games. It really helps when I'm counting on a rival to lose or draw, it's just a little touch that keeps me immersed in the FIFA universe.

Overall FIFA Analysis

Overall FIFA is a solid game, it does a lot of things well, some things great and very few things horribly bad. FIFA has it's own brand of football, it's a fun addictive brand of football but it's not what you'd see in a real match most of the time. Anyone familiar with FIFA over the last few years knows exactly what I"m talking about. I'd love to see a few things upgraded to bring that perfect mix. For starters, I'd like to see more fouls called. More fouls in the right situations would properly penalize lunging defenders and slow down an often too frantic pace.

I've been waiting for years to get teammates that are more aware of the situation, like when there's an opposing player strolling in towards goal. This area is a little improved but still not to where I want to see it. The keepers do a good job of making saves, even in the box.

Graphics are good enough even without the ignite engine to keep me happily gaming. Yes I'd love for lighting to be improved and for FIFA to shoot for a more lifelike look but what they have doesn't detract from the experience. Most player faces are recognizable even if they look like the digital version, while some faces are photo realistic. The pitch and stadiums look good and menus look great! Overall it's a solid experience with no huge game killers.

PES 2014

Graphics and Animation

PES goes for a more photo realistic look with natural looking shadows. Player models are good and for the most part decently lifelike. . It's a game that when you glance at it from the zoomed out angles could pass for a real life game.

Animations are good but transition animations can feel a little robotic at times, meaning sort of ridged. This isn't always the case but when you see them it can jarr you out of your sense of immersion.

The pitch itself leaves something to be desired, I just don't get the sense that it's grass when it's zoomed out, maybe it's too uniform in color or that it doesn't deteriorate very much. Stadiums on the other hand are modeled pretty nicely and crowds although not perfect look and animate fair enough.


Gameplay

There are some definite glaring weaknesses to PES 2014, I mean stuff that sucks the fun and realism right out. The biggest issue for me is that speed ratings don't matter. I've literally dropped a whole defense's speed and explosiveness ratings down to the minimum (which is 40) and raised a few players up to 99 and the slow defenders can still beat me to a loose ball, and easily overtake me when I'm on a break away. They seem to have tried to simulate how running while dribbling a ball naturally slows you down. BUT they threw ratings completely out the window. A player with 99 speed, 99 explosiveness and 99 dribble should easily out pace defenders with minimum speed.

Other than that the ai defenders on your team are pretty brainless. They don't really stay with guys and they give way too much space even in the box. So if you don't switch to the on ball defender you're giving up a goal 95% of the time.

The good news is that on offense your teammates actually make some pretty decent runs. They also respond well to the support slider found in your game tactics. They find open space as close to you as tactics dictate. This provides a huge variety to how you can play the game. In fact a lot of the games short comings can be helped pretty noticeably by playing with the tactics. Unfortunately the speed issue has no applicable sliders to help and I've yet to find tactics that make your teammates competent on defense in the box.

Scoring goals is pretty satisfying, yes there are some semi go-to ways to score, particularly off of throw ins in the final 3rd of the pitch or off of corner kicks played short. But scoring off on a rebound is satisfying and looks realistic. The action can get pretty frenzied in the box and I say that in the best way possible. Headers are more difficult to score on, at least for me, I rarely see a cross where it finds the tip of a foot for a quick sliding shot that flies into the net. That occlusion aside, scoring goals feels pretty nice.

On the flip side giving up goals often feels cheap, I feel like I'm fighting my whole team and the goal is sort of scripted. That's a horrible feeling to have while playing a video game. I'll admit that I've even rage quit a match vs the ai in master league and had a goal scored almost in the same way around the same time early in a game, it happened in 3 straight games vs the same team which really gave away the scripting issue. Yes there are ways to counter and prevent it if you play really good defense but you still get this overwhelming feeling that the ai is sort of scripted to make something happen.

Most teams push the ball forward pretty quickly but that can be tweaked via tactics (if you take the time to go in and edit them). Crosses can be dealt with by heading it away and your defenders do a pretty good job of getting into good position before you're auto switched to them.

Game Modes

I'm almost an exclusively offline player so career modes are important to me. PES offers up master league, you become the manager of a club of your choice and run things the way you see fit. Make transfers, set lineups, choose formations and tactics. The mode is functional but a little bare bones.

I realize this was the first year of the FOX engine and a lot of the game was rewritten, for that reason I'll overlook a lot of the missing details of the mode. It has the basics of what you'd see in any sort of manager/franchise mode. You play your games, it has league cup and Champions League integration and you can get relegated. You can also be offered a job as an international manager where you'll select your squad and participate in friendlies and ever so often an international competition. You can also take other club jobs at the end of each season, you'll get a list of offers from teams in case you want to explore other leagues or a rival team. I've been playing this mode non-stop for over a month now and I've been having a good time despite some lacking extras.

I know long time fans of the series have complained about how stripped down it is so take that to heart if immense depth is really important to you.

Presentation

 photo EmiratesPES_zpsa4d916a2.jpg
Emirates Stadium in PES 2014

This is a two headed monster because in game presentation is one thing and menu presentation is another. On the pitch PES does a pretty nice job visually. Stadiums are modeled realistically and the crowd looks pretty decent. Commentary is lacking though and you get tired of hearing the same lines pretty quickly. The commentary does a decent job of staying on top of what's going on in the game but they need way more variety of lines for particular situations.

 photo PESmenu_zpsb198eea4.jpg

When off the pitch the menu system looks extremely dated. It's something you would have seen in the Xbox/ PS2 generation. It's become familiar enough where I don't mind it and it's not particularity frustrating to navigate so really it comes down to aesthetics and production polish. Both of which leave a lot to be desired.

Licenses or lack there of

Everyone knows that FIFA has most league licenses locked away in their vaults so it's no surprise that PES is lacking in this department. They have a few leagues namely LA LIGA of Spain, Ligue 1 from France, The Portuguese league and a few leagues from South America (Brazil, Argentina). The Premier league has it's players but no official teams other than a few like Manchester United. Noticeable missing leagues are Germany's Bundesliga and for us U.S. guys the MLS.

This might seem like a game killer to some but luckily PES has one of the best patching/modding communities out there. There are always option files to be downloaded which add in the missing leagues, players and kits. PES has very useful editing team and player editing modes which actually let you import images off of your hard drive. So you can import actual league logos and create pretty spot on kits right through the games menu. Of course if you want to dig deeper there are various modding tools that let you modify the game files to make exact kits if you so choose.

Unfortunately the stadium creator wasn't able to be added for this new engine but word is it will be back better than ever next year. You can however change the names of certain stadiums for use with specific teams in the team edit menu. That way the presentation will display the real life stadium name of the team during the intros.

 photo Customkits_zpsa34e27bc.jpg
Making missing kits was as much fun for me as playing the game

For me editing teams and kits was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game. I got an extra sense of enjoyment when playing with updated kits and with MLS teams knowing that I put them in myself. Obviously that's just me and I seriously doubt that many people at all will actually enjoy having to add missing teams, players and kits. For most finding a good option file is the way to go.

Conclusion

I've heard through the forums and even from the PES team themselves that PES 2014 was sort of a down year for the franchise particularly on the gameplay front. The team admitted that they focus most of their time on making sure the game looked and animated good and didn't have time to solidify game mechanics as they would have wanted. So basically they ran out of time and the finished product wasn't exactly what they set out to do. You can respect that admission even though it came only once they were trying to hype up PES 2015.

Take that into mind when thinking about purchasing the game however that didn't stop me from really enjoying the game. I definitely noticed some of those unfinished areas and they DO detract from the experience. Even so the game has a certain character to it that is just underneath the surface that makes me really enjoy the things it does well. Since I got the game so late in the year, I also benefited from various developer patches which from what I hear improved the game pretty drastically since launch. I also got it on sale for less than half the price compared to its release, that always helps you forgive some of the games shortcomings. I'm very interested in what PES 2015 will bring to the table but I'm satisfied with what PES 2014 provided me with all things considered.



Comparison FIFA 14 vs PES 2014


Graphics and Presentation
  • Player Faces: PES 2014 (very close)
  • Player models(body): PES 2014
  • Kits: tie
  • Player movement animations: PES 2014
  • Player contact animations: FIFA 14
  • Lighting: PES 2014
  • Pitch: (zoomed out) FIFA 14 (zoomed in) PES 2014
  • Stadiums: tie
  • Menus: FIFA
  • Audio

 photo GiroudComparison_zpsfc26e223.jpg
Some faces in FIFA look scary good!


Graphically I think it's a close race but PES gets the nod. There's a more realistic look to PES when it comes to the player faces and models. Also certain aspects of the animation looks more lifelike; little ball touches
and the planting of the feet when shooing, stuff like that looks more lifelike to me. FIFA does a lot of things well and some things much better like the menus and certain player faces but at the end of the day I'm more likely to confuse PES 2014 for a real match than I am with FIFA 14. To me that's the final test on graphics.

 photo TiagoSilvaComparison_zps8f09c9bd.jpg
In General player faces and models look more lifelike in PES

Gameplay
  • Playing offense: PES 2014
  • Playing Defense: FIFA 14
  • Goal Keepers: FIFA 14
  • passing: PES 2014
  • Shooting: tie
  • Player movement: FIFA
  • Contact and fouls: PES 2014

Gameplay is a category that's pretty close too and really we have to break down aspects of gameplay to be fair. Each game does some things better than the other. Namely FIFA doesn't have any huge game killing design flaws, PES drives me crazy with their speed ratings issues. Attacking AI goes to PES, it's satisfying and teammate ai is more realistic. Defensive AI surprisingly goes to FIFA, teammates do much more to help you out and hold their own, they still go brain dead in the box but at least your goal keeper can stop a shot in the box. At the end of the day PES gives me the feeling I'm playing 1 v 20 a little too often.

Player movement is a tricky one, PES feels like it has more weight to movement while FIFA feels a little floaty to me. FIFA is a little more fun on the sticks but default player movement is too fast. This one is a tie to me, it's going to be based on personal preference. I will throw in that FIFA is more tweakable via sliders than PES. In PES you get an overall speed slider and that's it. FIFA gives you sliders for speed and acceleration for both the CPU and user. This one feature would benefit PES so much cause it would be uber easy to fix the speed ratings issues.

Passing and shooting feel a little better on PES, the weight of the ball feels good to me and speed of he ball travel on default is more in tune with real life than FIFA. FIFA does have sliders for pass speed, shot speed and power meter speed though. That means you can get it to how you want it whereas PES is what you see is what you get. I'm going to give the edge to PES on passing and call shooting a tie.

Controls feel deeper in PES, there are a lot of similarity, button configuration aside. PES has more effective varieties of shots and after getting used to it better dribbling mechanics. It just feels more life like in PES but it's a very close race here.

Player physicality is also a mixed bag, FIFA does the animations for player battles better but hardly calls fouls unless there's a nasty sliding challenge. In PES I've gotten a straight red card for a standing challenge that I mistimed from behind. The variety of foul calls is way more satisfying in PES, I know that was introduced in one of the most recent patches so if you played the game early on it was probably a different experience for you.

Goal keepers go to FIFA, They're not perfect but they stop more shots on goal from inside the box than PES keepers do. The interesting thing though is that FIFA goal keepers have trouble with even the slowest hit headers. I'm not sure if it's a factor of the ball speed issues that plague passes and shots.

Game Modes
  • Career/Master League: FIFA
  • Training and tutorials: FIFA
  • Online play: FIFA
  • Extra Stuff: FIFA

Ok so game modes is a massacre FIFA takes this category hands down. Career mode is way more addictive and fun in FIFA than PES's Master League. The story lines and just general layout of the menus make FIFA the place to spend countless hours of your time. The mini games in FIFA are a bit more fun than the training tutorials in PES but you can't fault PES too much here, they do a fine job. I haven't had a whole lot of experience with either game online but EA's Servers are usually solid and PES is known for having sketchy ones, FIFA with the win.

Conclusion

Each game has some pretty nice strong points. FIFA seems to lack any uber game-breaking bugs like the catchup bug in PES 2014. Also some of the dribbling mechanics in FIFA make it hard to go back to PES. PES has a certain quality about it though that feels a little more authentic. I think it has a great base to build on for next year but at this point I have to give the edge to FIFA. It's strange cause I feel more loyalty to PES like if I want it to be the better game but when I go back and play I find myself missing aspects of FIFA. Also PES feels uber dated in comparison to the slick presentation of FIFA. This has more to do with the game menus but applies a bit to the audio. PES is definitely way behind in that department. When all is said and done I feel FIFA is the way to go this year.

Winner: FIFA 14
Comments
# 1 ty5oke @ Sep 7
Really good stuff. I haven't read through it all yet but I'll be back to finish.
 
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