Pro Evo 2015 might not be out for another month, but after putting 15+ hours in to EA’s latest, I have no qualms in confirming Pro Evo 2015 as this year’s football game of choice…..well, for me anyway. FIFA 15 isn’t a terrible game by any stretch of the imagination, an in terms of presentation, it’s easily the best looking football game of all time, but as always, all the visual hullabaloo and extensive range of game modes are ultimately secondary to what invariably matters most; namely, what happens out on the pitch.
That’s the reason that I don’t need to wait for the full release of Konami’s latest to know that, come November 13th, I’ll be trading in my copy of FIFA 15. Honestly though, I might as well trade it in now as, for all intents and purposes, that’s what I’ve already done – despite owning the full FIFA 15 experience, I find myself spending all of my time with the Pro Evo demo. I gave FIFA 15 a fair crack of the whip, but Career Mode is exactly the same as last year, I have no interest in Ultimate Team, and once you get past the spectacular presentation (and it really is spectacular this year), you’re left with a game that is arguably weaker than last year’s release.
Pro Evo on the other hand – not only does this year’s demo suggest a return to form for the long suffering series (although, in fairness, the last two releases have both been rather good), but its quality in terms of fundamental gameplay and core experience immediately highlight the weaknesses apparent in FIFA 15’s glossy but ultimately shallow façade.
Again, for fear of sounding like I hate FIFA, I’d like to stress that, if there was no Pro Evo, I’d probably spend hours upon hours with FIFA 15 (I actually spent a long time with FIFA 14 on the Xbox One); It looks great, plays a very decent game of football, and despite its faults, provides a very accurate representation of profession football. The thing is though, Pro Evo does exist, and the fact of the matter is, it recreates the fundamental footballing experience in a much more accurate and…….palatable manner.
When I say palatable manner, what I mean is that, while FIFA 15 might recreate football in a more literal sense, Pro Evo once again does a better job of taking the essence of the game and incorporating it into a ‘video game friendly’ recreation. If you don’t have a controller in your hand, FIFA 15 looks much closer to an actual game of football, but with controller in hand (as video games are traditionally played), Pro Evo, well, it just feels right. The controls are tighter, shooting is more explosive and goals always feel more important. Sure, the keepers are still suspect and things can look more mechanical at a glance, but again, Pro Evo manages to put an emphasis on all of the important part of the games – gameplay is always king.
FIFA 15 has amazing fluidity, but that has led to most players feeling far too similar with little visual distinction between Championship players and the world’s finest. This is in stark contrast to Pro Evo, a series that has always done individual attributes well, but this year in particluar, that strength seems greater than ever – it might look more like a video game, but there is absolutely no mistaking the distinct running style of Ronaldo or the swift, incisive turns of Lionel Messi. It might be an exaggeration on real life, but again, it works perfectly within the confines of a video game representation of the sport. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; FIFA is akin to watching real football – Pro Evo is like watching Match of the Day.
FIFA wants to recreate every aspect of the game (and does so brilliant in many respects), while Pro Evo wants to show you the highlights, to exaggerate the finer points and capture the essence of the sport rather than delivering a 1:1 recreation. Which you prefer will, as always, be down to a matter of preference, but while previous years may have seen me stick with Konami’s long running soccer series out of some form of misplaced allegiance to the brand, 2015 is the year in which I can honestly say that Pro Evo offers the superior game of virtual football.
FIFA’s more elaborate package and far superior presentation will inevitably see it win out, but make no mistake, Pro Evo really is back this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if it won its fair share of fans back to team Konami.
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