Konami has released the demo for Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 for the PS4 and Xbox One, and after spending some time significant time playing it, Konami does indeed appear serious about challenging EA’s FIFA franchise.

In the demo, you get two national teams to choose from including Brazil, featuring this season’s cover player Neymar, as well as France. Players also can select from 8 domestic clubs that are more Serie A heavy this year, including Juventus and AS Roma.

Game set up and presentation

As with many demos, you’re limited with the options you can select but video gamers should have little problem going in to customize their controls as well as other game tweaks.  I liked that there is a way for players to customize how much manual control they have over shots and passes should they desire to have it.  Once players pick their teams, they get 2 kits to choose from, two stadiums and control over weather conditions, pitch, grass length and more.

The game opening hasn’t changed much from last year but graphically what you see in the tunnel and among the supporters has improved.


One big area of improvement in PES 2016 is the graphics.  This summer, I bought PES 2015 to play during this summer’s gaming lull and, while I enjoyed the overall gameplay, I thought that the graphics for this next gen game looked very much last gen.  However, this year’s PES 2016 is a step up with better HD faces (although they still sport a “dead eyes” look during the opening anthem for national games), players sweating and more emotion.  It’s amazing how EA Sports made such a big deal last year about its “Emotion Engine” where PES just packs it in and it works.  Watch your striker get frustrated when they either miss or are denied a goal, see your players argue with the refs on a bad foul and more.  Even when it rains in a game, it has a noticeable effect.


I have played a lot of FIFA since 2011 and may have played PES for a year or two during this period. I keep remembering that one of the best things about this game is how well it handles.  Even if you customize the controls to get it to handle similar to FIFA, it feels very smooth.  Moving my players up and down on the pitch can be done with ease and, even when transitioning between players, PES feel more intelligent and not as jarring as it can sometimes feel on FIFA.  Also, using the tackle and slide tackle moves feels more fluid on Pro Evolution Soccer as players aren’t always using the same canned animations and their recovery time feels more realistic. If players are new to the PES series, play around with the control setup to find your sweet spot.

Gameplay and AI

Yet another factor that may push FIFA players to PES 2016 is the game play.  Konami, in my opinion, has had better gameplay.  Once accustomed to how the game plays, I always felt that you weren’t going to get easy wins with PES and the CPU wasn’t going to pull cheap goals out on you like sometimes seen on FIFA.

Between PES 2015 and this year’s demo, I have enjoyed the game’s flow as the AI really played good defense in all phases of the game.  I have noticed that depending on the team, the CPU sometimes knows when to double team players, stick to their zones or flow to marked players. Also, when attacking, I like how some players — when getting the ball — seem to know when to move forward, hold and wait a bit for support or pass.  You don’t see as many cheap giveaways of the ball and you don’t see a lot of the pinball passes either.  Playing the demo, I think players would be pleased with how the game actually flows.

Because it’s an early build, players like Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tevez and Bastian Schweinsteiger are still on their old squads.  I do think yellow cards are a little harsher at times. Unfortunately I had no experience with the dynamic weather that is supposed to be a new passive feature.  Beyond that, I have very few complaints with the demo.

Despite not having the licenses that EA Sports has for FIFA, Konami looks to have made a concerted effort to do for soccer what needs to happen for American football and the Madden series; to give competition to those who have gotten lazy with the official licenses.  As much as I like FIFA, the series recently has started to feel more like a roster update.

PES 2016 releases on September 15 in the US and September 18 in other countries, which is a week ahead of FIFA.

Personally, I may have to make room for two footy games this year!

Order PES 2016 today and get it delivered to your door.

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