It’s that time of the year for the annual release of the two most popular soccer video game titles, FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer (PES). They’re released by two companies vying for your gaming dollars and playing time. Fans in both camps will argue which game is better, and even though I won’t be able to dissuade such arguments, I will try to be as objective as possible on both games.

Let’s break down the games to see what new and returning features benefitted each title:

Licensing and commentary

Let’s get this out of the way first. All things being equal, if PES 2016 benefited from licensing in the same manner that 2K Sports benefits when it comes to basketball games, those who need their teams as realistic as possible would really be stuck on which game to get. FIFA 16 has always benefitted from having nearly every license for the different soccer competitions around the world, with the exception of a few. PES holds the remaining ones, with its most high-profile one being the UEFA Champions League. For PES video gamers who aren’t aware of how to mod the game to install patches, this can be a downer when wanting to simulate Premier League, La Liga, Serie A or Ligue Un games, for example.

Plus, players are limited to the number of stadiums available until Option Files are available to change that. The only other minus is that PES 2016 did not have Day One rosters ready so until that happens, gamers may be stuck playing withpre-deadline day rosters.

As far as in-game commentary, it’s simply elementary. With its licensing, FIFA 16 has it all. In many ways, it has even improved on last year’s version. One aspect I have really liked so far is that during the course of a game, you’ll hear about new transfer signings, a more in-depth discussion regarding a player’s form and more about the team’s past few matches. While PES 2016 may not have the polish of FIFA, the commentary is slightly more involved. For those that don’t know, the commentary features Peter Drury and Jim Beglin. While they’re both great commentators, my biggest concern is that it takes a trained ear to tell the difference between the two men. They sound so similar.

Winner: FIFA 16

Career modes

Both games contain career modes for manager and player. For the manager career mode, I did see some differences and weaknesses in both. As far as FIFA 16 is concerned, not much has changed over the past few years. Sure, the game gives you a new training mode but it seems to be just more busy work. PES 2016 gives you a training mode but it’s automated with constant updates about your players rather than tons of micromanaging in FIFA 16.

In PES 2016’s manager mode, you could get constant news and updates in a more friendly fashion as opposed to FIFA’s dull style. Plus, transfer rumors constantly appear from nowhere, which was a welcoming feature. What’s even better is that you get monthly in-depth reports about what is and isn’t working with your team. PES 2016 really makes you feel “managerial.”

However, there are some downsides to each. Most occur during the transfer window. In FIFA 16, you still have to do a lot of your own homework to figure out where you are weakest, and scout accordingly. You get very little input from players or scouts regarding the move being made, so it either works or it doesn’t. While you still get a countdown on deadline day, I had a serious glitch that occurred that saw me complete a move on the day after deadline day. Not only was the money missing, but the player didn’t get transferred to me. That needs to be fixed.

With PES 2016, meanwhile, scouts will recommend where you need help. Or, you can also do your own search. With PES, there’s better negotiating options. And once you sign your player, you really feel you’ve made progress. The minuses you get with PES are that you really can’t see transfers going on elsewhere. And worse, you really get no deadline day. Once the final day passes by, that’s it.

Winner: PES 2016


This is where we get down to the nuts and bolts of the games.

With FIFA 16, EA Sports did indeed fix some of the weird AI glitches that plagued the demo. The defense does appear to be sharper against strikers entering their final third. It takes more discipline to play defense in this version. If you aren’t careful, strikers will blow by you. Still, I feel that at times you can still be severely punished for missed tackles. Offensively speaking, I found myself working harder to set up shots. And once you jump ahead, the PC’s AI will noticeably adjust almost to the point of over-aggressiveness. Occasionally there are issues with players standing flatfooted when there’s a loose ball in the box. But overall, EA Sports has improved incidents when defenders need to capitalize on a loose ball especially after missed shots.

The greatest strength of PES 2016 is on the pitch. It feels like a more realistic game. The game’s AI doesn’t require micro-management and constant switching. And in fact, I feel like the AI plays well throughout the game. PES doesn’t require any new stick movement or button presses. It requires players to have a sound tactical mind. As always, when making a shot, it feels more accomplished. Even getting lucky and punishing your opponent at times feels really good as it’s rare (depending on the team of course) that the AI makes really silly mistakes. Fights for the ball are more organic and there aren’t any canned animations. Players aren’t guaranteed to win the ball in certain aerial duels and slide tackles. Plus the game gets more unpredictable when watching a group of players go after a 50/50 ball. At times, however, I do feel that PES 2016 does tend to overlook obvious fouls and yellow cards.

Nevertheless, this version of PES is one of the best yet.

Winner: PES 2016


In FIFA 16, EA has added women’s teams. While it’s a great addition, there is really nothing to do except for setting up one tournament and you’re done. Plus, it was revealed earlier this week that 13 of the women in the game will have to be removed due to NCAA eligibility. So let’s hope that if this feature returns, EA Sports will have something more robust.

Of course, FIFA sees the return of FIFA Ultimate Team. But if you don’t have the time or money to play, there is an abbreviated version that allows you to get different players, play in tournaments, scrap the team and make a new one. It’s fun and should go a long way to improving the experience.

While PES 2016 doesn’t have women’s teams, it does brings back the many different tournaments it’s always had. Plus the game has beefed up the myCLub mode (PES’ version of FUT). PES 2016 has enough modes to keep players busy for months.

Both games also have a dynamic weather mode now. Overcast games can become downpours, for example. They don’t occur often until you play deep into the colder months of the season. I saw it happen twice in FIFA 16 and I didn’t really note much difference in the gameplay, but in PES 2016 I noticed a big change going from a relatively wet field where ball movement was workable to a downpour where moving the ball around became an issue. Players slid a greater distance. And actually on two occasions, injuries occurred more frequently.

Winner: Draw


Overall, FIFA 16 and PES 2016 have something for everyone. It’s really hard to say that one is better than the other, and in fact I like both equally for what each brings to the table. There are some things that each game may do better than the other, but I have yet to see a major feature that makes one of the games the better of the two.

This is a year that soccer fans should, if possible, grab both and appreciate the similarities and differences that each game possesses.

Having said that, PES is moving in the right direction to improve its series where FIFA 16 is resting on its laurels. With all things being equal, there is a high chance that PES could be a better game. In 3 years, PES has pushed to improve its series in ways that I wish EA Sports had done the same with FIFA.

Both games are available worldwide for all systems. Order your copy of PES 2016 or FIFA 16 today and get it delivered to your door.

Which game are you planning to get, and why? Or will you get both? Let us know in the comments section below.