Is FIFA a drug? Is PES the cure?

What is it about FIFA that has acquired this unparalleled cult following, game on game, year on year? There hasn’t been a football game that has come close to it in the last decade, certainly in my opinion anyway. Now the die-hard PES fans will argue differently. But that really hasn’t been good since 2006.

FIFA is different. You literally enjoy it for about 6 months and are already waiting for next years release, your next fix, wondering what will next years features be. EA do a fantastic job of pre-release hype with their mid-July rumours, to their beta, then their demo and finally the early access. They get you to the point you couldn’t dream of switching allegiance. They had already made their sale in the Summer.

Now I must admit, I was pretty fed up with FIFA 16, it was pretty much same old same old. I felt they hadn’t made enough changes to justify their constant hype. Minimal changes and slightly better graphics. It had gotten stale.

For the first time in years, my loyalty was wavering. There was also lots of noise coming from the Pro Evo camp, that they had made a drastic step in closing the gap on their fierce rivals, with sneak peaks of the much-improved gameplay and indeed graphics making its way across social media.

They tend to release their game before FIFA in what I can only imagine is an attempt to chip away at it’s massive following, which year on year has failed because lets be honest, it hasn’t come close to the monster that EA have created and indeed maintained over the years. Of course here at Double-R-Quits one of the many perks of our job, is our need to play and test all these games so we can be clear on their formats and rules (that’s our excuse anyway!). We will be running cash tournaments for both games non-stop, so it is key we understand the games we are offering. Especially when there is money to be lost and plenty to be won!

So off we went and bought the new PES 17, thinking the usual. A few games, understand it, put it back on the shelf and wait patiently for the release of our trustworthy, ever reliable FIFA. But my god were we wrong! It is fantastic! They really went all out this year and seemed to have made a genuine effort of competing on a par with FIFA. The graphics blew me away and still do! They are amazing. They have improved ten-fold and along with the enhanced gameplay has made it a really enjoyable game, we were hooked! Putting in hours and hours of extra “research”. We were convinced it was our new game without a doubt. Same old, same old FIFA will now take its turn on the shelf! It felt like i had just successfully completed a stint in FIFA rehab. Or so I thought….

Then came the release of the much anticipated FIFA 17, and they too have gone all out. They have partnered with frostbite graphics in an attempt to help bring the game more to life, to give it that extra oomph, and they didn’t disappoint. Most of it is very much the same in terms of gameplay with slight adjustments to penalties and free kicks. Standard. With FIFA you kind of always know what you get, which has in honesty, brought about that feeling of staleness. EA have definitely sensed this with PES doing their utmost to breathe heavily down their necks, and have added a feature that no other football game before has done, but almost every other game is based on. A character, and a story! So simple, yet so clever. That character is none other than Alex Hunter and the story is his Journey! What a fresh innovative use of such an age old model. What better way to keep people engaged than the temptation of personal progress, always wanting to reach the next level. This concept of making Alex Hunter reach the pinnacle of football is no different than having Zelda reach the Ocarina of time, or Mario finally reaching Bowser and rescuing Peach. You won’t stop till you get there. GENIUS.

So hat’s off to EA. They have pulled it out of the bag once again and although PES have made tremendous improvements, I feel FIFA have taken strides ahead once again. Two fantastic titles to choose from where ever your loyalties lie, I know where mine are and I’m not looking for a cure anytime soon…

Happy gaming!

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