Review Showdown: PES 2014 vs FIFA14

Long Term Game Modes

Quick matches are great for an evening with friends (unless, like me, you lose every match on both games to your brother) but for long term fixes we need something with more substance. Both games have the option to play full league seasons, and both have career options that let you build up a career as a player or manager. How they work differs greatly though, which I’ll come to in a moment, once we’ve thought about FIFA’s massive extra weapon: Ultimate Team. I’ll be honest, I’ve never managed to get into Ultimate Team all that much, maybe it’s my unwavering refusal to spend money on virtual currency to prevent the need to spend 20 hours a week building up my team, but there’s no doubt how popular and addicted it has become for most FIFA owners. What started life as a fairly simple card collecting management type game has blown up into a reason why many people buy FIFA – competing both online and offline to win money and points to buy packs of cards, always hoping for that special player. It something PES just doesn’t have, and no matter how much you dress it up that’s going to be reason alone why many FIFA fans will never switch to Pro Evo. It’s sad, but it’s true.


So we’ll take a look at the modes that both games have – the career modes. Starting up a playing career isn’t too different in each game, with the computer taking control of the team and you just having to get on with the playing. But step up to the manager and things take a very different twist. The issue isn’t in how it works, but (as seems to be the case a lot when comparing these two) how it’s presented. FIFA’s management mode is generally easy to navigate, although the very visual design does drag its feet a little at times, but trying to carry out simple tasks in PES can be a huge mission. It took me 10 minutes to work out how to change my formation, and even when I did the next match seemed to totally forget that I’d done it. I probably did something wrong, but it shouldn’t be that difficult. Both titles let you scout players, buy and sell those you want to move around and keep an eye on how your guys are doing, and apart from FIFA’s new scouting network option that lets you employ scouts and send them to various spots looking for certain players, there isn’t much in it. PES also has the license for the Champions League, giving it that one exclusive over FIFA, so fans of the bigger  teams might be drawn by that, especially if you’re willing to edit the teams to match real life a little closer. It’s frustrating, then, that Konami really need to send their designers back to school, because their interface is dated, clunky and hasn’t kept up with the increase in options offered to the gamer. A result in this category is tough, because people buy FIFA solely for Ultimate Team, so if exclude that I’m calling this one a draw, even if FIFA dominated possession throughout.


Sports games are more fun against real people, everyone knows that, so playing online is a crucial element. FIFA sticks to its previous options, with online seasons making a welcome return, as well as the various individual matches, leagues, Ultimate Team and so on. PES didn’t obviously have much of this, at least I couldn’t find it anywhere. You could play against other people in a ranked or unranked match, but that was it. On the plus side the online worked well, which is more than could be said when I last tried a PES game online, and there’s a nice matchmaking feature to put you up against players of a similar quality. Like FIFA has. A bold effort, but PES still lacks a little.

Strange how all of Konami's screenshots feature teams with a license for the real kit...
Strange how all of Konami’s screenshots feature teams with a license for the real kit…

The Final Whistle

Despite FIFA coming out on top of most categories, the bigger picture isn’t quite as clear cut as you might think. The more you play PES, the better it feels. There are still moments in matches when it feels slightly more dated than FIFA, and there’s the ever-annoying presentation grief that does its best to ruin the experience for you, but where it matters the competition is much closer than it has been for a long time. PES is getting there; maybe a couple more years and a new generation of consoles will give it the boost it needs to catch up with EA’s license-hogging juggernaut. But give Konami credit – PES has come on leaps and bounds over the past few years, and while the FIFA franchise continues with its small updates intended to perfect the experience EA would be wise to keep half an eye on the competition. If it’s not careful, things could get very interesting very soon.

This year it’s a win for FIFA, but it’s close, and in terms of what’s important – the action on the field – it’s much closer than I expected.

1 Comment

  1. I want to thank you for your review although I disagree with you that FiFa wins… As a fan of PES I have NEVER bought Fifa CD even 1 of my friend gift me Fifa 13 but when I play for more than 6 month I become sure it’s not my game. The problem between FIFA fans and PES. Is the PES is so hard to master. And they want to score more Easley.
    I will always support pes even if they have only the license of Indian clubs, because on other hand they have the real Football feeling.

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