FIFA '08 Vs PES 2008

   04/09/2007 at 20:40       Richard Horne       41 COMMENTS.
Match Build Up

It feels almost clichéd to start a preview of both FIFA 2008 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (PES 2008 from now on) by stating how in recent years the gap between the two has continued to close. The FIFA series seems to represent a more mainstream and highly polished, but ultimately shallow and flawed model that constantly plays second fiddle to PES's initially underwhelming and only apparently marginally updated, but ultimately deep, rewarding and fulfilling model. And while for many years, PES seemed to always metaphorically win 2-1, last year's disappointing iteration (mainly the 360 version) means that in many gamers' eyes, the score in last year's final was 1-1.

So could this finally be the year that the tide turns? That it's no longer men against boys. That in a game of two halves, one side gives it 110%. And that the FIFAs the PESs and the Sensibles of the world put in a forward's tackle with their favourite left foot, to make it a magical night in [insert glamourous European destination]? While covering every single blade of grass, working their socks off, so that at the end of the day one side can pull the trigger to score from an impossible angle and break the hearts of the brave and plucky loser who will no doubt receive the hairdryer treatment from the gaffer?

Damn. I got so carried away in football prosaism that I've completely digressed from the original point I was trying to make, which was maybe this could be the year that EA's FIFA series finally manages to snatch a winner in the last minute.

Well at this point it's difficult to tell, but on paper (Jesus I can't help myself), FIFA just might edge it this year, particularly when you consider some of the new additions, many of which will be outlined below.

Thread Bare Squad News

Both FIFA '08 and PES 2008 will be released across all major formats including PS2, PS3, PSP, PC, DS and Xbox360. While on Nintendo's all conquering Wii things aren't quite as straight forward. FIFA '08 will be released on the Wii along with all the other versions but will feature significant changes which I'll be examining in more detail later. But it's a good news, bad news day for Wii owning Pro Evo stalwarts. The good news being that Konami is working on an enhanced Wii version of the game but the bad news being that it will not be released until most likely the end of the first quarter of 2008.

"We are extremely keen to introduce PES to as wide a selection of football fans as possible, and the Wii and its unique abilities are a perfect fit," commented Jon Murphy, Pro Evolution Soccer Team Leader for Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH. "The potential for PES on the format is enormous, and we look forward to a very exciting start to 2008."

The Wii version of FIFA '08 will have further Wii specific enhancements such as Wii Remote functionality - allowing you to perform throw-ins and dead ball actions with the Wii remote, the incorporation of Nintendo's very popular Miis and 3 Football Party Mini games including a fun looking table football game.

FIFA 1 - 0 PES

Our Commentary Team

Jon Champion and Mark Lawrensen will be on duty for Konami while the Sky dream team of Andy Gray and Martin Tyler are re-united to take the microphone for Electronic Arts.

Pro Evo's commentary has largely been entertainingly laughable which always tends to adds a sort of charm to the series but there's no doubt that the commentary in the FIFA games has seen continually improvement with EA's spin off Champions League 2006/2007 title particularly worthy of praise for the in-the-main excellent commentary and banter from Clive Tildsley and Andy Townsend.

FIFA 2 - 0 PES

Online Coverage

PES 2008 continues where it left off last year - though with respect to the 360 version, here's hoping that it actually doesn't continue where it left off, as the lag and slowdown made it unplayable for a lot of people, myself included. But it will feature the usual 1 on 1 matches. But rather disappointingly, at this point in time there's no evidence to suggest the game's online elements are anything more advanced than the absolute minimum.

FIFA on the other hand seems to be heading positively in the right direction as this year it's possible for anything upto 5 vs 5 online, with EA astonishingly predicting it will be successfully integrating 10 vs 10 into its games by 2010. There's finally the option to create online leagues and tournaments with your friends and strangers the world over. As well as the opportunity to represent your favourite club online against rivals in the F.A. Cup, the newly branded Premier League (remember - you can't call it the Premiership anymore), the Bundesliga, the French League and rather bizarrely the Mexican 1st Division. This new addition to the series means a football team will be cumulatively positioned in the league depending on how many games players representing that particular team won. Which sounds like a fantastic idea but will no doubt be useless to me as an unfortunate Leeds United fan.

FIFA 3 - 0 PES

Full Time Highlights

Konami caused much consternation among the PES community last year by completely removing the option to save replays of goals from the Xbox 360 version. Websites like have created fantastic Pro Evo commmunites by running regular goal of the month competitions and by hosting their excellent video tutorials. The removal of this option from the 360 version meant gamers had to resort to playing the game on their PCs for easier video capture. And while Konami is yet to confirm or deny whether this option will return to this year's 360 version, it's safe to assume that based on its past history, its return will most likely be at a most basic level if at all.

FIFA '08 on the other hand will rather marvellously allow gamers to capture their best goals and match highlights and upload them for the world to see. It will then be possible to use the FIFA '08 website to create highlight reels which can also be downloaded and passed among your friends.

FIFA 4 - 0 PES


Electronic Arts pretty much has a monopoly when it comes to licensed teams, leagues and stadiums and this year is no exception. Konami has undoubtedly worked hard to improve its own roster over the last few years and this year sees a slight improvement with the full licensing of Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur. However the rest of the English League will again be made up of Merseyside Red, London Blue et al.

FIFA 5 - 0 PES

New Additions

With PR for both games slowly reaching full steam ahead, there's a whole raft of exciting press releases doing the rounds at the moment emphasising miniscule additions as life changing modifications. But in amongst all that spin, there are actually a few impressive changes being made to both games.

FIFA '08 will this year allow for full and proper manual control of passes, crosses and through-balls by using one of the trigger buttons as a modifier. For the first time ever it should be easy to control pin point slide-rule passes as well as crosssing the ball to a specific player, in a specific position rather than hitting the cross button and hoping for the best.

Konami seems to be blowing its own trumpet in praise of its new Teamvision AI system which apparently monitors players' onscreen movements, continually adapting the AI's tactics accordingly. Which is meant to make for a more considered and strategic game of football!

While EA has its own new system called Intelligent soccer, apparently "...featuring AI with a 35-point decision engine which enables players to process 1,000 potential options and reactions every second in real time -- more than 60,000 options every minute -- via a dynamic 'Threat Map' system to capture the excitement and realism of soccer."

PES 2008 features an updated, enhanced and increased in options new set-piece model with more control given to the other players as well as increased control over defensive walls. While the game's aesthetics have been upgraded considerably, which let's face it, after the PS2-alike 360 version from last year was much needed.

"We have taken a long hard look at what has made the Pro Evolution Soccer series so popular, and where we want to take it next," commented Shingo 'Seabass' Takatsuka, creator of the series and Producer of PES 2008. "With the new Teamvision AI system, we truly believe that we have elevated the game to a new level. The movement of players off the ball, coupled with the total control given to the player, creates the closest simulation of real football to date. We really hope everyone enjoys our evolution. I promise it will be worth the wait."

The updates don't stop there either. No doubt belatedly inspired by Namco's 1997 game Libero Grande, there's a new mode in FIFA called Be A Pro which sees you controlling a single player for the entirety of a match. This mode seems also bizarrely inspired by Gears of War, as the dynamic camera used to track your player's movements is very reminiscent of the 'roadie run' camera from Epic's masterpiece. FIFA also seems to be taking a leaf out of Fight Night Round 3's book by allowing you to again use modifiers and both analogue sticks to string together special moves and tricks in what it describes as an "organic building block system". It's best explained by viewing the video below and while initially appearing to be a rather excellent addition will have to be played thoroughly before it's possible to make an accurate judgement.

FIFA 6 - 0 PES

As this preview has most definitely gone well beyond extra time and penalties, it's time to conclude by sitting on the proverbial fence. From its specifications alone and goals scored in the above face-offs, FIFA appears miles ahead of Pro Evo in terms of content and innovations, but what's traditionally separated the two has always been the more complex and rewarding gameplay of the latter. While FIFA games were often dominated by cheap goals scored from sweet spots, Pro Evo's goals have always felt hard earned and genuinely well worked by your team. But with the last two or three incarnations in the series receiving only relatively incremental updates, the general consensus seems to be that Konami has to get this year's version of the game perfected or a large percentage of its fans will have no choice but to do the unthinkable and change sides to FIFA with its enticing options and vastly superior presentation.

I've always been a Pro Evo guy myself but as I said in my opening statement, this really could be FIFA's year. The ironic thing being that it usually takes a competitor to make EA pull its finger out and genuinely innovate its otherwise stale franchises, but the football boot seems to be on the other foot as this time around it's EA trying to force its opponent to innovate. I look forward to playing both games properly upon their respective releases in September and October.

User Comments:

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Micro_Explosion - on 05/09/2007 at 01:15 wrote:
Good article.

It does look like FIFA is ahead, assuming it plays at least as well as last year. Pro Evo has made too few improvements over the last 2 or 3 versions, especially in the online aspects.

Trip SkyWay - on 05/09/2007 at 04:44 wrote:
I've been in the Fifa camp for a while now, I just find it more fun. It's been improving each iteration, with Champions League being a fantastic game.

Worth noting that Winning Eleven J-League also has the control a single player mode in. Not tired it but there are videos on the site I believe.

JohnnyM60 - on 05/09/2007 at 04:49 wrote:
I'm starting to side towards fifa after Pro Evo for 3 years.

duncan - on 05/09/2007 at 09:46 wrote:
Unfortunately with the Fifa 2008 demo looking worse than the contents of my toilet bowl after a particularly virulent curry I'll have no choice but to go for Pro-Ev.

To be fair, downloading and installing an option file isn't that hard.

BTW has anyone compared the PC version of Pro-Ev to the XBox 360 one, which looks better?

peej - on 05/09/2007 at 10:45 wrote:
Without being anything of a footie fan, it's purely down to gameplay for me and from what I've played of the new stuff, FIFA just about edges Pro Evo for fun and playability, whereas Pro Evo still feels a bit more immediate.

We just know that Sensi will eclipse 'em both though.


Stevas - on 05/09/2007 at 11:07 wrote:
Sensi already DOES.

/Strokes xbo-

Okay, I WOULD stroke my modded Xbox. If it was here. And it was running Amiga Sensi on it. To illustrate my point, that is. I'd stroke it anyway, it rocks. Oh, WHATEVER.



JimJam - on 05/09/2007 at 12:10 wrote:
This iteration of FIFA looks like the one for me too. I do like the idea of the career mode being about a single player.

HairyArse - on 05/09/2007 at 12:13 wrote:
I'm really intrigued by the Fight Night Style skill moves, if they work well that could really be the kicker this year. But, in practise they could be really clumsy and awkward to pull off so we will have to wait and see.

However - 5 on 5 plus the ability to save and send goals to friends is really really appealing.

evilashchris - on 05/09/2007 at 12:39 wrote:
Ah, but which will be the most fun to play completely drunk?

Good article hairy!

kentmonkey - on 06/09/2007 at 18:46 wrote:
This article would have been much better with a link through to the review of the disappointing update that was Pro Evo 6 last year. ;o)

HairyArse - on 06/09/2007 at 19:07 wrote:
You mean this one?

kentmonkey - on 06/09/2007 at 19:45 wrote:
Ah, see now you're talking, that's a 10/10 article now! :o)

FIFA does look interesting this year I must admit, last years still wasn't quite there for me but the proof will be in the playing, one has actually ever said before that I know of.

I had a point there somewhere. I blame my headache which is somehow managing to play Prodigy's 'Firestarter' on all my pain neurons.

billdoor - on 07/09/2007 at 09:05 wrote:
I love the way fans (usually of pro evo) always assume that their games superiority is down to anything more than their personal preference :)

The last pro evo I played (5?) was broken- it was programmed so that a player with the ball was always slower than a defender, meaning alan stubbs could overhaul henry on a sprint towards the goal. Unforgiveable. Too much head ping pong too from goal kicks.

Both are games, both have their flaws (although the fifa definite goal has pretty much been eradicated in the last couple of iterations) and which one you prefer has more to do with how long you have been with that franchise than which one is actually better.

If I read another patronising comment from a pro evo fan saying this might be the year that fifa catches up, I will hurl :)

HairyArse - on 07/09/2007 at 10:15 wrote:
Are you patronising me?

Oh, wait...

billdoor - on 07/09/2007 at 10:30 wrote:
I'm not looking to get into an argument (I've had enough of them with proper pes fanboys on EG over the year) but you never seem to get the same patronising comments off of fifa fanboys. I'm convinced the vast majority of perceived superiority in one or the other comes from an historic association and therefore being used to playing it.

HairyArse - on 07/09/2007 at 10:59 wrote:
Hehe Bill, I'm not looking to get into an arguement either but your own FIFA bias is no better or worse than anyone else's PES bias. I've always been a PES man but surely it was obvious from the preview that my money's on FIFA this year.

You can't fault EA's presentation, graphics or audio when it comes to FIFA titles but there's nothing patronising or biased about saying that for a long time now, the football hardcore have always preferred PES.

billdoor - on 07/09/2007 at 11:14 wrote:
I'm odd in that I'm a vocal fifa fan, there aren't many of us about :D

The vocal hardcore have preferred PES, the silent hardcore beaver away at fifa. I'd consider myself pretty handy at it but on occassion I get matched online randomly with some guy who utterly hands it to me and I get spanked. sometimes he does it through long balls, sometimes short passing, sometimes awesome wing play but there are plenty of ways to play it well :)

I'm a football hardcore player, both manager and player based games, PES has always irritated me for various reasons (another example- artifically keeping the scores down by making keepers difficult to beat on one on ones rather than making the defences work better), but I started the series with ISS on the SNES and progressed to a couple of iterations on the PS1 and PS2.

If you whack the difficulty right up on FIFA and play it properly, there is real depth. The problem is the default difficulty is too easy :(

Still, I always preferred Kick Off to Kick Off 2, so what do I know :D

kentmonkey - on 08/09/2007 at 15:28 wrote:
I think that was what stopped me enjoying FIFA last year Bill...the lack of a challenge. Whack it up to the hardest difficulty level, play 5-6 games at most and you're suddenly winning almost every game.

Not that I'm saying Pro is any better in that regard (it's not - far from it) and I pretty much single handedly attacked it for last years iteration (did I say iteration? I meant 'piss-poor update') in terms of reviewers (every other reviewer seemed to spunk all over it like Alan Hansen over a last ditch tackle) but I did still just about enjoy it more than FIFA.

Pro Evo multiplayer for me is still much more fun than FIFA, apart from those games where it stops every goal-scoring opportunity seemingly because you've scored too many in the previous six games.

I think the crux of the matter though is that it isn't so much Pro Evo fans believing that 'their game is better' it's just that the vast majority of people that have played both games (both journalists and regular gamers) agree that it's better. It repeatedly scores higher as well.

There are some that prefer FIFA over Pro and I can understand that, I came close to that last year as well myself, but then you also get people that like games that score 4/10.

Each to their own, that's why videogames are 'the beautiful game'

See what I did there...huh!...Huh? ah bollocks then.

HairyArse - on 10/09/2007 at 11:41 wrote:
By the way - 826 people found AATG in search engines already this month by searching for pes2008 so I suggest we all talk about it a lot more.


Binky - on 10/09/2007 at 13:16 wrote:
Hope I'm not too late to the comments party...

I've been playing FIFA 08 (next gen) for 2 weeks now and I have to say, it's absolutely bloody brilliant! I seriously can't get enough. They've fixed so many things from the 360 version last year that its hard to count, but basically so far every goal I've scored (and there hasnt been that many!!) has been extremely enjoyable, earned and different to the last.

Presentation is A1 as to be expected but seriously, the gameplay just suprised the life outta me :)

Oh and yes I know what some of you think, but for the last 2 years I've been a PES boy!!

HairyArse - on 10/09/2007 at 15:36 wrote:
So how's about swinging us some promo copies then Binks? :D

Binky - on 10/09/2007 at 16:34 wrote:
As long as I get some for myself first!!

billdoor - on 10/09/2007 at 17:13 wrote:
Some? How many copies does one man need???

HairyArse - on 10/09/2007 at 17:17 wrote:
One for me and a couple to give away as prizes, obviously!

kentmonkey - on 10/09/2007 at 19:31 wrote:
What Hairyarse meant to say was one for him and one for me to see if it really can turn me from a PES player to a FIFA player this year.


deem - on 10/09/2007 at 20:03 wrote:
"Hope I'm not too late to the comments party...

I've been playing FIFA 08 (next gen) for 2 weeks now and I have to say, it's absolutely bloody brilliant! I seriously can't get enough. They've fixed so many things from the 360 version last year that its hard to count, but basically so far every goal I've scored (and there hasnt been that many!!) has been extremely enjoyable, earned and different to the last.

Presentation is A1 as to be expected but seriously, the gameplay just suprised the life outta me :)

Oh and yes I know what some of you think, but for the last 2 years I've been a PES boy!!"

This has made my day.

Anything else you can share with us binky?

What's the shooting mechanic like? Is the player movement more responsive?

Binky - on 10/09/2007 at 23:11 wrote:
Obviously I can't say too much...

Shooting mechanic is great from what I've seen, not only that but it is fully adjustable to FULL MANUAL control so you can place the ball EXACTLY where you want (or dont) want it (depending on how good you are).

oh....and the trick stick stuff is supoirb!!

Sillothian - on 11/09/2007 at 11:35 wrote:
Have you been able to try the PS3 version too Binky?

How does it compare to the 360 version?

I'm really looking forward to trying the 'Be A Pro' mode. It is a shame that you can't use it in the career mode in the next gen versions.

Stevas - on 11/09/2007 at 11:45 wrote:
Holy hell, that's one of the flaws I've been whining about in PES (in a not-anywhere-near-it's-cracked-up-to-be-way) for years now. How about letting us do the same for passing though? You know? Anyone remember how you could have a modifier (right trigger, if memory serves) on the old N64 ISS that allowed any shots or passes to go exactly where you wanted?
It was a genius masterstroke, in a game that was full of genius masterstrokes (I present the jury with exhibit (a) THE NEVER BETTERED PENALTY SYSTEM, or exhibit (b) The full analogue dribbling). It did, of course, oh-so-obviously result in a novice being able to play a master and rely on the CPU guided shots and passes, while the master could bypass this and rely on his own ability to caress a shot RIGHT IN THAT BASTARD TOP CORNER - DID YOU FUCKING SEE THAT, YOU TWAT just purely off the back of his own analogue skillzors.
And what have they done since? Removed it, and made the passing and shooting little more than a button press. Fucking YAWN. Maybe two if you want a different height. Jesus. What's that about, eh? Have any of these developers actually TRIED to cross a ball while on the run? It's hard. There's a reason we put our most skillful players on the wing, you know. (Of course, in ISS, crossing would become almost sexual once you'd mastered the modifier, as it enabled you to curve (I'm showing my age here, AFTERTOUCH, eh? Remember that? ONLY IF YOU'RE OLD) the ball right into the path of an advancing striker. )

Look, before I essentially just rewrite my own "review" of... some previous iteration of PES (I hesitate to say which - it could, in all probability, be a "review" of several of them), and before I start on my whole standpoint about how easy they make dribbling the ball (which is the hardest thing you can do with a bloody ball, for fucks sake... I miss kick off so much) I just want to say this: FIFA 07 on the Xbox was a step in the right direction; the last PES - on any machine - was a massive step backwards.

All in my humble opinion, of course.

Which, I don't think I need remind anyone, is neither humble, nor wrong.

Another question for Binky: I recall the 360 version had very limited numbers of teams and competitions compared to the humble xbox. I, as someone who is still enjoying the manager mode of the last gen FIFA07, would be hesitant to jump into a two-footed, next-gen tackle if we'd still be getting a cut down version that didn't allow me to play a proper career. What gives?


Sillothian - on 11/09/2007 at 12:16 wrote:
Next gen version has 620 licensed teams, 30 official leagues, and more than 15,000 players.

However on the official site I can't see any mention of a career mode for the PS3/360 version, only a tournament mode.

Stevas - on 11/09/2007 at 12:48 wrote:
/loses interest


HairyArse - on 11/09/2007 at 13:14 wrote:
Surely you mean FUCK YOU EA?

Stevas - on 11/09/2007 at 14:53 wrote:
As far as I'm concerned, Ubisoft are not entirely blameless in this matter.

Or any matter, for that matter.


Binky - on 11/09/2007 at 16:57 wrote:
The teams are back in. I'm sure theres a manager mode, hang on I'll go check.

deem - on 11/09/2007 at 17:04 wrote:
Yeah, there's a 15 season manager mode.

Binky - on 11/09/2007 at 17:09 wrote:
hhmm just trying to confirm that by reading the manual......

oooh 3 pages of tricks!!!!! Get in, that'll help me get ahead of my work mates later.

.................... ....... er........
.........what am I looking for again?.......

............. ...............

................... oh yeah, manager mode.

........................... Yup, there it is.

Sillothian - on 11/09/2007 at 17:27 wrote:
Excellent news. FIFA 08 sounds better and better :-)

Rock27gr - on 11/09/2007 at 19:48 wrote:
Well, I am very interested in the Wii Fifa game; I sounds good on paper (EG preview), hope it'll be good in play too.

billdoor - on 12/09/2007 at 19:21 wrote:
Is that Wiifa 2008 by any chance?

Stevas - on 13/09/2007 at 12:36 wrote:


Seabassisacunt - on 16/11/2007 at 16:38 wrote:
Seabass should quit the games industry & stick to offering ' Manly Love ' in public shitter cubicles to the likes of Jim Carrey . . . Cunt .

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