Pro Evolution Soccer (more commonly known as PES) has long been in competition with FIFA. The game is developed by Konami, and markets itself as closer to real football than FIFA in terms of skill required and challenge. PES 2014 has received a huge overhaul, with the FOX engine being used to power the game. PES 2014 boasts its official inclusion of the Champions League, and Europa League, which are exclusive to the title.

One thing I will give PES, is that the ball and player physics are very realistic and accurate. When you are using a player, you can feel their weight and strength while sprinting and kicking the ball. The game very, very rarely experiences any glitches, and the physics stay true to reality. Due to the way the engine handles the player’s stats, it gives lower-rated players a chance, rather than dismissing them when pit against some of the more legendary icons.

PES 2014 is not a good place to start if you new to football or football games. You need to know how to actively keep control of the ball, and how to pull the ball towards you; don’t expect the game to do this for you. FIFA handles most of the ball control and tackling automatically (ie. you don’t have to constantly watch to ensure the ball stays at your foot – even when not being tackled) whereas PES expects a little more manual work. It is for this reason it can be seen as a more veteran football title.

One of the nice features to be added to the game is HEART. This system now means that the player is mentally affected by how he performs in game. If the player is constantly missing shots under your control, or, in the case of a goalkeeper or defender, allows the ball in too often, the player will degrade in performance due to lack of mental motivation and confidence. I think this is the most impressive new offering, as it adds an extra layer of depth and realism to the game. It is a system that you will definitely begin to notice over time.

If we take an example… whilst playing through the various tournament modes, as many of you will know, you will experience sections with more than one leg. If the team performs badly in the first match, it becomes EXTREMELY noticeable that they have lost confidence while playing the second leg. You will notice the shots will go off target, defenders will slip up and the passing may go astray. It truly is something which brings us ever closer to a game 100% accurate to real-life football, which may please some players, but annoy others.

One place where PES lacks is in game modes. FIFA is known for the wealth of enjoyable and varying game modes, such as Ultimate Team, Pro Clubs, Career Mode and Seasons, whereas PES has a more limited offering. You are mainly constrained to tournaments/leagues (online and offline), friendly (ranked) matches and some skill games. While the experience of PES is very enjoyable, it just cannot match up to some of the legendary FIFA game modes, which is a shame. The lack of a mode similar to Ultimate Team is likely the main reason the game is still trailing behind FIFA. Personally, the lack of a manager mode (Career Mode in FIFA) is a big disadvantage.

The game looks stunning, the players are delivered with a high level of realism and the crowds look great, but a few frame rate issues plague the experience. There is a lot of frame rate variance, which can become annoying, as it is very noticeable when it does happen. Overall, however, the game looks and sounds great, so, just keep the occasional frame rate problems in mind. In terms of sound; while the effects and music are good, the commentary really is not, to be honest. Commentary is patchy, and sometimes is non-existent within matches. It can pull the experience back a bit to listen to silence when the lack of commentary occurs. When commentary is available, it is ok, but doesn’t quite match up to FIFA’s standard.

PES 2014 is an impressive football game. It brings us closer to real life football than FIFA does, which is a positive, however, it lacks the all-round polish of FIFA, lacking in commentary, game modes and some graphical issues. Despite this, it is definitely still worth playing if you are a football game enthusiast!