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Published on October 7th, 2011 | by Louis Garcia, Contributor

Derby Match: FIFA 12 Takes on Pro Evolution Soccer 2012

There are countless reviews of both of these soccer releases, so we decided to do something a bit different. We’re giving a breakdown of each game and having a bit of fun with it. So then, enjoy!

Pro Evolution Soccer 2012

Highlights:

Animations allow for tight dribbling that makes me feel quick and deadly like Messi and Ronaldo.

The Champions League and Copa Libertadores licenses are only in PES.

The little details in player stats seem to matter even more than FIFA, and make each pro feel like his real-life counterpart.

A plethora of editing options.

Yellow card:

Boring commentary.

Graphics haven’t improved enough for this generation.

The game isn’t a big improvement over last year’s.

Match report:

PES doesn’t feel like a large improvement over last year’s title. In fact, I would be happy just to keep playing the 2011 game. That’s not to say it shouldn’t be purchased by fans looking for minor tweaks and updated rosters (of course, the rosters are still lacking due to Konami’s inability to match the licenses obtained by EA every year for FIFA).

The most important — and greatly implemented — gameplay addition is the off-the-ball control. While anywhere on field, players can point at a teammate with the right analog, and click it to force that player to make a run. It’s a little awkward at first to get your hands and brain used to the control setup, but once mastered it will result on some truly astonishing runs on goal and offensive attacks.

The off-the-ball is also smartly utilized on throw-ins and corner kicks. On corners you can select a player to cross to, and this allows you to move your attacker around in the box to get open.

It may seem like a small gameplay addition, but what it adds to the game is huge.

Aside from that one improvement, not much else can be said. PES presents a good game of soccer, and it plays well. Dribbling is tight, passing is a bit more precise than last year’s-where errant passes happened far too often, and it’s another year and another PES.

Master League and Be a Pro Modes are branded under the new Football Life. It adds some cutscenes where the manager, players and board room talk shop, but aside from that it’s not too flashy, or different. Master League has always been a staple of the series, it’s just too bad that it remains largely unchanged. Granted, it’s still a hell of a lot of fun to start out with your team — the same cast of characters in each iteration of PES since the series made its way to these shores — and turn them into a force to be reckoned with. Look out, Manchester United.

Post game:

The lack of team licenses has finally broke me. I used to spend hours changing the names of the USA National Team players, among several others, to ensure my players correctly read Donovan instead of Dotan. This year I just loaded the prequel data and made do with last year’s kits and such. Some names still had to be changed, but at least it saved a bunch of time, otherwise. But even with the ability to load only edit data — of which there is extensive files to download for upgrades online from dedicated fans — I feel like the teams and players should already be there for me. I shouldn’t have to spend the time off the pitch with these things; it should be a bonus that I can edit and create players, kits and stadiums — not mandatory if I want the most accurate experience. That’s where FIFA ’12 gets a huge boost and edge with its huge amount of teams and correct player names.

Konami’s title is a good game of soccer. Nothing more, nothing less.

FIFA 12

Highlights:

Graphics. They’re pretty.

New player impact engine makes player contact more realistic — and sometimes goofy when it glitches. Overall it works well and makes collisions between players look like the real-life ones I have in my weekly soccer games.

A ton of licensed teams. Granted, no one is going to use BLAH, but they are there.

Yellow card:

The glitches from the player impact engine are silly.

Dribbling and shots are a little too lose or uninspiring compared to PES.

Match report:

There’s a lot of content in FIFA 12. I spent my first night playing the game by exploring the Ultimate Team, a mode where you use collectible cards to create the, well, ultimate team. Each player’s stats are on the cards, which can be traded or bought via coins won by playing matches (card packs can also be purchased with Microsoft Points). You can then take that team into single player matches or online in single matches or tournaments.

Just like with the FIFA World Cup game, I sometimes just get lost in the menus and extra stuff to check out leaderboards, Ultimate Team auction cards, and editing players, than actually playing the game. This is a good thing.

The actual game of FIFA dominates in one area — the passing. It’s great, and I had no problems with it. The new defending system also puts strikers and defenders on more equal terms: both sides of the game seem to play pretty equally with no cheapness such as overly-fast strikers or easy defending. I’m not too keen on the shooting game, or the dribbling and touches. Receiving a pass with my back to goal and turning to shoot and score is much easier, sharper and rewarding in PES. FIFA — while it does have dribbling moves that work very well when used properly — just doesn’t feel as sharp with the touches. I feel like I can play a good, tight game of soccer in PES, whereas FIFA is a little sloppy. Nothing that is terrible, but noticeable.

FIFA absolutely kills PES in one area in particular — presentation. The way players can connect with others through competing online clubs, the career mode menus chock full of news headlines, and the overall vibrancy of each aspect of the game is unparalleled.

Post game:

After the PlayStation 2 days, it was all FIFA all the time for me on Xbox 360. Granted, I never thought those titles were as good as the PS2 PES titles, but Konami’s foray into the next generation was absolutely horrid. It wasn’t until last year’s PES 2011 that I felt like the series had finally offered something better than its well known opponent. However, while Konami’s newest title is still a good game with some beneficial improvements, something has become clear: EA is back on top with this year’s iteration of their footy title.

Winner:

FIFA 12 is the Barcelona this year, and PES is but a rebuilding Liverpool: it’s good and gotten a bit better this iteration, but not enough. Meanwhile, FIFA is making leaps and bounds and playing a great game of football that just can’t be matched.

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