Ah hello football season. We missed you much. Weekends now have a meaning again. If there’s a topic more heatedly discussed on around this period, much more than whether Arsene Wenger should stay at or leave Arsenal FC, it would be which football game one should consider purchasing come the ‘new’ cycle of football simulator games – FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer/ PES (or as some markets in Asia would refer it as Winning Eleven/ WE). Hold that pre-order. Listen up. You might want to seriously consider PES2018. Here’s why .

For all intents and purposes, we are excluding Sports Interactive’s Football Manager considering it is THE de facto football-managing sim franchise out there. Let’s just agree that no other football managing sim come close to that. Today we are talking about the mainstream ones. The titles that even most parents could instinctively call out when looking to purchase a game for their kid.

Since their inception, it’s been a see-saw battle between the two franchises from Electronic Arts and Konami. While EA’s FIFA series have the upper hand thanks to larger licensing agreements compared to Konami in the past, PES/ WE have been making up ground in terms of much more enjoyable gameplay and by securing major licensing and image right deals in the recent years. And this year, Konami’s PES2018 is in a very strong position to give EA’s FIFA 2018 a run for their money more than ever thanks to some strategic approach on the marketing and image front.

Today we are going to list 3 reasons why you’d be wise to give PES 2018 a serious loo

1. The Gameplay of PES 2018 is much more sleeker than last year – which was already much better than FIFA

If you are all about gameplay, then PES 2018 is your pick. The controls are much more intuitive and realistic when it comes to ball controls. Players realistically jostle for long passes and frantically scurry for loose balls; no two passes are identical and each player reacts to each pass differently leading to unexpected bounces and spills that can turn the tide of the game in an instant. Realism and fun are the main ingredients in simulation games and no game has ever come close to achieving that balance like PES games since 2016.

While this article is in no business of dissing one franchise over the other, FIFA’s unrealistic perfection made it feel imperfect at many areas – if you know what I mean. Fun yet realistic gameplay has always tilted to PES’ favor since 2016 and they’ve maintained the edge in this year’s iteration.

2. The expanded licensing adds more realism to the overall feel

Gone are the days when PES fans had to contend with ‘Merseyside Red’ or ‘Westfalen’ in the PES games. The increased appeal of the franchise landed publishers Konami some heavyweights in world football such as Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund. The realistic crowd chants along with the iconic stadium atmosphere are brilliantly recreated in-game and as a football fan, is the closest thing we can get to actually being in these historic venues. Added with the official inclusion of real-life legends such as Maradona and Ronaldo (the OG, fat one aye?!), the highly enjoyable Master League is suddenly much more fun. EA’s FIFA always had the edge (well to be honest, they still do this year) solely due to the licensing agreements – they are called FIFA to begin with, but the gap now is getting much, much smaller this year.

3. You score much more satisfying goals

It’s always been about the goals. Since playing both franchises from the late 90s, I always, eventually find a sure-fire way to game the system to score easy goals in FIFA. The same cannot be said for PES. Which leads to the third point about satisfying goals. Ask any football fan and lovers of the sport – scoring goals isn’t merely poking the ball into the net; it involves careful buildup from the back, slow or lightning quick via a series of interconnected movements across the field capped with the keeper picking the ball from the net. You can score tons of goals in FIFA but I guarantee you that none will come even close to scoring one on PES – even the ‘simple’ tap-ins.

PES 2018 is now out on the PS3, PS4, Xbox360 and Xbox One. You can try it yourself as the demo is now available for free on the respective console stores.

*This article originally appeared on Spout360

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