Review: Pro Evolution Soccer 2016
Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 moves to intercept FIFA (Source: dubaiprnetwork)
The annual updates of sports games can be strange affairs.
Aside from the occasional change of an underlying engine, the updates often seem cosmetic — new faces on the teams, the latest sponsorship on team jerseys — or incremental additions or tweaks to game play.
But those tweaks, if designed and applied well, can have a very positive impact on play. But change too much, or implement changes badly, and you run the risk of alienating your fans — or at least of convoncing them to stick with last year’s release.
All of which makes Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 a very smart move from Konami. They’ve done it right. Most changes are subtle and effective.
The new release is smooth, attractive and builds solidly on the Fox engine that powered last year’s award-winning version. Graphics are nicer, with a lot of attention paid to faces and animations. Gameplay is delightful — last year’s edition flowed well, and this year is positively creamy.
Localisation is pretty good, with an option for Arabic text in all game menus and a decent selection of Middle Eastern teams from the Asian Football Championship, including the UAE’s Al Ain and Al Ahli, Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli, Al Hilal, Al Nassr and Al Shabab, and Qatar’s Al Sadd and Lekhwiya. There’s still no Arabic commentary option, though.
A new dynamic weather system brings new challenges to leabgue matches. Rain affects more than visibility, it impacts game play as well.
If there’s any cloud over the new release, it’s an over-agressive AI that has computer-controlled players converge on whoever has the ball. This makes long runs hard to pull off and forces you into a series of short passes to make headway (unless you’ve mastered the art of the high pass; I haven’t, and invariably give possession away if I try it).
The result is Barcelona-style tiki-taka play — or at least, that’s the way I’ve found to be most effective so far.
It’s also a little harder to score from within the box than I recall from past versions, which is a good thing.
All the regular game modes are present, online and offline.
All in all, PES 2016 is a superb achievement. Pro Evolution Soccer is better than ever.