FIFA 07 versus Pro Evo 6

The Windows team enjoys a real football frenzy as it hits the pitch with the year’s big releases...

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By  Matthew Wade Published  December 2, 2006

|~|Footie---m.gif|~|Pro Evo’s highlights and replays are sublime, with the latter viewable again and again via the game’s movie controller mode.|~|The PC gaming fraternity has always been one that enjoys hot debate, be it concerning the best FPS - Quake or Unreal? - or which was the most, erm, ‘visually appealing’ incarnation of a certain Ms. Croft. Few debates however get more frenzied than the biggest sports sim argument of them all: FIFA or Pro Evo? Fans of the latter argue that Konami’s Pro Evo looks the most attractive and offers the most realistic gameplay, whilst FIFA followers argue - a little less heatedly this reviewer thinks - that FIFA either “plays fine” or “at least lets you shoot and score a bit more”. FIFA is, in short, more ‘arcadey’. Oh and it has proper teams and leagues. First things first, whichever title you’ve gone for in the past, don’t expect it to have been completely redesigned; instead, as is often the case with sports sims, these titles are evolving gradually. And most of the time, this evolution is positive stuff. All about options Let’s kick off with the type of action you can expect from each game. As you’d expect, quick match options are supplied by both, as are league and cup tournaments. Similarly, several skill levels are available, though Pro Evo offers the most thanks to its additional ‘Novice’ setting). Pro Evo's main menu is structured around the types of game you can play (Match, Master League, Cup etc.), with further options and network features tacked on the end. FIFA’s approach however is - bar the quick-hit Quick Off option - mode-based. The most comprehensive FIFA game mode, and our preferred one, is Manager Mode. This sees you managing a team of your choosing, playing games manually (or watching the computer play them, as you like), scouting for, buying and selling players, and keeping the club’s board happy (primarily by doing what they say, winning trophies and making profit). This is an engaging mode - effectively a bit of Football Manager-esque strategy but with the fun of actually playing the matches too. Best of all are the board’s post-game messages: “We are delighted, well done”, or “Why didn't you play Dickov?” etc. Pro’s equivalent offering is arguably less comprehensive, however whereas with FIFA you send out scouts around Europe to find new talent, with Pro Evo’s top-of-the-tree Master League you can effectively be the scout. If it’s this searching out top players aspect that gets you going then, go for Pro Evo. FIFA’s ‘Interactive Leagues’ refers to its online league, while its game modes include not only Manager Mode but also Tournament Mode, multiplayer, and the chance to create a tournament (with your mates taking a team each for example). Lots to go at then. Aside from Pro Evo’s comprehensive and super-tricky Master League - in which you choose either a current profesional team or a starter team with basic, skill-less players and then play matches to earn points, improve your team by buying talent, get promoted from league B to league A and subsequently enter the Champions League - you also have the ‘Konami (a.k.a the World) Cup’. There are also different continental ‘Cups’, League games spanning the English Cup (i.e. the Premiership), through to other European leagues, and Online - whereby you can play an Exhibition match for fun or for Pro Evo points. Accuracy freaks should note that, as with previous versions, FIFA is the game with all the licenses - including the English Premiership and the German Bundesliga. Pro Evo’s teams and cups are therefore alternatively named, which will take the newbie a while to decipher (Man Utd for example are Man Red). At play As ever, FIFA’s gameplay is slightly quicker than Pro Evo’s, its ball passes are automatically accurate and as a result, shots are more plentiful. Pro Evo’s game pace is a tad slower and goals harder to score. When these do come however, Pro Evo’s are by far the more satisfying, because not only have you had to work to make them, but they’re noticeably more varied in nature (headers, long shots, tap ins, even own goals and goalie screw-ups). Both titles have been made more realistic, which means that Pro Evo’s realism remains a step ahead of slicker, smoother FIFA’s. Perhaps the best way to explain the difference in overall gameplay is that if your friends are playing and you’re waiting your turn, with Pro Evo 6 you won't mind, as it’s as real (in other words, as exciting, dull or downright dirty) as watching a real game. Coincidentally, it turns out this time around that both developers have improved many of the same features. Both EA and Konami have, for instance, made really difficult moves such as shooting on the turn unlikely to work, whereas a quick first touch and then a strike will serve you better. Both firms have also gone to town on their respective ball physics, which can only be a good thing. That said, Pro Evo’s dominance does comes to the fore when it comes to realistic ball bounces and deflections. These are as real as it gets. When on the ball, both titles also offer more feinting moves and tricks than before. To this end, FIFA’s offerings felt, to this reviewer, easier to pull off (using a gamepad at least). Be these step-overs or dummies, they are less extravagant (and therefore more likely to get you past a defender) than Pro Evo’s equivalent fancy bits (for example the latter’s 360-degree turns look dazzling but are rarely effective). Shot-wise, power shots in both games are still only occasionally successful. Pro Evo’s ‘controlled’ shot - activated by pressing the gamepad’s R2 button when the shot’s power bar appears - can however give even amateurs a knack for quality finishing. FIFA has a similar feature, but we couldn’t work this out due to the game’s manual not including gamepad controls. Annoying. Scoring from a header in FIFA is something we only pulled off once in two weeks of testing, whereas in Pro Evo it’s much more possible; providing of course your cross is inch-perfect and your player’s body positioned correctly. As for defending, here there’s a vast difference between the titles. With FIFA you can slide tackle players (which, if not perfectly timed, will often-as-not result in your players being yellow-carded, if not sent off) or you can hustle and toe-poke the ball away from attackers. Pro Evo’s tackling is much more entertaining. You can slide tackle, sure, but it probably won’t get you carded (in fact, the ref might not even see it), and the hustling is much more intense. Similarly, intercepting the opposition’s passes by heading or using a player’s outstretched foot to just nudge a ball off course is ultra-realistic; even when it works, the ball will just fly off in the direction it would really, rather than - as it would with FIFA - fall at the feet of one of your players. It’s this point that’s the real defining difference between the two games; FIFA’s passes and interceptions will find your players, Pro Evo’s go where they would go in a real match. Pro Evo’s player AI has been upgraded to such an extent that such free balls won't stay free for long however. Which is the way it should be and just one reason why this first time Evo reviewer gives it the win. ||**||

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