It’s that time of year again when Konami and EA put their dukes up and get ready to punch it out in the battle for football game supremacy.
In years gone by we’ve witnessed everything from minor tweaks to complete overhauls and often big steps backwards for Pro Evolution Soccer and the FIFA series.
But this year we could be set for the closest contest for a decade with the steadily recovering PES looking to build on last year’s return to form while FIFA will want to continue its dominance.
Don’t forget it wasn’t that long ago that FIFA games were seen as something of a joke to football simulator connoisseurs while PES was the undisputed king of consoles and seemingly untouchable.
EA slowly pulled it around, though, and from PES 2006 - remember the one with Italian referee Pierluigi Colina as the cover star - onwards Konami took its eye off the ball big time.
Whether it was complacency or not, EA has since exercised a 1990s/noughties Manchester United-esque dominance over its rival.
This year EA has made a huge change in FIFA 17 by switching from the Ignite engine to Frostbite, which some gamers will know as the engine that powers the likes of Battlefield and Mirror’s Edge.
EA says Frostbite will improve night lighting and give them the ability to create more realistic player faces with better emotion while some star players have also been performance-captured to bring even better expression to the game.
There will be three times as many animations in FIFA 17 too as well as lots of tweaks to set pieces and a first ever story mode. PES moved to a new engine last year using the FOX which proved a huge improvement.
Word is PES has recaptured that ability to make you feel in total control and capable of jaw dropping moments of realism while FIFA has become bogged down in overcomplicating certain things. Could this be the year PES comes from behind to win for the first time in a decade?
We won’t find out for sure until FIFA is launched on September 29, with PES out next week, a full two weeks before its bitter adversary.
Let battle commence.
Word is PES has recaptured that ability to make you feel in total control and capable of jaw dropping moments of realism while FIFA has become bogged down in overcomplicating certain things.Damien Lucas, gaming columnist