I will admit that I’ve always been a FIFA lover and haven’t touched Pro Evolution Soccer since the early 2000s, but because I am the only one who soccers at DYEGB, I got the nod to tackle the latest DLC from PES 2016: UEFA Euro 2016. For owners of the full PES 2016 game, this DLC comes completely free and for those wishing to purchase it, the full game is included in the asking price which is a nice touch. You really can’t go wrong either way. As I said I’ve always been on the FIFA side of the fence and in the early days, that was purely down to licensing. I never hated PES but playing as my beloved Arsenal was just that wee bit more satisfying than playing as London Red. That being said, I entered the PES arena with an open mind and what I experienced was a bit of a mixed bag.
I don’t want to focus on the main game too much here as it was released last year and the purpose of this review is to detail the Euro DLC, but what I will say is that PES may just be everything I’ve been looking for in FIFA. I wrote an article about some of the things I’d like to see in FIFA a few weeks ago and having now played PES, some of those things are done far better in the latter. PES feels more real; it’s smooth, it’s stylish and it’s a lot more fun. The graphics are incredible and the detail is immense. Customisation options are far better and gameplay feels more polished. Sure, there are some things that aren’t the best, like the defending for instance, but they are small things and don’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the game.
It’s pretty clear to me that PES was created with gameplay in mind. The feel of the game is incredible, if somewhat unrealistic and slightly arcadey, but that’s what I’ve always loved in football games. Lately it seems we go too far towards realism and away from it actually being a game. If I wanted to feel like I was playing I’d go down to the local park for a kick around, not sit in front of the telly on a game. PES creates a fun, fast-paced, exciting game that is best enjoyed with friends. Gameplay is smooth and geared towards attacking; it appears that defending was a bit of an afterthought, and without mincing words it’s pretty terrible. It just doesn’t feel natural at all but like I said, you don’t lose the enjoyment because we all know it’s all about that offence. Just as with the gameplay the visuals in this latest game are extremely beautiful. Everything looks vibrant and alive. Even down to the small details like grass and player kits, the way this game looks is just incredible. The main soundtrack to the game is fantastic and fits it perfectly and as a special touch The devs have thrown in some Beethoven for the background music in the Euro competition. It’s added a really classy touch to the game and as a big fan of classical music, I’ve found myself looking off at nothing just enjoying the music.
All ball there
Ah bullshit ref, all day!
Getting onto the DLC side of things, you still have an extremely polished game with some added bonuses. Player faces have been re-imagined and are now amazingly detailed, but of course only if said player has been picked for the national team. Euro 2016 has added a really classy touch with classical music playing under the competition menus that makes you feel as though you’re living the action of Euro 2016. The menu has been designed to emulate the style of the competition which once again makes you feel a part of the action. The overall feel of the competition is as good as you can expect from a video game and every detail has been worked in…no wait, it hasn’t. There are quite a few missing pieces and let-downs to the expansion and it really detracts from the overall enjoyment. Firstly, Konami have included just two ways to play. You can try your luck in the European competition or you can play an international exhibition match. These limited options aren’t bad in their own right, but there’s just not all that much to them once they’ve been done a few times. Secondly, not all of the teams are licensed which seems rather odd for an official game. You have 34 nations and of those quite a few are unlicensed, meaning you won’t see real players in-game or have the correct kits. Whilst not a massive deal it will turn the purists off acquiring this game. The last major oversight is the lack of official stadiums. Of the 10 stadiums that are in use at this year’s competition you will only have the joy of playing in the Stade de France. Admittedly the look of this stadium is great but the intro to each game is the same thing time and again.
The beautiful Stade de France
Overall, what we have with the Euro 2016 expansion is one added game mode with lots of elements missing. The overall feel of the DLC is overwhelmingly PES and the fact it’s free is what saves it from being a failure. For a game that has lurked in the shadows of FIFA since its inception, you can’t help but feel that Konami have let themselves down here. They had a really great opportunity to create something truly wonderful but have fallen short.
Reviewed on PS4