ferry;;sadhonker;;adams;;sport;;football;;soccer;;pes 2016;;konami Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams

PES 2016

By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on September 17, 2015

It's a well-known fact that you really need balls to play some games. Sometimes, this is meant figuratively, but in this case, it's to be taken literally. Because without balls, you'd just have 22 people running around on a field, and that would look stupid. So let's all grab our balls and play some PES 2016.

Now, I was never any good at soccer. It didn't matter if it was on the field or on a computer, I just absolutely sucked at it. So you can imagine that it has been quite some years since I tried one of these games. I wanted to, but I just knew that if I tried, I would be slaughtered before half-time. But, when we received a copy of PES 2016, I did actually get a bit curious. It has been years since I tried one of these games and surely I could manage a game or two without getting absolutely obliterated? WRONG! In my first match, I managed to get four yellow and even one red card within the first ten minutes of playing. Ok, so much for my soccer aspirations...

The fact that I stunk at PES 2016 is in no way the game's fault. to tell you the truth, I was amazed by the intricacy of the controls and game mechanics. PES 2016 gives you a lot of options in terms of passing, shooting or dribbling the ball. The AI is very good and the players really look like they know what they're doing. At least, all the other players looked like they did, the one I controlled always looked like one of the guys that participated in Monty Python's '100 yard dash for people with no sense of direction'. Apart from just controlling your own character, PES 2016 let's you somewhat influence what the other players are doing. You can order another player to pressure an opponent while you put your own character into the optimal position for an interception.

PES 2016 features a very extensive tutorial, during which you learn all about both the basics of the game and the more expert-level tactics and maneuvers. It starts off with a simple dribbling exercise and works its way up to passing the ball at exactly the right moment in order to set up a teammate for a world-class goal. Penalties, corner kicks, free kicks, tackling (the only thing I was even remotely good at), everything is explained into great detail as you prepare yourself for your first match. I must say, it is one of the most comprehensive tutorials I've seen in a long time and it really helps you get your controls sorted. It even features a trophy system of its own, so even the tutorial feels like a tournament. You might even find yourself repeating some of the exercises multiple times, trying to get that golden cup for each and every exercise the good people at Konami came up with.

And that's another thing that PES 2016 does very well: the matches and match system. You can either choose to play an exhibition match or go right into championship mode. You can also choose to play online or offline, though (as one might expect) some game modes require you to play online. Once you get on the field, PES 2016 shows you all these great cutscenes: the teams waiting in the catacombs, coming on to the fields while the crowd goes wild or the line-up of both teams on the field. After these cutscenes you'll get the chance to alter the general setup of your team and fine-tune the tactics you had in mind for the match you are about to play. And what great matches they are! Granted, there are still unlicensed leagues to be found, but Konami have extended some of their licenses, including the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Euro League and the UEFA Super Cup. They even managed to scrounge up an exclusive license for the EUFA Euro 2016. Now, I don't know about you, but I really think that's a step up from previous installments in the series. But hey, I expected nothing less from the game that marks the 20th anniversary of PES soccer games.

All in all, I must say: PES 2016 looks great! All the animations are fluid and life-like, the stadiums are artfully crafted cauldrons of ecstatic fans and the players are recreated in quite some detail. Now, they may not look as realistic as, say, characters from a game like The Order 1886, but I personally think that would be impossible to pull off with the current-gen hardware. Can you imagine all 22 players plus the referees being rendered with that level of detail, all at the same time? Your console or PC would burst in to flames or disappear in a puff of acrid smoke, only leaving a burn mark where it used to be. No, that level of detail would be ludicrous! Nevertheless, the characters in PES 2016 look good and get the job done. A dynamic weather system makes each match unique and the new camera system will zoom and tilt according to the position of the ball, making sure you'll never miss a second of the action. I personally think that if you're into soccer and soccer games, you can't ask for much more than the thrill PES 2016 has to offer. All matches are accompanied by commentary, which gives you a greater sense of realism and really helps you get into the match. In my case, however, it wasn't as much fun to hear as one might have hoped. After a couple of minutes and three goals against, the general consensus was that we should go home and get some more (read: a lot more!) practice.

Notwithstanding my own inadequacy in soccer, I enjoyed playing PES 2016. It is a soccer spectacle with intricate gameplay and let's every player plan their own tactics. It looks and sound fantastic and get's you excited for a match by showing off the stadium, the fans and the players. The commentary exactly sets the mood that you would expect find at a high-level soccer match. No, it will not make you a better soccer player, because that can only be done by practicing over and over again, but it will let you enjoy yourself for many hours on end. So if you're a fan of soccer or soccer games, PES 2016 is a title that you really shouldn't miss. And if you ever come across a soccer match where one of the players is a particularly large ginger guy that looks like he has absolutely no idea what he's doing, I'm very sorry you had to witness that. I do my best work off the field, in a sports bar... or any bar for that matter. Now, if you'd excuse me, I am going to yell at a referee.

OY REF, ARE YOU BLIND?! I BARELY TOUCHED THE GUY! What? His shin bone is sticking out of his leg? Ah, just put some Windex on it, he'll be fine!

available on:

PES 2016
PES Productions & Konami
September 17, 2015 (WW)