In an age where exclusive licenses and market shares dominate, competing companies are often guilty of borrowing features from one another. As a consumer this is a win-win, with the perfect game most likely being a hybrid of the two games. Think of Madden 2005 with NFL 2K5’s animations, College Hoops 2K8 with NCAA Basketball 2010’s presentation package. With that being said, let’s take a look at how FIFA could potentially leverage some of PES’ best attributes.
The task of distinguishing players from a database that numbers in the tens of thousands is a difficult task, but it is too much to ask for the top players to stand out a little bit more? Often I find myself watching a real match and thinking to myself “could that sequence happen in FIFA?” and too many times the answer is a no. Usually that “no” isn’t attributed to the animations or the end result, but more so the robotic pre-determined movement by the AI. Whether it’s fullbacks always choosing the wrong option in 2 vs. 1 situations on the flanks, or AI wingers always sending in wayward crosses on their weaker foot, the monotonous nature that often plays out during FIFA matches vs the AI is hard to overlook.
At the highest levels, matches are often won via moments of individual brilliance by extraordinary players, and even on Legendary difficulty the AI follows the same predictable patterns. When players like Messi, Neymar and Hazard are easy to contain, it’s time for EA to re-evaluate their approach. FIFA could benefit from how PES’ dynamic attacking players feel on the ball while still taking it to the next level — seeing the CPU’s attack go through these stars. It’s no secret that Chelsea’s attack starts and often ends with Hazard, yet in FIFA he’s often isolated and too passive once he actually does receive the ball. Perhaps a star system like All-Pro Football 2K8 (gold, silver, bronze) would bring some much needed lethalness to the CPU’s attack.
Team Chemistry/Form Within Career Mode
To think that here we are in 2018 and team chemistry doesn’t play a factor in FIFA’s career mode is mind blowing. Leicester City won the Premier League a few years back against tremendous odds largely because of incredible chemistry and top form from their marquee players. Sadly, neither form nor chemistry matters inside of career mode, meaning you can swap formations, players and positions without any sort of punishment.
Moving a left back to striker is a bad idea because he might lack the skills required of that position, but a ratings drop will not occur nor will the team’s ability to jell suffer. In the congested fixture list that is the English Premier League’s December and January calendar, rotating your squad to ensure fresh legs is a much easier task in FIFA than it should be.
Since Ultimate Team incorporates chemistry, there is no reason anymore for its omission from career mode. One suggestion would be to use a PES-like chemistry rating, both on the individual level as well as team, where the value would increase once you get some matches together, and subsequently decrease as you try out new players and/or formations.
Team Style Tactics
First, the positive. Custom team tactics work for the first time in a few years. The negative: everything else. From the antiquated numerical values (seriously, what’s the difference between a “pressure” value of 40 and 47?) to the outdated approaches, FIFA’s attempt at implementing realistic team styles through tactics and instructions falls short of the mark. For as many official licenses as FIFA has its disposal, both club and league, the inability to replicate the beautiful game when it comes to tactics needs a serious upgrade.
While PES isn’t perfect, the limited official club licenses they have at least have their trademark styles. Liverpool, for example, implements its “Gegenpress” and counter-attacking style while Barcelona attempts to dominate possession with short passes through numerical advantages. FIFA could restrict the numerical values to sliders and simplify things with a simple selection. “High pressure” shouldn’t be triggered by moving the “pressure” slider until it hits “80” and so on. It should be as simple as just selecting it.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years when playing FIFA and PES online is how much tactics affect the action on the pitch in PES. Before matches in PES, online players will spend nearly their entire allotted time tweaking tactics. With nearly every major top license at its disposal, it’s time for FIFA to put them to use.
While distinguishing styles among clubs might be difficult to the untrained eye, there are plenty of resources available online to help in this endeavor.
Both companies have been guilty of borrowing features over the years and the trend most likely won’t stop any time soon. In a time where new features are hard to come by so sometimes, it helps to keep an eye on the competition. Sometimes the foundation for ideas is already out there, and all that’s required is a little tinkering. Let’s hope this continues and we, the soccer community, continue to reap the benefits.
What features would you like to see FIFA borrow from PES?
Tomorrow: We look at the flip side and see what PES could borrow from FIFA!