PES 2015 Review

Dan Webb

I’m going to be completely honest here. It’s been a few years since I last bought and played a PES game – like many many years, in fact. I’ve played them, previewed them on and off over the years, but this once PES stalwart has been a “FIFA guy” for a good five years, and with good reason. As any good rivalry goes though, it’s a back and forth affair, and for this non-loyal consumer, I have to say, the pendulum has swung back in favour of the once beloved PES franchise. Something we didn’t see coming.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I know what’s been under the PES bonnet for the last few years, what I will do is sit here and judge a football game from the perspective of a recent FIFA addict, a once PES zealot and general all-round football fanatic. Honesty is the best policy, right?

He must have a foot like a traction engine!

Back in the day, and even more so now, gameplay is king, and this year PES has almost nailed it. It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to pick up a PES game and go, “This is it. This feels like football.” Everything about PES 2015’s gameplay pins down what makes the modern game so enthralling. They’ve nailed the individuality, thanks to the top stars getting their own animations.

Konami has nailed the pace of the game, mainly down to the tightness of the controls and the ability to make subtle and deft touches. And finally, they’ve nailed the intensity of the game, which is a combination of the animations, the controls and the simple fact that you feel like you have complete control over what unfolds on-screen.

Granted, it’s not perfect. Sometimes the player reaction times can be ludicrously slow, making for some awkward moments. Then there’s the questionable pass choices at times – “See that guy two feet to my right, in space, pass to him… don’t pass to the guy stood behind three opposition defenders, or the one picking his arsehole in an offside position!” – and the rather frustrating manual player select which for some reason isn’t able to read my mind. Read my mind dammit! I’m a simple peon who’s easy to read. Also, the fact that you can’t cancel certain moves or pass directions is beyond ludicrous. That ref too, far too card happy! These foibles though don’t put a downer on the proceedings, it’s more a case of: “Hey Konami, these need to be fixed for PES 2016, please!”

PES does have a long way to go in terms of matching FIFA from a presentation standpoint. For every incredibly realistic representation of Ronaldo or Messi, is a generic recreation of your favourite player – just because they’re not one of the world’s best players doesn’t mean they should be given the Joe Bloggs treatment.

 Vive la France.

PES 2015’s matchday experience doesn’t have anything on FIFA either. The crowds are pixelated and apart from a few isolated instances of “Holy shit, that sounds amazing!”, the crowds can’t hold a candle to FIFA’s. Okay, so Jon Champion and Jim Beglin are decent commentators for the most part, but my god, do they need more lines! Repetitive is an understatement.

While the game takes strides forward on the pitch, from a backend perspective it still struggles somewhat. The game’s UI – especially in the team selection screen – is still clunky and ineffective. Sure, it’s definitely an improvement over years gone by, but it definitely needs work to make it more streamlined and user friendly. The fact that it has decent – and licensed! – menu music now though means that it’s clear Konami is learning though.

There’s a good selection of modes too, which range from unique world football competitions like the UEFA Champions League – with the amazing music – the Europa League, the Copa Libertadores, the AFC Champions League and Copa Sudamericana all the way through to their epic Master League. Even now, after all these years, the Master League makes me feel warm and fuzzy. On top of that there’s the Become a Legend mode – where you control one player – plenty of online options like online cups and online leagues, and of course, myClub, which although it might be a flagrant rip off of FIFA’s Ultimate Team, is actually pretty neat.

Whether you like to admit it or not, the lack of the licenses still holds the game back – especially for an English man like myself – which is a shame too, as they’ve nailed the presentation for the licensed world competitions they have.

Liquid football!

Unfortunately the online experience doesn’t rival that of the single-player. While the netcode seems to be stable enough, it seems like there’s a fraction of a second delay between what you press and what happens on-screen. It’s by no means game-breaking and is easily quite manageable, but the pace and intensity I discussed earlier definitely isn’t quite as applicable.

From an achievement standpoint, the less said about it the better. Firstly, they’re all secrets. Yes, a football game… with secret achievements. Idiots. Secondly, they’re pretty pants anyway. The two cardinal sins of achievement list creation. Come to think of it, I’ve probably actually put more effort into this achievement paragraph than they did in the entire list. Genuinely. In short: boring. Boring and lazy. Boring, lazy and completely shit.

So there you have it, aside from the god awful achievements PES 2015 is actually pretty damn good this year. FIFA might have it beat in presentation, licenses and modes, but where it matters, on the pitch, PES has FIFA beaten this year. Hands down. Now, put that in your pipe and smoke it. Smoke it all up.

PES 2015

A triumphant return for PES this year, after spending many years rotting away in the lower leagues. While PES 2015 might not match EA and FIFA’s spending power in terms of licenses and what not, where it matters, on the pitch, this ageing superstar is getting a recall to the first eleven.

Form widget

PES, in my experience, has usually been terrible in this respect… this year, it’s actually pretty decent. Menu music is great and commentary is solid, albeit a little repetitive.


At times PES looks beautiful, from the player animations to some player likenesses, but at other times, it’s jarringly average.


PES is back, baby. It’s back!


A solid robust package from Konami this year. As always, it’s all about the Master League.


They’re all secret achievements… for a football game. I’m not sure they understand how achievements work, to be fair. Even knowing what they all are, they’re a bit generic. And by bit, we mean a lot.

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