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Screenshot of PES 2016 Cover Neymar

PES 2016 is an acronym that stands for Pro Evolution Soccer 2016, a game developed by PES Productions. It is the last installment in a long series of games published by Konami for PCs and all modern consoles. This game is the 15th title in the franchise and the biggest challenger to EA Sports and their FIFA 16. It has Neymar on the game cover and goes by the name of Winning Eleven in Japan.

Key facts about PES 2016

  • PES 2016 continues the legacy of success that PES Productions started nearly 2 decades ago.
  • The videogame celebrates football and features all the important modern athletes, as well as some legends.
  • PES 2016 is regarded as more dynamic and responsive than FIFA 16 as well as all its predecessors.
  • The game was criticized for investing little in more engaging commentary, which can sometimes feel repetitive.
  • PES 2016 has the rights and licenses for all important UEFA competitions until 2018.

The PES 2016 games

PES 2016 doesn’t ignore any of the European Leagues, while paying just as much attention to international competitions. The franchise is famous for allowing players to choose and play with even small teams from inferior divisions. Many teams are still unlicensed, but regular football fans as well as those who play video games a lot won’t mind too much.

The games are fast flowing and action never stops, with the emphasis being on offensive football. This is something similar to FIFA 16, a game that persuades players to come out of their own half often. In PES 2016, it is less difficult to take the ball from an advancing striker, then in the EA Sports counterpart. This makes the game more realistic, without hurting the gaming experience or encouraging players to dig in.

What is PES 2016

Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 commonly referred to as PES 2016 is a football simulation game published by Konami. It was developed by PES Productions, the same company that published all the previous 14 editions in the series. The game improves on the functional concepts of its predecessors, while refining some of the core mechanics. It is also the best looking game in the series and one that responds beautifully on PCs and consuls.

Gameplay of PES 2016

PES 2016 gameplay is dynamic but allows for a great deal of strategy and players often feel like coaches. Unlike conventional football managers, in which players watch the game from the bench, this one also delivers the hands-on experience. Players need to pay attention to every single detail and manage their footballers intelligently. It’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each player to win matches. Fast players often get stranded up front and caught in an offside, or unable to reach the ball.

Screenshot of PES 2016 Casillas Save
Screenshot of PES 2016 Casillas Save

Ideally, players will understand the strengths of footballers and try to devise a tactic that will tap into their potential. It is always possible to do the exact opposite and try to make players respond to your strategy instead. Automation is not the strong suit of this game, so players are compelled to act directly. A good manager is one capable of changing the strategy during the match if needed, to respond to a goal. For all this complexity, the PES 2016 gameplay feels very natural and intuitive even for beginners.

Plot of PES 2016

PES 2016 continues the legacy of its predecessors, by placing the emphasis on the multiplayer. It doesn’t have a single player campaign per se, or missions that need to be completed in a sequence. Players however can create teams from scratch using both contemporary footballers and legends. This will appeal mostly to those who know a great deal about football and have a grand strategy in mind.

Action takes place on a total of 24 stadiums, with fewer for the PC version, due to licensing issues. Some more stadiums were released by the developers after the original game, as a part of the DLC pack. During the single player missions, as well as multiplayer games, commentary is provided by Jim Beglin and Peter Drury. They do a fine job at highlighting the events on the pitch, but have rather few lines to say.

Development of PES 2016

PES 2016 was released on time, something that isn’t surprising for the developers of this franchise. Work on the sports simulators started immediately after the 2015 version hit the stores, using the latest technologies. The developers paid attention to the recommendations made by players, to address some of the sensitive issues. More players were added, the rosters of all teams were brought up to date and new stadiums were introduced.

Screenshot of PES 2016 Cristiano Ronaldo
Screenshot of PES 2016 Cristiano Ronaldo

Where can I download PES 2016?

Konami is the publisher of the game, so it comes as no surprise that you can download PES 2016 from their official website. There are a couple of other juicy little nuggets that can be found here, such as the three Data Packs. The first one was released in late October 2015, with new teams and players being added. The second installment was also made available to the general audience on the same year, in early December. The Estadio do Maracana was thrown into the mix alongside 51 new players.

The third major downloadable content was unveiled in March 2016 two months before the start of UEFA Euro 2016. Most of the participating teams were added as well as the stadiums where the matches took place in France. Those who are in the market for sports simulators can also play FIFA 16, Madden NFL 16, NBA 2K16 or EA Sports UFC 2.

What are others saying about PES 2016?

The fans expected Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 to outshine the EA Sports rival in every imaginable way. While expectations were high, the developers didn’t come short and the game was rated at more than 90 out of 100. While regarded as the best football game of the year, it was a significant improvement from all the prequels. The physicality of the game generated mixed emotions, with some considering the game to be a bit too physical.

Players were pleasantly surprised by how much the AI was improved and by the new dynamic physics engine. Collision between players is more realistic and footballers send the ball to the opponents net as their real life counterparts. Some criticism was generated by the character models, as well as the referee’s attitude towards fouls. The versions for all consoles received similar ratings, surpassed only by the one for Microsoft Windows systems.

PES 2016 tournaments

The PES League presents players with a chance to prove their skills against other players. Granted the AI has been improved significantly, the most satisfying wins are the ones played against real people. The competition is played across the entire Pro Evolution Soccer network and pits players against each other. The league is also monitored for fairness and those who break the rules are penalized. However, the ones who operate the PES League chose not to shed any light on how they identify fraud.

Screenshot of PES 2016 Real Madrid Stadium
Screenshot of PES 2016 Real Madrid Stadium

In the great scheme of things, the PES annual calendar is a small competition, significantly behind major eSports. While it can’t compete with the income generated by major MOBA tournaments, such as League of Legends, Dota 2 or SMITE, it is in a league of its own when it comes to sports. Anyone can get involved in the PES League as long as they own a PlayStation console. It is also possible to sign up over Steam and once they join, players will get to see all the available tournaments.

My rating of PES 2016

I really feel for football simulation developers. The fans expect them to come up with a better product every year and surprise them on many levels. Unfortunately, the sport hasn’t changed too much since it was invented and I can’t see how developers can work wonders. At the same time, nobody is putting a gun to their head and force them to release a new game every year. Now that I’ve got this off my chest, I’ll tell you what I think about PES 2016.

To say that it is the best football simulation game I’ve ever played will be an understatement. I’ve played a lot and I also happen to be an avid fan and a pretty competent punter. I love the way players move across the field, how they pass and shift from offense to defense. I’ve spent some quality time weaving strategies before the game, trying to come up with a plan that will bring down even the best backline.

It’s always fun to see that your plans come to fruition if you work hard enough and this is exactly what PES 2016 delivers. I stop short of giving it a perfect score, but I think that anything short of 9.5 out of 10 would do it a major injustice.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Score
9.5
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