Another year inevitably sees the latest iterations of the video game industry’s hottest sports titles roll around. With respect to football (soccer), EA has ruled the roost for over a decade with its FIFA franchise, while Konami’s PES – once king of the hill in the early 2000s – has been left trailing in the dust. But there’s no question that the latter has been fast making up ground as of late, offering a far more polished package that is fast bridging the gap between the two.
FIFA, on the other hand, almost feels like it’s reached a ceiling recently – at least with respect to its presentation and gameplay. The formula continues to evolve, but it doesn’t feel like it necessarily has to go anywhere in particular. It’s already very good. The big point of difference most recently has been the introduction of a story-driven career mode, The Journey, as well as honing its popular FIFA Ultimate Team mode (FUT). But PES has its own bag of new tricks for 2019.
At E3 2018, I went hands-on with both FIFA 19 and PES 2019 and had a chance to speak with developers from both EA and Konami about the key innovations lined up this year. Here’s what I learned, and what I think of the two games.