FIFA 18 vs PES 2018 full review

Manchester United vs Liverpool. Barcelona vs Real Madrid. Norwich vs Ipswich. FIFA vs Pro Evo. Football and rivalries go hand in hand and it’s no exception when it comes to video games.

Pro Evo has been around since 2001, whereas the FIFA franchise dates back to 1993’s FIFA International Soccer in all its weird isometric glory. Nowadays there’s no doubt that FIFA sells more and makes more headlines, but is it actually better?

Both games represent a solid year-on-year upgrade for FIFA and Pro Evo, but which should you splash your hard-earned cash on? We played both on Xbox One to find out.

Price and availability

If you want to save some money, you’ll find PES 2018 cheaper than FIFA 18. PES retails for around £34.99, with FIFA about £10 more at £46.99.

It depends where you buy, and if you want the Ronaldo Edition of FIFA it’ll cost even more. Here are your options:

Click here to view PES 2018 on Amazon

Click here to view PES 2018 at GAME

Click here to view FIFA 18 on Amazon

Click here to view FIFA 18 at GAME

Gameplay and look & feel

FIFA may grace more living rooms, but this year Pro Evo can claim to be just as engaging – just in different ways. FIFA 18 improves crossing, with more pace injected into the play, resulting in some lovely looking goals (and row Z misses, naturally).

Pro Evo’s dribbling is enhanced from previous versions, though the strength stats of players often overly affects the balance of play more than it should as it’s easier to shove or be shoved off the ball. But the passing is debatably better on Pro than FIFA, with the power bar still present and passes zipping through defences with pleasing pace.

Gameplay on FIFA 18

Passing on FIFA is comparatively slower and can be frustrating. It’s also good how Pro Evo encourages you to run into space and onto balls more than FIFA’s auto-run leanings. But if you’re used to FIFA then you won’t have a problem with that, and four way FIFA flows where PES can become scrappy thanks to the looser game mechanics.

Multiplayer is still a polished riot on FIFA. Whether you go online or get four people in a room, the experience is near flawless now, except for the new penalty taking system carried over from FIFA 17 that continues to infuriate. With full licensing rights to leagues, players, teams, stadiums and live form of players, it feels like the slick brand of football you find on Sky Sports these days.

Die hard football fans might not like that, but it sure does sell. And it is very fun.

PES is by comparison a bit more rough and ready. Despite the Champions League license to include full teams like Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund, the only Premier League teams named are Liverpool and Arsenal. Others are represented as teams with names like East London, East Sussex, Man Blue and Man Red.

PES 2018 gameplay

You can make custom kits to get around this on PS4 and PC (not the Xbox version), but you won’t want to. Buy FIFA 18 if it bothers you.

PES fans put up with this if they prefer the gameplay, but it does take away from the experience of playing, and it’s odd to have player names and likenesses but with no team names or the correct kits. It’s also annoying how PES shows you replays of near misses, corners and set plays that don’t result in goals. This is true to real life football matches on TV, but it breaks up the play too much and FIFA is wise to do it far less often.

Barcelona are one of the few licensed teams in PES 2018

Commentary is also better on FIFA, thanks to the naming rights to all the teams. The variety gets better every year, whereas two quick games of PES has the commentator screaming the same lines time after time.

Overall, if you can hack the sacrifice of team licensing, PES 2018 may well have the upper hand on FIFA 18, despite the improvements in the latter.

Game modes

The Journey makes a comeback on FIFA 18 with The Journey: Hunter Returns. It is a curious approach to single player in a football game, but just like last year it is entertaining enough to hold attention, although progress is far slower than ploughing through a regular 38 game season in career mode.

You can download the Alex Hunter you played as in FIFA 17 or start afresh, and the style is cut scenes of Alex’s progress in his fledgling career, training (which you have to do well in to progress) and match play, where sometimes you get sent on in the eightieth minute to try and score the winner.

It’s interesting to fail and be punished for it both by your fellow characters in the game and by having to go back to the last save spot, but it does tick by fairly slowly. The interaction with famous players and faces is fun thanks to the Frostbite game engine, but you’ll want to get your mates back round for multiplayer after a few hours.

PES’ career mode is much more traditional and scattered, with the limited appeal of Master League and MyClub paling in comparison FIFA Ultimate Team, both in terms of features and number of online community. PES has the cool Random Select Match feature which lets you trade players between matches to mix things up, but it’s tacked on.

PES’ Master League offers a transfer system but it isn’t very true to life, and could do with being more challenging to get the best players in the world. In their correct kits and stadiums. So, on FIFA. Poor old Pro Evo.


The facial graphics in cut scenes and close ups is plainly superior on FIFA 18. While Ronaldo and Harry Kane among those who lent their faces to the promotional materials and had their faces extensively scanned, even Championship and League One players have decent likenesses. It makes a huge difference.

Pro Evo gets most Premier League players right, but delve deeper and the results are questionable. Konami have paid to have a Liverpool legends team but Ian Rush looks like a real-life Luigi. It’s not great.

But then the pace of the graphics in regular gameplay in Pro Evo is awesome, injecting fluidity and pace into the top down view where FIFA still feels a tad too slow.

It may also sound like a minor thing, but the menus in PES are terrible. FIFA’s sheen is too squeaky clean for some, but the menus and charts are engaging and invite you to tinker. PES is much more a bash-A-to-skip-this-experience affair – which is a shame because its tactical options are more advanced than FIFA’s.

Best prices today: FIFA 18

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