Xbox One Review: FIFA 17

Can FIFA up the ante to take on PES?

I’ve been playing FIFA and PES for a long time, always wondering what differences each year’s entry will bring. PES had fallen shy for a while in terms of competing with FIFA, but the series has shown great form over the past 2-3 years and this year’s game really took the fight directly to it for the first time in a long time. This of course, made me question…could this be the year that PES outdoes FIFA?
Maybe it won’t in terms of sales as FIFA is always a sure thing thanks to the licensed players and stadiums, which has always made PES lag behind. There’s a definite difference in gameplay between the two sports rivals, but who will come out on top this year?

FIFA 17 brings all the usual bells and whistles to the table, but it also brings something new…a story mode known as “The Journey” which is the main emphasis of this year’s game. The Journey starts you out as a little kid in a cup final, before moving forward to playing for academies and working your way up the ranks. It has melodrama, choice-based dialogue and a decent plot…but it isn’t for everyone. Some might just want to dive straight into a match or tournament, which you can still do of course…but some might see The Journey as the story football fans have always dreamed of.
The Frostbite engine is put to good use here, showing nice levels of detail both on and off the pitch. Player models are well animated, although as with each year you can see that they’ve still got some ways to go to hit that perfect look. Commentary is decent as always and an improvement overall, while the soundtrack is a mixed bag. The AI feels improved and the controls refined from last year’s game, but it honestly depends on if you prefer realistic controls or an arcade-feel to whether FIFA 17 is right for you or not.

The Verdict

The big question is who wins outright between FIFA 17 and PES 2017? The answer is actually neither. Both offer different experiences, different play styles and both are equally as good as each other. FIFA 17 does have The Journey to bring a real story mode to a football game for the first time, but it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but the rest of the game is a vast improvement over FIFA 16 and well worth a go. Bottom line is no matter what football game you pick up this year, you can’t really go wrong.

Score: 9.2