Each and every year, EA Sports and Konami go head-to-head in attempting to grab the footballing crown and this year is no different. Both FIFA 11 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 are due for release this month. Without further ado, let’s head over to our match reporter.

Pre-Match Training

There’s no better way of developing your skills than getting some practice in, which both titles have catered for with the inclusion of training modes. The training game modes in FIFA 11 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 are very similar, both offering the same options – whether it be set pieces or practice matches. However, FIFA 11 goes that step further with the easily-accessible Arena Mode, which allows the player to use their virtual pro one-on-one against the goalkeeper. Based on this, FIFA 11 has nabbed the early goal.

Score: FIFA 11 1-0 PES11

Kick-Off – Gameplay

Improvements have been made to both titles in the gameplay department this year, with Pro Evolution Soccer seeing the most dramatic alterations. These include the introduction of a 360 degrees passing system, the implementation of new tricks and skills and tackling (especially slide-tackling) requires more care. Likewise, FIFA 11 has been slowed down, passing is a lot smoother, heading has been improved and scoring has become more difficult, all of which contribute to a more realistic gameplay. Despite being better than before, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 hits the woodwork with this one as it still isn’t up to the standard set by FIFA 11 – which doubles its tally just before the break.

Score: FIFA 11 2-0 PES11

Half Time – Graphics/Audio/Licensing

From a development point of view, there is a clear winner. EA Sports has once again obtained the licenses for all the leagues and teams, putting Konami to shame with Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 only featuring Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs from the English league. FIFA 11 also has the edge graphically, containing finer player models and designs, as well as impressive stadiums. To add insult to injury, the EA Sports soundtrack is as strong as ever, containing hits from the likes of Gorillaz, Linkin Park and Scissor Sisters. In off the crossbar, it’s another goal for FIFA 11.

Score: FIFA 11 3-0 PES11

Single Player – Career Mode/Master League

The Pro Evolution Soccer Master League has been the highlight of each edition of the game and the tradition has continued into the 2011 version. Whereas FIFA 11’s Career Mode comes to an end after a number of seasons, Master League is on-going and sees gamers building up a squad from nothing and taking them to the top leagues and competitions. This year, Konami has introduced an online version which sees players earning money from the matches they win against human opponents. FIFA 11’s Career Mode has also seen improvements, mostly coming in the form of a presentation overhaul. Nevertheless, it’s not quite enough to top Pro Evolution Soccer’s Master League which has pulled one back, but is it too late for a comeback?

Score: FIFA 11 3-1 PES11

Virtual Pro/Be A Legend

Creating and controlling a single in-game player became quite popular when it was introduced into FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer a few years ago. This year, EA Sports has allowed players to control the goalkeeper in FIFA 11. Unfortunately, this does come with its problems that will likely to be patched later in the year. Konami’s Be A Legend game mode now contains managerial instructions which add a sense of realism to the game. Pro Evolution Soccer 11 has certainly hit FIFA 11 on the counter attack with this one and has been awarded with a vital goal.

Score: FIFA 11 3-2 PES11

Online Game Modes

As we approach the end of the match, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011’s legs appear to be tiring with a distinct lack of online game modes, only featuring a head-to-head mode. Meanwhile, FIFA 11 contains a whole range of online game modes — including “Team Play”, which can see up to 22 gamers playing out a single match. Based on the range of game modes it offers, FIFA 11 scores with the last kick of the game to seal the victory.

Final Score: FIFA 11 4-2 PES11

Post-Match Analysis

The final whistle has blown and FIFA 11 has come out on top. Whereas Pro Evolution Soccer has certainly made up ground against its rival, FIFA has proven the better of the two and taken all three points. They think it’s all over, it is now!

 — The Xbox 360 versions of FIFA 11 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 were used for this feature. FIFA 11 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 are available to purchase on all platforms from all games retailers.

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