FIFA 14 vs Pro Evo 2014: Which Football Game Should You Get?S

There are two football games on the market. The vast majority of people will only buy one of them. So which one should you buy?

Last year, it was a tough call. This year, it is not.

Instead of reviewing each game separately, I'm going to compare each of them with regards to the important stuff. See where each one shines with regards to the competition. That way, even if you don't want to heed my final advice, you can at least break each game down and see which one is the right game for you.

Some things to note before we begin. FIFA 14 feels in many ways to be a "best of" album. Don't expect too many changes or improvements. The next generation of consoles has required a new generation of sports games, and I excuse EA if they've had to spend most of their time and money on the Xbox One/PS4 versions of the game.

Pro Evo, meanwhile, is all-new, thanks to a shift to Konami's in-house Fox Engine. In many ways, it feels like a next-gen game on current-gen systems. In other ways, though...

FIFA 14 vs Pro Evo 2014: Which Football Game Should You Get?S

VISUALS

FIFA 14: Have you played FIFA 10? 11? 12? 13? This basically looks the same. A creaking engine bids farewell, and not a moment too soon. In 2013 the cartoon player models and twitchy animation is starting to look very dated, and no amount of fancy pre-game intros can change that.

PES 2014: It is, for the most part, beautiful. A new engine does wonders. Player models for big stars look terrifyingly realistic, kits are detailed, crowds are alive and stadiums look wonderful. The animation is butter-smooth (UPDATE: I played it on PC, but I'm hearing of frequent stutters on console). If you squint, you'll think you're playing a next-gen game a few months early.

Winner: PES 2014.

ON THE PITCH

FIFA 14: See above. Not many changes this year to a tried and tested formula. A new shooting system works a lot better than you think it will, providing more satisfying efforts and more varied - and realistic - trajectories. Aside from that, though, it's your standard arsenal of quick passes, skill moves and the first-touch stick.

PES 2014: Hrm. In the middle of the park, it's perfect. Smooth animations and a "heavy" feel to the players lead to physical contests and a more realistic competition for possession. The fact the ball is totally separate from the player's feet also leads to great contact between players. In attack, though, it completely falls apart. The game's too slow for the intricate attacking moves you need to score on anything other than the counter; both shooting and passing sometimes feel like they take an eternity to let loose.

Winner: FIFA 14

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

FIFA 14: You know what? Mostly the same as last year's. There's a pattern emerging here. Through-balls felt smarter though, which was a nice change from the last few years.

PES 2014: Perhaps the biggest problem with Konami's effort. Passes routinely go to the wrong player. The AI will select the wrong defender at a crucial moment. Defending in the box is a comedy routine. Certain throughballs will ALWAYS go out of bounds. For a series that used to be the smarter one, it's a real disappointment.

Winner: FIFA 14

FIFA 14 vs Pro Evo 2014: Which Football Game Should You Get?S

LICENSING

FIFA 14: The usual array of domestic licenses, including the all-important Premier League, make this the game to get if you need to be playing as the real stars in their real kits. The state of national team licensing needs to be sorted out, though; it feels like every year less and less of them are fully licenses, replaced by replica teams in awful fake jerseys.

PES 2014: Yes, it has the Champions League. And some other major European leagues, like Spain and Italy. But the fact the Premier League and Bundesliga aren't there will kill this game for many. Its national team licensing is as bad as FIFA's.

Winner: FIFA 14

COMMENTARY

FIFA 14: Sure, there are plenty of recycled lines, given we've had the same commentary team for a few years now, but there were also a surprising number of new ones as well. The best part? I heard Martin Tyler tell the same silly anecdote about Norwich twice, only he recorded it in two different ways.

PES 2014: An embarrassment. The worst commentary in modern sports gaming somehow got worse, thanks to the addition of a system where the game tries to create organic sentences by mixing team names with canned lines, but comes off sounding like Stephen Hawking after six pints.

Winner: FIFA 14

MENUS

FIFA 14: Surprisingly, it got a complete overhaul. And it's awesome. The best menu in sports video games. Rather than a bewildering array of buttons, it's grouped more like the Xbox 360 dashboard (with a dash of Google Now), everything laid out in giant contextual tiles. It works perfectly, making getting through career modes a breeze. Well done, EA.

PES 2014: Shocking. The PS2 would be ashamed of this menu system. It somehow got substantially worse than last year's, which wasn't great to start with. It looks like something a JRPG from 1997 would have used. It's not intuitive, is slow, and leaves many important features buried where you'll need to check the internet to find them. God help you if you're going to be spending 100 hours in career mode...

Winner: FIFA 14

FIFA 14 vs Pro Evo 2014: Which Football Game Should You Get?

CAREER MODES

FIFA 14: Some slight improvements in terms of communicating your progress and standing, but largely unchanged from last year. Manager mode is fine, but player careers need some tweaking; I was playing for England before I was starting for...Bolton.

PES 2014: Another area where Pro Evo didn't just fail to improve, but took a step back. Master League and career mode have been stripped of equipment and press conferences, and I quit my first player career after sitting for twenty minutes cycling through the menu without ever getting picked for a game.

Winner: FIFA 14

MULTIPLAYER

Note: I reviewed Pro Evo on PC, where multiplayer is practically non-existent. I didn't think it fair to compare the two because of this, but note that a lot of stuff above, like teammate AI and menus, makes as big an impact on multiplayer as it does in singleplayer.

OVERALL

Winner: FIFA 14.

FIFA 14 wins in a landslide, helped by a number of own goals from Konami. Despite an ageing engine and lack of many real updates other than a new menu, FIFA 14 feels like a refinement, a final perfection of current-generation football games.

Pro Evo, on the other hand, seems to have put all its eggs in the basket marked "New Engine". While it's visually stunning, and in some ways plays a more beautiful game of football, it's undone by several fundamental issues both on the park and off. The fact many peripheral aspects of the game have even regressed doesn't help the game's cause.