This year’s footy behemoth offers improved tackling, tactics and goalkeeping intelligence as well as a new story. Is it enough to see off PES?

The long-running video game rivalry between Fifa and Pro Evolution Soccer is every bit as partisan as Arsenal v Spurs or City v United. At least 90 per cent of football sim fans make their respective buying decisions long before either game hits the shelves: PES season ticket holders decry the opposition as all-style, no-substance, while Fifa disciples mock their foe’s licensing issues and off-key presentation. There’s little reasoning with either side.

The 2017-18 editions of the big two reveal those preconceptions to be built upon half-truths. PES 2018 does suffer from publisher Konami’s lack of riches comparative to EA’s, with Man Blue, Man Red and North East London duking it out for top-flight honours. Yet its on-field action is a touch more substantive, the smoothest passing system seen in a video game especially worthy of praise.

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