At A Glance:

  • Uses Fox engine
  • Physicality plays a much larger role
  • Slower-paced
  • Improved goalkeepers and animation
  • Morale/motivation system based on player form and the crowd reactions

The more the years go on, the closer PES and FIFA come to each other until they essentially overlap. FIFA 14 has opted for quicker play, PES 2014 has gone for physicality. Those worried about the new engine should rest easy though: this is still PES, just slower and more considered.

Whereas 2013 could be pretty hectic, the FOX engine's focus on actually controlling the ball and working it for space lends the game a more controlled air. That said, players dallying on the ball will soon find it snatched away. A delicate balance of speed and control is needed to get through opponent's defences.

Passing itself didn't feel as crisp as PES 2013 - often going astray or into the wrong player's passing lane, but when I managed to speed up the play and cut through my opponent with four quick passes and a defence-killing through ball it felt just as good as before.

Shooting is better than last year, with more weight being attributed to your shots, removing the feeling that you're kicking a balloon. Better goalkeepers (and goalkeeping animations) also make saves and goals more satisfying.

Konami is also stating that whether you play at home or away influences the game in ways beyond the aesthetic. Teams will now have a morale/motivation stat that informs the way they perform: playing well will see the crowd react, which will then feed back to the players. It wasn't possible to see this in action, but if it works it could be an interesting addition.

Worries about whether the Fox engine would fundamentally change the way the game plays appear to be unfounded then, but this new PES may take players a while to get used to.