With the battle for the best football game back on for another year it's FIFA versus Pro Evolution Soccer once again. There are always two camps to which is better and fans, just like their support for the local team, voraciously speak out on which is better.
Having played both FIFA 06 and the latest incarnation of the Pro Evolution Soccer game, we have to say that we preferred FIFA, although can understand why some would love this version over the former.
The first thing to note is that PES5 is a lot easier to just pick up and play. FIFA might have the licence, a more polished front end and better overall presentation, but PES5 has more realistic gameplay on the pitch. This does have its side effects and if you are not careful you can be sent off for the odd nudge here and there before you even know it.
Where Pro Evolution falls down in my mind is the lack of real teams and real players in comparison to FIFA’s efforts. FIFA 06 contains over 21 leagues, 10,000 players and the latest 05/06 statistics, here it is Arsenal and Chelsea versus West Midlands Village or East London for the Master League. The game is peppered with the odd Football star - noteably Rio Ferdinand or Thierry Henry, but it's not enough to get you into that feeling of playing the league on your computer at home.
Likewise in comparison to FIFA, there are fewer gaming modes to keep you happy. It's quick match, Master League, Cup or Training here and while PES05 still fulfils the core elements of what you want, those looking for additional challenges will be disspointed.
As we said in the FIFA 06 review, there are two camps when it comes to the year's best football game and hardcore fans are unlikely to be swayed by what we say in this review.
For us, however, while we acknowledge the gameplay is better in PES5, it's the overall package of the latest FIFA that we prefer. If you aren't bothered about taking West Ham to the top of the league or winning the FA cup paying Reading FC then opt for PES5, if however the thought of playing a no brand league team is too upsetting then its FIFA 06 for you sonny Jim.