"FIFA or Pro Evo?" It’s a big question, not least because getting it wrong could make you sound – to unforgiving ears – sub-human. With billion-pound turnovers to worry about, gaming giants Electronic Arts (FIFA 09) and Konami (Pro Evolution Soccer 2009) are all set to unveil their latest instalments in the footie sim title race. And here’s some news: it’s no longer an unequivocal “Pro Evo all the way…” FHM tells you all you need to know about the forthcoming releases.

FIFA 09

What’s it about? Having all the official kits, correct player names and digitally rendered stadia. And now, the gameplay to back it up.

What’s new? According to EA, there are over 250 improvements in the game, including a jostle system, players wearing gloves in the snow, late kick-offs that turn to floodlit games at half-time and user-controlled player celebrations. Flash-pants (and, frankly, useless) aesthetics aside, there’s improved player movement, ten-on-ten online and a masterful squad tactics options.

Coolest feature? The “Adidas Live Season” wizadry that updates players form, injuries and attributes according to real-world happenings. Ronaldo crocked? You’ll have to stick Ji-Sung Park on the right instead.

When? It’s available on PC, PS3, Xbox 360 (also DS, PSP, PS2, Wii); from October 3.

 

PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2009

What’s it about? Significantly, professional footballers play “Pro”.  It may lack the plush graphics and official rights of its rival, but thanks to more realistic gameplay, has traditionally prospered in the eyes of those who know the game best. 

What’s new? Revamped off-the-ball movement, putting an end to screaming "Moooove!" at the screen as the ‘AI’ ignores your defence-splitting pass. There’s also an all-new physics engine for the ball, meaning delicately placed backspin and flicking the ball up for a volley “just like Matt Le Tiss” can now be part of your repertoire. Unfortunately though, there’s little sign of the radical overhaul the series needed to extend its dominance over FIFA.

Coolest feature? Konami have agreed a four-year Champions League License (complete with re-mixed theme tune), so you’ll now be able to win the Big Cup for real.

When? You’ll have to wait two weeks more for this one, from October 17.

THE VERDICT

FHM says: If, like us, you’ve played the absolute shit out of Pro Evo for years, it may be time for a re-think. Start by playing both demos online for an ‘informed’ decision. Marvel at the highly polished officialdom, improved gameplay and superior ‘manager’ modes of FIFA. Concede that it’s closer than ever before. Then buy Pro.

THE GAMES IN ACTION:

FIFA

 

PRO EVO