If the English Premier League could be defined by a video game it would be EA Sports' FIFA 16. Both are the biggest, brashest, and most commercially successful brands of football around, each relying on star power and mass appeal to provide their thrills. Matches are direct and fast-paced, with wing play, early through balls, and sprinting as common in FIFA 16 as they are in a closely fought battle between Southampton and Manchester City. PES might well be for the more discerning follower of the beautiful game, but FIFA still manages to outdo it on sheer spectacle alone.
The trouble is, the spectacle comes at the cost of complexity. While you often see teams shunning convention and attempting an entirely new style of play, FIFA 16 aims for no such diversity. Once you've become accustomed to the patterns of player movement and potential passing angles, you quickly realise that you're never going to experience a situation or event that you've not already seen before. This is a series that is hesitant to take risks and alter its profitable formula; a formula that is becoming increasingly limiting with each passing year. Don't get me wrong, FIFA 16 is still an enjoyable experience it's just not a diverse or intricate one.
With so much success to be gained from playing the run-focused, direct passing game, the difference between winning and losing often comes down to sticking with what you know and concentrating on not making mistakes, as opposed to actively looking for creative ways to break down a defence. While the dramatic ways in which it's possible to score goals deliver sharp bursts of triumph, playing to the now routine FIFA formula eliminates any feeling of individual brilliance. In a different world one without PES 16 this formula might still appeal. But with PES showing what's possible when you take the reins off and allow for, in particular, midfielders that can control a game in a calm and collected manner, the game starts to lose its shine.