There is a quiet, almost imperceptible genius to PES 2016 that will leave players struggling to explain exactly why they have fallen in love with it.
This finely crafted soccer sim will be lauded by fans who, almost certainly, will base their judgments around the word "feel". As in, doing almost everything in PES 2016 feels fantastic, from fearless and desperate sliding tackles, to holding up the ball under pressure, to the heavenly wave of pride that comes with out thinking and turning a defender.
Such ethereal joys make PES 2016 wonderful in ways that its peers and predecessors are not. How developer PES Productions has delivered on this, however, is tricky to discern. Great design is transparent, goes the saying, and 2016's triumph does not come from a standout feature that can be snappily summarized on the back of the box. It's not your old smartphone but now with a fingerprint scanner. It's not Malibu Stacy with a new hat.
PES 2016 sings in your hands for more elaborate reasons, namely how it wonderfully converges two rather sexless elements: Physics and AI. The advances made in these fundamentals have achieved a more physical, smarter, strategic soccer sim for both football nerds and casual fans alike. It's more fluid, fluctuant, and alive than ever.
Above all else, the most meaningful stride forward is the new collision system, which so much now hinges on. Considering that soccer games live and die by their authenticity, and that dynamic physics systems almost inevitably throw up gif-worthy calamities, you have to commend the audacity of PES Productions for betting the whole farm on its new tech. What's quite remarkable is how faultless it has turned out to be, free from comical miscalculations and distorted momentum swings.