Choosing a football game to entertain you throughout the year is a matter of personal taste. It’s unlikely that a single review is ever going to sway your opinion towards any particular football game, particularly with such a competitive market out there offering different takes on emulating the football experience.
Football fans and true gamers will know that there are two beasts of the industry that command the most attention and more importantly sales from their fans: EA’s Fifa and the opposing force of Konami in the form of their Pro Evolution Soccer series. The general consensus is that Fifa has always come out on top; it does after all have the official Premier League licenses, superior multiplayer functionality, and a more refined and polished appearance, and up until the end of 2012, it unquestionably had the upper hand. Howver, Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 contains a considerable re-working of the core elements of pitch-based gameplay and some tightening up of the control system in order to produce an experience that at very least can rival that of Fifa’s. So how does 2013’s offering from Konami measure up?
Looking at the gameplay, there has been an astounding amount of improvement since Pro Evolution Soccer 2012, with significant overhauling of the AI (both teammate and opponent), the general pace of the matches, and the controls have been given much more depth and refinement, so much so that it feels almost like an entirely different beast altogether. Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 was plagued with gameplay shortcomings such as the physics, the unresponsiveness of the players, and the ridiculously sub-par AI of your teammates who would all but ignore the ball unless it dropped right underneath their noses, and even then they were slow to react. PES 2013 is a culmination of the developer’s efforts in recent titles to transform the game into something that is accessible yet has depth, and most of all, gives you the most amount of control over the ball.
The so-called ‘PES Full Control’ feature is a feature of the game that enables you to have more control over the ball and its position on the pitch (more so than Fifa). You can use the L2 button to shoot the ball in any direction within a 360 degree zone, with the distance of your shot dependent on the length of time you hold down the triangle/circle button. Much like Fifa’s First Touch system, the quality of your shot depends on your level of skill, your position on the field, and the proximity of other players around you. The dribbling mechanic also allows you to make the lightest touches on the ball count, with various skills available for execution.
It’s not all improvements and positives, though, since it seems that the attention paid to the fundamental aspects of the football experience meant the neglect of the visual aspects of the game. Whilst the graphics are impressive and have seen improvement, the design of the menus and the general presentation is fairly poor. Some would say that it is simply the raw look that PES is known for, but it’s about time that the aesthetics of the off-pitch facets of the game were given some serious attention. At least with some aesthetic improvements, PES could be considered a game to seriously content with every aspect of Fifa, though it would also need to beef up its online gameplay considerably before this happens, since it is lacklustre compared to Fifa’s engaging multiplayer.
In all, Pro Evolution soccer 2013 is easily the best incarnation of the game yet, offering up some great graphics, some astoundingly realistic and highly controllable gameplay, and the classic master league (though it is in need of some revamping to make it last). PES 2013 is a serious threat to Fifa’s dominance because of this new-found excellence and depth of play, and it seems it can only get better in 2014.