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PES 2013 Review

Man Blue have had a very frustrating match, they have dominated possession, hit the post three times and had so much of the ball that the other team may as well have gone home and just left their goalkeeper on the pitch. With 90 minutes now past it looks like they'll never score, but wait what's this? A cross from the left into the Copenhagen box, a chance for Aguero to score? surely not, his back is to goal. He has a crack on the volley with an overhead kick, IT'S IN, IT'S A GOAL!!!!

The above probably best describes my experience with Konami's latest entry into the PES series. Full of frustration, but at the same time, joy. The frustration all begins when you put in the disc. The first menu to pop up will throw you into training, giving you a chance to get used to the huge amount of changes to gameplay in this year's version. First of all it will give you an example of how to pull off specific moves, then it'll be your turn to learn the new skill and it is not always easy. New moves include the likes of trapping the ball in mid-air for a volley, long ball lofts and precision shooting. Some of these moves are actually quite tricky to pull off and given that the game won't let you progress until you have perfected them, you'll be an expert before you know it.

Away from the training field, one of the things that pleases me most about this year's PES is that it has its swagger back. I love football games that frustrate me, because the real-life sport does too. There is nothing quite like things not going your way, only for you to hit a last gasp equalizer and scream with joy at the TV, this is what PES does for me. The game almost teases you with goals, seeing your team hit the post or head over the bar from close range. You will feel like throttling your players at half time, then eventually it will come together and all is right again.

As with previous games, PES 2013 has plenty to keep you entertained both on and off the pitch with Exhibitions matches and cups that can be played locally or online. You can also take part in the Champions League and the Copa Libertadores de America, again both offline or online. Perhaps the biggest selling point for PES though is the Football Life mode, in which you can start a Career as Player/Manager in either Europe or South America. Each season will see you take your team through the leagues and, if you're good enough, compete in Europe and the domestic cup competitions. If you wish you can also play this mode in the style of Become a Legend, allowing you to take control of just one player, or you can play the entire competition online.

A typical season in Football Life will see you play through the season calendar, gaining rewards, signing players and getting advice from your female assistant. The cutscene moments can be a bit 'cheesy,' for want of a better word, thanks to the lack of dialogue and thumping music which accompanies the subtitles. It also sometimes feels like these sections of the season drag on a little, however once you are out on the park all is forgiven.

Being manager you can of course set tactics either manually or with pre-sets. If you are feeling uncomfortable with the responsibility then you can also get your coach to take control. Once out on the pitch though everything is in your hands. It's here the real fun begins and this is also where you will notice the majority of the improvements in this year's version. Defenses are now tighter, closing down the line quicker - which of course means more offside decisions against the attacking teams. Attack has also been improved to counter this, meaning players will run the line to avoid defensive traps, although they aren not always successful. 

What I love most about the action on the pitch is that it always feels like you have a teammate to pass to; there is always someone open or making space and while it is tougher to score goals, this does make for a more exciting match. As I mentioned earlier, there are a whole bunch of new moves for you to get to grips with, allowing you to nutmeg on-rushing defenders, loft lob balls into the opposition box and also tackle with better effect. Other improvements include better dribbling and more control over your passes and shots at goal, meaning that you are not as likely to balloon one nearer the corner flag than the goal.

Improvements also stretch to the superstars of football. Big name players are now more recognizable thanks to new animations and realistic likenesses. Not only that, but their specific skills are also present and correct, meaning that you are going to have to be extra careful when taking on teams which include the likes of Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo.

Of course PES is not perfect. While the commentary is getting better year by year, to me the game is still let down a little in the presentation stakes. The menus in PES feel to me like they belong in the PS2 era, being slow to use and clumsy. One positive about the menus though is that they are not packed with unnecessary information; if you want to start a match, then you can, without having to negotiate your way through about twenty different options.

Away from the menus, the rest of the presentation in PES seems to be improving every year. Players do look more like their real life versions. Animation on the park also has a marked improvement, players no longer look like they are struggling to run, while the ball now zips nicely along the grass, rather than floating along it. The game does still have a little catching up to do in terms of FIFA's 'Sky Sports' style TV presentation, both before and after matches, although it is certainly getting there. Who knows, maybe once PES is running on the fox engine it will finally match its rival in this area?

To be fair PES has never really been too concerned with presentation anyway, instead focusing on what matters - the football. Over the years, Seabass and his team have usually got it right when it comes to the action on the pitch; sure they may have lost their way a little for the past few games, but what team doesn't have its dry spells?

In my opinion, it was only a matter of time until PES once again hit its stride on the football field. Which team will win players hearts this year remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, it is going to be a close game, in fact it may even go to penalties. 

Review Policy (Version tested: Xbox 360)

Edited On 17 Sep, 2012

( 14 )
Anonymous user's avatar
KARL 4 years ago
got to be fifa this year PES just feels like an arcade game from 15 years ago
ukdazza's avatar
You are entitled to your opinion but this is a classic FIFA fan comment. PES use to be like this, its improved drastically this year. Have you played both demo's?
ukdazza 4 years ago
Anonymous user's avatar
IAIN 4 years ago
I couldn't help but be disappointed by this years demo. I've decided to go Fifa again this year but I am in no way a fanboy. I'll happily move to PES once the quality is there.
Anonymous user's avatar
joshua peter alan 4 years ago
Think im gonna go fifa again this year. Pes has better gameplay and like u stated it does frustrate you cause you have to change tactics all the time and makes you work for a goal were fifa you can score like 10 goals in a game, but due to the lack of licences on pes i just hate being unable to play my proper football club and the names that are wrong to just annoy me to much. but Pes online is better then fifa at least you have a server liwere ea rubbish matchmaking always plays you against somone with a bad connection
ukdazza's avatar
Ironically I actually felt that getting goals on PES was a lot easier than on FIFA. I scored plenty per demo game on PES vs not many at all on FIFA. With most FIFA games being a boggey midfield affair with a lot of strain on my poor controller. However I have ordered both as I couldn't decide which was better. Will sell the one I play least after first week.
ukdazza 4 years ago
Kizzy's avatar
Kizzy 4 years ago
I'm not very good at Football games and I only just recently got into FIFA 12. I tried out the first PES demo and I just could not play it, so i have FIFA 13 ready and pre-ordered and will be paying for it when i can get round to it.
Bindiana's avatar
Bindiana 4 years ago
I always preferred PES always had to work to score where fifa was more like once you found a way to score you keep doing it so PES gives more variety but admit they have lost there way last few years.
ukdazza's avatar
ukdazza 4 years ago
Having played the PES demo 1 & 2 I preordered it. Always a FIFA person only to be converted to PES whilst at uni 2005. I then lost faith as PES lost its way returning to the comfort of my security blanket FIFA. PES is a return to glory but its not quite winning me over 100% as having played the FIFA demo at the weekend I preordered FIFA as well :) PES is back. Next year it will challenge FIFA properly. FIFA 13 is the game FIFA 12 should have been. As such FIFA 14 will be a tinkered FIFA 13 whereas PES 14 will be the polished game PES 13 almost is.
CookieMcCrumble's avatar
CookieMcCrumble 4 years ago
Never been that into football games but a few years ago when I played on and off I far preferred PES. And to this date, I always try both demo's and I can never really "enjoy" FIFA, while I do get on better with PES. But I wouldn't rush out and buy either so it's not really a big deal to me.
Anonymous user's avatar
amanda 4 years ago
parts of the PES Game with FIFA graphics. Perfect game.
Laura_1's avatar
Laura_1 4 years ago
For me personally if PES came out at a different time to Fifa I'd pick it up. It's just with ultimate team and these new skill games I feel Fifa has a little more. I did enjoy the demo but not quite as much as Fifa. I always have fun playing PES in stores though!
NokkonWud's avatar
NokkonWud 4 years ago
It's really great to see such positivity around a Pro Evolution Soccer release. It's been far too long, it's almost like they gave up, or got too comfortable (probably a mix of both) ever since PES6 (and even that wasn't great due to a flaky, at best, online system.) I played the demo(s) and it definitely feels stronger. I last played 2010 and, whilst it was improving, it was still a mile off the pace of Fifa. Fifa still feels the better of the two games but it's also gotten itself into a position where many games feel and play the same way, especially if you're into Ultimate Team where pace beats all, no matter how good the quality of player is; PES offers the alternative, a clever bit of movement, an intricate pass, it can undo teams and it always feels a little different, and fills the game somewhere between Arcade and Simulation. Finally it feels like there's space for two.
Anonymous user's avatar
Iqbal 4 years ago
GREAT article. I also agree that this year would be very close. But I for one will want to get both games, depending on the price obviously. PES has improved on all it's flaws from last year and love the realism. Just wish they got the licenses but that can be corrected with an option file.
Anonymous user's avatar
LLOYD 4 years ago
I used to play PES in the arcades (In Japan), i feel like FIFA is better recently, but PES is still good arcade-fun. I heard the next PES will run on the fox engine, is that true??

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