Review – PES 2013

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We’ve decided to tackle our review of PES 2013 in a different way to usual – this review is a two-in-one. We’ve asked two people with very different past experiences with soccer games to provide their thoughts. Sacha is a soccer fan and enjoys playing soccer games, whilst Tash is a complete newbie when it comes to all things soccer. By asking both to share their thoughts, we’re hoping to canvas two very different outlooks – a review from someone familiar with soccer and soccer games, and a review from a total beginner. Is PES 2013 able to appeal to both? Take a look at both reviews below.

Sacha’s review

Okay, so let’s be upfront and say that I have always been a FIFA fan personally. Playing PES 2013 was like comparing The Beatles vs Elvis or the styles of Lionel Messi (who happens to grace the cover of FIFA 13) and Cristiano Ronaldo (who is the sole play on the cover of PES 13). And I have to say that I am definitely not going to be converting to PES 2013 over FIFA any time soon.

While there are enough teams in PES13 to satisfy the average user the range of teams could be significantly improved, though the variety of teams seems to improve when playing in Football Life mode. The teams were up to date with the most recent transfers. FIFA must have the rights to use the team name of Chelsea so it was somewhat disconcerting playing with “London FC”. It just didn’t feel the same. Maybe I am just having a dumbed down week but I found it extremely hard to simply set up my team prior to a game – every time I selected a player the CPU would ask me if I wanted to “use as comparison” when all I wanted to do was to put out my top line-up. I finally worked out how to exchange team members at half-time. Yay!

PES 2013 offers a variety of games modes, including playing in the Champion’s League (it’s main drawcard) and the Copa Libertadores (best of the Latin clubs) as well as Football Life (equivalent to FIFA’s manager mode). I had to move the difficulty level down to Amateur to get a handle on goal shooting. Compared to the FIFA games I have played in the past the shooting in PES 2013 seemed to be almost simultaneously clunky and over-sensitive and made playing the game less enjoyable as when I got one-on-one with the keeper it would shoot wide. Ironically, I was playing with Torres when I experienced shooting wide a number of times when I was one on one with the keeper. Was it Torres or the game? Once I got the hang of scoring it then became quite addictive.

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I didn’t like that once your player is tackled with the ball then the computer automatically switches to another player who may be a fair distance away from the opponent with the ball, even when the tackled player could have recovered and tried to win the ball back.

PES 2013 offers a lot of special moves such as “pass support” (you can choose the degree to which the ball tracks and homes onto the player receiving the ball) and deft touching (not in the rude way!). I have to admit that I have always found it somewhat tricky to use all of the special moves while immersed in the hustle and bustle of gameplay. I didn’t feel that there was enough complexity (or instruction given) on how to take free kicks. You are basically told to aim for the net without any apparent option to put spin or curl on the ball. Maybe I’ve been spoilt by FIFA?

The game offers some new variations such as earning nicknames, special items to enhance players and obtaining new boots to boost player attributes.

Maybe it’s just not fair to compare PES 2013 to FIFA but given the average cost of buying a game these days I would have to say that FIFA just beats out PES 2013 on the basis of the smoothness of gameplay and goal-shooting capacity. After all, most people you ask will choose to be the striker 99% of the time because scoring goals is the main thrill I get from playing these types of games.

PES 2013 gets a 6 out of 10 from me.

Tash’s Review

I am a complete and utter newbie when it comes to soccer and soccer games. This is a fact which I’m happy to admit. So the thought of reviewing a soccer game when I’ve had zero experience with soccer was a daunting one. How am I supposed to review a game when I’ve had no prior experience with the sport it centres around? It is for this reason I’ve chosen to review PES 2013 from the lens of a complete amateur. Instead of discussing how the game feels from a control perspective, or how accurate to reality it is, I’ll instead be focusing on how accessible the game is to a new player, and whether people (like myself) who have never played a soccer game can easily pick up the controls.

The short answer to this question? Yes, PES 2013 is accessible and new players are able to pick up the controls and jump right into the action. The game provides a number of difficulty settings – from the newbie friendly beginner difficulty to the superstar difficulty for those established players. There are tutorials which cover all the moves you need to dive into your first match, and you are able to choose which tutorials you want to complete. These tutorials can be accessed at any time, allowing you to revisit them and practice moves should you need to. From what I gather, the movement controls and variety of move sets are simple enough for beginners, but offer more difficult to master moves for the more hardcore gamers. In this way, the game offers content that caters to a large variety of play styles and abilities, and the different game modes present numerous challenges and opportunities which ensure the game itself stays fresh and engaging.

For the soccer fans, the game features numerous professional leagues from the UEFA Champions League to the Copa Santander Libertadores. The game contains a total of 81 international teams, providing a huge roster of teams to test yourself against. In fact, the staggering amount of teams on offer can be daunting for someone like myself when choosing a team to be and a team to play against in quick match mode (I ended up choosing teams based on their colours and whether I liked their logo). This depth of selection is further enhanced by the amount of customisation on offer.

PES 2013 lets you customise practically everything included in the game – you can choose the type and colour of the balls used on the field, modify stadiums, rename teams or players, change the way teams are drafted – if you’ve thought about doing it, PES 2013 probably lets you indulge. Again, this depth of customisation can be overwhelming for a beginner like myself, but I believe it’s something I could see myself investigating given enough time with the game. Its inclusion is a strength, however, as it illustrates how in-depth the game is, and what it provides to more seasoned soccer gamers. Returning players from PES 2013 can also even use their PES 2012 data – which is a nice nod to fans of the series.

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There are over 46 stadiums on offer, with players able to choose the time (day/night) season (summer/winter) and weather (fine/rainy). You can also set the total length of matches in five minute intervals, which is a nice inclusion for us time-poor gamers. During half time you’re given the opportunity to check match details and highlights, or to quit out of the match and return to the top menu – as someone who was getting used to the controls and the feel of the game, I appreciated this inclusion. If I found after a few minutes that I was struggling with the options I had chosen for myself, the quit to top menu option enabled me to start a new game with more manageable selections quickly and with minimal fuss.

The soundtrack to the game is nothing particularly special – there are a few tracks which become annoying fast, however Konami have included songs from some of their cult hits – Contra and Castlevania included – and I liked this nod to old school gamers. Additionally – if you really don’t like any of the tracks offered, the game allows you to use your own music stored on your console. The sounds utilised in game are implemented well – the roar and buzz of the crowd creates just the right kind of atmosphere that makes you feel you’re at a soccer match. The commentary track does a good job of reflecting your performance – as a newbie to the soccer world I can’t comment on the accuracy or strength of commentary calls, but the commentary itself was never irritating enough for me to decide to turn it off, and that has sadly happened in the past with other sports games I’ve played.

Aside from the quick match options – which are exactly what the name implies – there’s also a Football Life option which includes two modes – Master League, where you can try your hand at being both a player and manager; and Become a Legend, which allows you to play through the career of a single player. It’s in these modes where fans will find the meat of the game, and where new players like myself may become overwhelmed if they attempt to take it all in at once. There is a veritable buffet of content on display here, and just like a buffet, what you ultimately get out of these modes depends on your choices. Focusing on the Become a Legend mode, you are able to choose where you start – Europe or Latin America – and you are then given the option of using an existing player or creating an original player. If you decide on using an existing player the choice is insane – from what I can see you can be whomever you like from the entire roster of players featured in the game. Every single player comes with their own stats which provide for strengths and weaknesses specific to each player. Seasoned players will find a good depth here, and given enough time I expect newcomers will understand the mechanics behind the stats. If you decide to bypass existing players and instead create your own player – you’ll be hit with more customisation options than you likely know what to do with. There’s customisation options for facial features, body types and even movements. For those self-styled soccer gods amongst us, you’re even able to import your own face by taking a photo of yourself using the move/kinect camera functionality. The depth and breadth of customisation options here are impressive, and whilst they can be overwhelming to a newbie perfectionist like myself, I believe they offer a motivation for players to delve into the Become a Legend mode.

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Once you have your player and are happy with your choices, you’re then transported to the complicated world of a professional soccer player and tasked with making your way to the top of the game. You’re given a full working calendar to plan your training and manage your various matches – the calendar provides the framework for a very nuanced experience that requires you to manage yourself well, keeping in mind your competing priorities in addition to your personal and club goals. The game helps newer players with tutorials and information surrounding each of the main features of the mode, and for more experienced players, the optional nature of these tutorials ensures they do not feel babied with information they already understand. From the time I spent with this mode, it is clear that it is very involved and players could spend hours simply looking through and planning their match and training season before attempting playing a match. The mode itself is worth a play – even if you only dip your toes into it and follow your player through a few months. I will note, however, that the cutscenes between your player and club representatives/helpers feel odd due to the fact there is no voiced lines. Subtitles exist to convey what is being said between conversing characters, but despite the fact there is no sound, characters mouths still move, mimicking talking. Without voiceovers, you’re left with watching subtitled characters opening and closing their mouths like goldfish without sound. It’s rather comical to see, and as someone who is used to voiced exchanges it struck me as odd and out of place, but I don’t fault the game for employing such a measure – it’s not these interaction which are the focus of the game, after all.

From the point of view of a new player, PES 2013 does a good job of introducing players to the game, and providing ample opportunities to learn the basics. Tutorials provide an avenue for learning the moves you need to perform well in matches, and the customisation options enable players to tweak seetings and gameplay styles to their liking. Whilst the options can and do seem daunting for newcomers, I did not experience any cases of ‘information overload.’ PES 2013 provides an opportunity for new players to experience the soccer world at their own pace, tackling challenges they want to tackle. For those more experienced players, it offers a plethora of customisation options, enabling a deep and rich experience should the player want it.

PES 2013 scores an 8 out of 10.


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    About the Author: (@MidnightReyn) Founder & Editor-in-Chief

    Tash

    Tash is a self-diagnosed gaming fanatic with a doctorate in Psychology. She's also a self-confessed Mass Effect fangirl and will likely talk your ears off if you ever get her started on the subject. A lover of all things RPG and adventure, she has more gamer related action figures and memorabilia than any 20 something year old professional has a right to own, and has spent more time than she’d like to admit to daydreaming about exactly what she would do should the Zombie Apocalypse actually happen.