Believe it or not, there was a time when the FIFA series was not considered the best world football simulation available. That distinction, while not official, belonged to Winning Eleven, which ultimately evolved into Pro Evolution Soccer.
Things have certainly changed.
Reports from Tom Ivan from ComputerAndVideoGames.com reports FIFA 12 outsold PES 2012: "25-to-1."
Amir Iliaifar of Digital Trends asked: "Will the once mighty Pro Evolution Soccer be able to wrest the crown sat firmly atop rival FIFA’s head, or will it be doomed to warm the bench for yet another year?"
Even though the tables have turned a bit on the PES series, it has remained a solid world football simulation since its debut in 2001. Yet somewhat stagnant gameplay options and the FIFA series' strong licensing deals has somewhat buried the franchise.
Although, PES 2013 is the only football title with the UEFA license.
The game still has a cult following, and the developers at Konami haven't stopped trying to improve the title. This year Cristiano Ronaldo graces the cover, and that almost seems fitting as Ronaldo is perhaps the best player in the world, but he is overshadowed by Lionel Messi's greatness.
Messi is the cover athlete for FIFA 13.
I've played the demo for PES 2013, and it plays a decent game of football. It still remains to be seen if it is enough to overtake FIFA 2013.
Let's take a look at what PES 2013 offers in the way of shifting the tide in the world of virtual soccer. This sizzle trailer was the first look many fans got of the game:
Here are the release specifics, and the key features to watch for:
Release Date: September 25
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, PSP and Playstation 2 (per Konami-pes2013.com)
PES Full Control
The franchise is working hard to improve gameplay gaffes in A.I. reaction and control over the player with the ball. PES FC is designed to give players complete freedom without restrictions because they are in possession of the ball.
This year A.I. controlled teammates and defenders should react more appropriately to various situations. The A.I. has been a sore spot with gamers who have played PES over the past couple of years.
This video demonstrates many of the new gameplay enhancements:
This is an all important aspect of football, and thus any simulation of the sport.
If gamers can master the ability to use first touch controls in their favor, it allows them an advantage against defenders. However, it also creates a sense of realism. No one has the ability to control every pass perfectly.
If this feature functions properly, it may also allow defenders to regain position while the ball is being controlled. This could potentially do wonders for the passing game in PES 2013.
Manual Shooting and Passing
Passing and shooting controls work much better with the options to manually direct the destination. It allows for a more free-flowing experience and more intuitive play. It can also facilitate spectacular plays.
Performing these actions with icon-style passing can restrict the ability to take advantage of scoring and passing opportunities.
Speed and Dribbling
The speed of the game has been slowed in an effort to mimic the real sport. However, using the R2/RT button allows the player controlling the ball to utilize signature skills that help elude defenders, protect the ball and set-up attacks.
Players will be allowed to move in full 360-degree circles while maintaining possession. This should, of course, depend on the dribbling skills of the player.
Players have been copied in an effort to accurately portray their style. The posture of their gallop has been recreated, as well as their celebrations and likenesses.
It is a good way to add personality to each player. We'll have to see how many players have been individualized. World football is a massive group to handle. For now, Konami's website says they tackled the best players—including cover man Ronaldo of course.
Check out some of the signature moves and style of the best players in PES 2013.
Game Modes and Options
This term is used to encompass both the Master League and Become A Legend modes. In Master League, gamers can still guide a club through league play. The transfer system was targeted for enhancement this year.
It was a bit confusing before. Negotiations with players would stall, and there wasn't sufficient reason as to why. Fixing this and a few other tweaks to functionality are the main improvements in this area.
The Become A Legend mode will feature more player feedback. Players need to have clearer objectives to reach the different goals they encounter during the season. This was one of the focuses in improving PES' version of the individual player concept.
Master League Online
This expansive mode returns, but it features a new Rivals Ranking system. This is designed to group players at a similar level. On a larger scale, the entire PES 2013 community will be split into 240 cities across the world.
There is an indicator to show when local players are online. This should aid matchmaking and overall communication with those that are in your league.
Much of the features and modes sound a lot like FIFA. To a certain extent that is unavoidable. Both franchises fashion themselves as realistic simulations of the same sport.
Konami has clearly held back on adding tons of innovative modes, and they have focused on tightening the gameplay. The Dynamic First-Touch is very similar to First-Touch Control with FIFA 13. This type of similarity can be found throughout the overall comparison of the two games.
The final determination will come in execution. The concepts are there for PES 2013 to succeed. We must wait to see if they are pulled off properly.
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