It’s that time of the year again; when the gaming world is buzzing with excitement for the release of the world’s best soccer game. Depending on your personal preference, or the common hearsay, this will either be one of two beloved video gaming franchises, EA Sports’ FIFA 13 or Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 2013 – two games that have gone head to head for more than a decade. It’s no secret that FIFA has been leading the score over recent years, leaving Pro Evolution pretty much in the dust, but could 2013 possibly be the title that returns Pro Evolution to the throne?
After just a single play of both games, here are my first thoughts on the two games. Please note this is by no means a final review but rather my first impressions of the game.
Straight off the bat it’s easy to notice a huge improvement in the graphics department with PES 2013. Not only are the players more detailed and more realistic, but I could argue that they are the best looking 3D soccer player models to date. FIFA 13 on the other hand, seems to have stuck to familiar looking 3D characters from the past with much of it “the same as before”. Of course this, like everything else between the rival games, is debatable. There will be some that would swear by FIFA’s superiority simply because… well, its FIFA!
Either way, there is no doubt that both Konami and EA Sports have been paying closer attention to each other. The evidence is clear in the way both games play. For the first time, in a really long time, they both feel and play quite similarly. The movements of the players are extremely smooth, with noticeable improvements made in the movements of their upper bodies. Everything feels far more natural in both games.
The main differences seem to come in with Konami’s Player ID, a system which allows players to mimic the movements of their real-life counterparts. Whether or not, this is completely true remains to be seen. What I can say is that while playing with Brazil it was easy to distinguish Hulk and Ronaldinho from the rest of the group, both in movement and style of play. But for all the great improvements PES has made this year it seems they have forgotten to improve the defending system. Maybe it just took some getting use-to, but I struggled to tackle players who had the ball. On the opposite side, FIFA’s defense playing is greatly improved, with players using their upper bodies to push and pull each other while dribbling the ball.
Over the years, FIFA has made a name as being the simulation between the two. Strangely, PES seems to have stepped away from their arcade style of play this year in favour of a more realistic approach. Even their menu graphics and music seems far more appealing this time around – no more crappy techno pop and arcade menus. FIFA, as usual, takes itself seriously, offering the best sound, venues, players and commentary money can buy. Presentation has always been one of FIFA’s stronger points and they continue to win in that department.
FIFA also seems to offer a host of gaming modes, absent from PES. One could possibly argue that their focus seems to be on creating more options over better gameplay. This probably isn’t the worst idea when considering that most fans were already hooked on the gameplay from previous installments.
If you’ve been following the blog for the last year you’ll know that I predicted PES 2013 will be the title to kick FIFA 13 off the throne. It’s still too early to say, but I might just be right. It’s very possible!