Every year Konami promise to deliver a PES game that will for once, break through FIFA’s dominance of the football game market, and every year the words are better than the outcome. This year, Konami again promised a PES game that would be far superior to its FIFA rival, with the dramatic improvements resting solely on three new features: PES FullControl, PROActiveAI and PlayerID. I can honestly say, this year, konami have actually delivered their promise and have had a decent stab at fixing the major issues that have hindered the series’ last few attempts at reviving the game.
PES FullControl – is pretty self explanatory, it gives the player complete control. Passing and shooting are now manual, you have complete control over the direction, power and trajectory every time you kick the ball. If you hold down the left trigger, a small arrow appears over the player that currently has the ball, showing where the ball will go – this lets you aim your passes far more accurately, which ended up with far fewer ‘attack’ movements intercepted by the game misjudging your intended action. You also get to choose which players you send on runs.
The movement of the ball has also been altered, in a good way. It’s a lot less predictable, meaning the first touch is incredibly important, whether you choose to tap the ball, flick it up and boot it, or aim it at a particular player, it’s a welcome improvement from the previous games. Allowing you to be more accurate with what you’re doing, creating more space and ultimately keeping your opponents guessing your every move.
Defending has also been improved, with a system similar to FIFA’s Tactical Defending being implemented. Previous PES games have more focus on chasing down the player with the ball, in PES13, the focus is now more on reading the attack and using a well timed response. So you tend to keep your distance a lot more, then try to time your tackle just right. Working in reverse, if you’re attacking, it is incredibly hard to make the defenders leave their space, making you become far more tactical in your approach to the goal.
I can’t talk about the improvements in defence without mentioning ProActiveAI, which really shines with the AI defenders. It makes AI defenders far more stubborn about leaving their space, making it harder for strikers to reach the box. The ball is (usually) controlled by the human player at this point, but it’s a nice improvement to see off-ball runs made by AI controlled teammates, as opposed to the lemons you had to deal with before that stood there and let the ball roll passed them.
The last of the new features, is PlayerID. This is an attempt to replicate some of the physical mannerisms of a particular player. For example, PES 2013’s cover boy, Cristiano Ronaldo – in game he is easily identifiable from his tricks, shooting style, running style even the way he shimmies passed defenders. I noticed even some defenders have been subjected to the PlayerID treatment, so you’ll notice the aerial physicality of Pepe and Terry too. It’s not a ‘ground-breaking’ feature, but it is a welcome addition that is well worth a mention.
PES 2013 is certainly an improvement from the previous games in the series, however it’s not without its flaws. The main single player mode (Master League) is really rather boring, mixed with a confusing transfer system and some seriously awful commentary – you’re better off playing with friends. Konami’s next step would be to improve on the untouched single and multiplayer modes, which are at this point, beginning to show their age – You’re treated to exactly the same modes as last year, including the officially licensed UEFA Champions League and South American Copa Libertadores tournaments as well as unofficial tournaments such as the League Cup and Community. You also still have Become a Legend and Master League – all of which could do with a serious overhaul.
Overall, PES 2013 has had a decent stab at improving itself, however it’s still not the amazing football game it used to be and ultimately what fans are waiting for it to return to. Having said that, it doesn’t suck, at all, so PES fans will definitely enjoy the game, even with its few flaws, and I encourage other football fans to give PES 2013 a go, just to experience the major improvements in gameplay.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.