I have steered clear of Pro Evolution Soccer games for a few years now. I do like my football games and I used to consider PES as king, but without doubt, FIFA overtook PES in every department and that’s been my game of choice for football kicks. Early buzz about PES 2013 however was promising, and the demo went live this week, and I’ve given it a good blast…
As with all demos, Konami has stressed that this is still a work in progress, but seeing as its release date isn’t too far off, its hard to see too much being changed. But, in my opinion, it still needs work.
It certainly still lacks that aesthetic sheen that FIFA has. Title and menu screens are still a little drab, music is non descript and it doesn’t drag you into the world of football thinking this is going to be anything exciting. In game visuals have improved, player likenesses are very close, player animation is also good but its the extra ‘shine’ that FIFA has that is lacking a bit here. In match, the game looks the part and moves at a reasonable pace, but for close ups of bookings and corners, the backgrounds become very blocky and players look strangely detached from the rest of the game world. I like the idea of having players names shown but I can see some people not liking it as it does remind you that you are playing a game and not watching the real thing.
One element which I did like and isn’t currently used in FIFA, is the in match ‘banter.’ You can hear players talking to each other during the match, shouting instructions in whatever language the team of your choice uses. Playing as England, you can clearly hear players shouting ”man on” and ”push up.” It’s such a little thing but it helps to draw you into a match that little bit more. The crowd noise and atmosphere also sounds that little bit better than in FIFA.
So to the important bit, the in game mechanics. Early PES games were much more sim than arcade, but since FIFA became king, PES has seemed a little at odds as to where to pitch itself. This demo shows so far, Konami still hasn’t made its mind up. In possession of the ball, it sticks to your feet and allows for long, unrealistic dribbles. Shooting also feels a bit over the top, and hitting a spectacular shot seems to hit the woodwork more often than the back of the net. Goalkeepers also seem unable to make even the simplest save without making it look like showing off for the cameras.
Knocking the ball around though is nicely done and is pleasingly precise, and pinging the ball around an opponents penalty area can lead to some intricate goal scoring chances. Crossing is a bit hit and miss and more often than not I ended up over hitting crosses, missing out my strikers altogether.
So, so far, where does this leave my opinion of PES? At the moment, I’m thinking there is enough here to tempt me back to give it a proper go. However, I still think it has a way to go to retake its crown though.