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Review

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed: September 20, 2012
  • X360

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 embraces the series' past to create a wonderfully technical and supremely satisfying game of football.

'

At first glance the changes made to Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 might seem like a bunch of slight, almost superficial tweaks; you'd be hard pressed to find one standout feature from its long list of AI improvements, new tactical moves, or graphical revamps. And yet, on the pitch, it's one of the most rewarding football games out there. Where its predecessors struggled to find a place on the current generation of consoles--often simply playing catch-up with its competitors--PES 2013 embraces its past and plays a wonderfully technical and supremely satisfying game of football. No, it still doesn't come close to matching FIFA on features or graphical splendor, but when it comes to those unforgettable moments of edge-of-your-seat sporting drama, PES 2013 is sublime.

That's not to say PES 13 is without its challenges, though. Its learning curve is steeper than ever, thanks to an overhaul of its defense system, and the introduction of some highly technical moves. Like Tactical Defending in FIFA, the new defense system replaces the run-and-gun, automated tackles of old with thoughtful jockeying and tactical positioning. While it's simple to use--holding the opposition and ducking in for a sneaky, well-timed tackle are performed with the same button--nailing the correct timing for a tackle is very tricky, and takes a hefty amount of practice. The payoff is a defensive system that's more natural, more compelling, and far less frustrating in multiplayer matches than before.

Similarly compelling are PES 13's new player moves, which see a return to the technically challenging, well-timed commands of old. The improved dribbling system lets you hold the ball in front of players, teasing it with the left analogue stick to manoeuvre your way past defensive lines, while deft button presses let you volley the ball over the opposition's head in a gloriously cocky display of skill. Many moves make use of the triggers as a modifier, letting you turn regular passes into lofted passes and regular shots into controlled shots, and giving you manual control over the direction of your kicks, complete with a neat arrow beneath your player to point him in the right direction.

An overhauled training mode takes you through each of the new moves step-by-step, and includes a handy demonstration that shows which buttons to press and when to press them--not that you can just breeze through them all, mind. The timing is exacting, and there are moments of heated frustration as you battle against it. But when things click, it's satisfying to see those newfound skills spring to life--more so when you head out of training and onto the pitch for a match.

It's there that you can put those skills to use. There's no one feature that makes the game so entertaining, but rather PES 13's collection of refinements come together to create a sense of direction and purpose that has been sorely missing from recent entries in the series. Improved physics mean there's a weight and movement to the ball that just feels right, where it zips through the air the way you'd expect and smashes to the ground with a satisfyingly dull thud. Improved AI means players react better, making more intelligent runs for you to slip a cheeky through ball to, or jostling attackers as you sprint back to defense from an unfortunately timed shot.

The pace has been slowed down slightly, giving you more control over your players and the flow of the match. Indeed, that flow is what makes PES 13 so great, creating as it does some wonderfully scrappy football. There are moments where passes move effortlessly across the pitch, while strikers burst from midfield, hover outside the box, and wait for that expertly made cross to deliver a perfectly timed strike. The game is so responsive and captivating that it always feels like you're directly in control of the action, rather than forcing things forward with the slightly automated feel of FIFA.

While PES succeeds dramatically on the pitch, it's once again let down by a presentation that's woefully dated, even if there's a kind of sick, retro charm to it. Menus still have that pseudo-futuristic neon look to them, arranged as they are in the most illogical and frustrating of ways. There are some weird animation glitches too, as well as some frame rate issues during replays. And the less said about the awfully dull commentary from Jon Champion and Jim Beglin the better. PES lacks official licenses for the vast majority of teams too, so you're stuck with using the editor to create official teams or waiting for some enterprising individual to post a save file online.

PES 13's single-player modes are also in danger of becoming horribly outdated. You're treated to exactly the same modes as last year, including the officially licensed UEFA Champions League and South American Copa Libertadores tournaments, and unofficial tournaments such as League Cup and Community. The once genre-leading Become a Legend and Master League remain untouched too, and while it's still fun to guide a player through his career or perform the duties of a manager, the dreary visuals and outdated transfer system make them far less appealing than they used to be.

There's also little to celebrate online, with the same ranked and unranked matches available as in past years. The Master League returns, letting you compete against others for prize money, which you can use to buy new players for your squad. Modes remain largely untouched from previous versions. The only change here is that playing online now earns items that can be used in the offline Become a Legend and Master League modes, allowing you to modify your players' stats. It's a nice feature to have, and certainly makes online play a little more rewarding, but it's hardly the full makeover the online multiplayer sorely needs.

Still, while its presentation and game modes fall further behind the competition, PES 13 has made improvements where it really counts. There's a fabulously entertaining football game at its heart, one that finally lives up to the high standards of the PES games of old. Sure, it may have given up its pick-up-and-play accessibility to get there, but with such satisfying, thoughtful, and tactical gameplay on offer, it's well worth the effort.

'
The Good
Slower pace gives you more control
Much improved ball physics
New defending system is more natural to use
Plays a great, classically scrappy game of football
The Bad
New moves are tricky to master
Untouched single- and multiplayer modes beginning to show their age
Dreary and dated presentation
Terrible commentary
8
Great
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Discussion

4 comments
elanbg
elanbg

Gamespot, are you really playing these games? I mean, I understand you. EA and Konami basically sell the same game for years and years, but do you actually sit your a$$ down and play them? What you are saying is ridiculous. Improved ball physics?!??!? Are you insane? The worst ball physics ... ever. Never been worse. Impossible to be worse. It takes exactly 10 minutes with the game and another 5 with actual real ball to realize. You are pathetic. Just like this game.

pokefan1999
pokefan1999

Wait- can't touch FIFA with regards to "graphical splendour?"  FIFA's graphics haven't changed since FIFA '06, and gameplay-wise, well...  EA's aim with all their games is to appeal to the widest audience possible and sell games to the mass market of un-suspecting, un-critical casual fans who think FIFA is great because it's better at automatically aiming your passes and once you figure out the usual 2 or 3 fail-safe scoring plays that are in every FIFA game you can completely dominate the computer opponents.  PES is a game that allows you to play in any style you wish provided you actually understand the way soccer/football works, not just to play again and again through the same channels like in every FIFA game since RTWC '98. Don't buy PES if you only know who Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid are.

WillyWynn
WillyWynn

Fifa is better then PES since fifa 10, pes players get over it! Pes was the king of soccer games from pes 2 until pes 6, when the game change to third generation konami fail hard! Because both fifa and pes 2007, 2008, 2009 are really awful, New pes games until this version 2013 are slow, few licences, awful commentary, few mods, loads of bugs and glitches the game is always update like 3 4 times or more to resolve that,  all player look the same running, players feel like robots, the game have only 8 ways to run unlike fifa, the defenses from the teams still stupid, suffer goals always in the same ways, or stay like robots and don't move, or you have like 5 players vs 1 and that one scores goals because the other 5 are really stupid and dont go try to take the ball lol or even worst! They copy the mods and the tricks from fifa and even that fail! pes 2010 2011 2012 and 2013 are a bit better then the 3 versions before them, but fifa still better then pes! Playstion 2 pes still better and more fun to play and that kinda impressive lol! I have some friends they still play the playstation 2 versions and don't buy the new ones because they are awful lol!  And I agreed with that, i prefer to play downgrade version from pes because still awesome. Konami dont understand graphics is not everything, if the game dont change anything and have even more problems! That what EA after 10 versions from FIFA understand that! They make FIFA 10 a awesome game! FIFA 11 even better, FIFA 12 even more better, and FIFA 13 is like DLC from Fifa 12. 

VEGGOS4E
VEGGOS4E

Hey guys ..

I really could use some help plz...  I ve already asked in several forums but none responded

I used to play PES11, mostly online & cooperative (not against them but VS the game) with other users around the world... This online service ended recently, so i bought PES13.

The think is that i cannot find a way to be a teammate with another user online, and i only can play VS with others...

I m able to find users on servers and go to a match but I want to be in the same side against the computer-game... It was so simple in PES11...

I m so disappointed...  

Is there any way to play cooperative (not on the same pc..)???

aditya19960308
aditya19960308

A great focus on players graphics and you can carve out your own face while making a new player.Commentary is bad enough but lap it up in Graphics,gameplay ease to do tricks,dynamic play,good system of passing,ease of executing long shots and freekicks. A GREAT GAME AND BETTER THAN FIFA13 IN GAMEPLAY AND GRAPHICS AND THATS WHAT IS MOST NEEDED IN GAME NOT COMMETARY.

DL_gamer
DL_gamer

So many problems persist in this game. no matter how much you ajust the defense there will always be times that the opponents CF will be alone against your GK. Not to mention when your player is running the the balls's direction and suddenly changes the course to the opposite. One last bad thing to say: konami matchmaking system is a mass, on master league I put "similar level opponent" and they still match me against a super star team. No way to win like that.

TGlennadjare
TGlennadjare

I love the game play but the problem I have with this game is the commentary and judging from all the comments I have red on this site tells me that I'm not wrong. Konami must start looking for expert commentators to hype this game. Overall the game is superb. Player controls, dribbling styles, tactics all of them are sublime. I have not tried my hands on fifa 2013 but this game has overtaken fifa 2012 if you ask me.

walterg74
walterg74

I keep hearing over and over how the commentary sucks, and while I know the reviewer probably only cares about english (and righty so as it's his language and probablymthe only one he understands), I have to point out that the commentary in spanish is excellent and really funny. I don't now how you can expect good commentary in english on a football game.... English/american commentators are boring by default, no passion in them whatsoever...

Ravipatwal
Ravipatwal

Commentary really sucks. Fifa's suck less. They should learn from 2k sports NBA. The commentary experience was so realistic. They commentators kept on talking for the whole match about this and that. Appeared so real

oren66
oren66

this game is by far the best football Simulator ever Created , and please come with any fifa bullshit. real man who knows a thing or two about football, can tell that this is the real thing.thank you konami for the great job

TigusVidiks
TigusVidiks

same as always. As a soccer simulator, on the pitch there is no better than PES. As a videogame, FIFA has better game modes, more licenses and better visuals. The 2 of them should band together.

jknifeza
jknifeza

the game looks good and promising i just hope the gameplay is as good as they make it sound,just had a look at soem of the images and noticed Van persie was still at Arsenal...why don't they update the transfers properly,this happens every year, the transfer window closes 31st aug can't they update the transfers before the game is released almost a month later...honestly....hopefully fifa has the gameplay to match and has updated transfers...

Thatsoriteinnit
Thatsoriteinnit

I'm prepared to give this one a try, not too phased if the commentary etc have slowed a little and are not quite up to par in my experience the replayability and general addictiveness have been great which is what I want in a football game

Warmuro
Warmuro

I have PC version. First of all, what's wrong with that bulshit blur effect ? Man, it's really terrible and i always need to install a blur-fix patch for a new PES !!! Also, i wonder what they were thinking about that commentary, worst commentary ever !!! I don't like that man's voice, terrible terrible terrible...

bigruss51
bigruss51

PES is dead. They do a few things better then Fifa but overall the experience is terrible. Turning off the commentary is the first thing people should do before starting a match of PES. The atmosphere is dreadful also, no excitement at all. I believe the game is made by Japanese so what do they know about football. They've made some nice animes on football but they just can't capture the live excitement in the game. I really wanted this game to be better but it wasn't.

I_love_Harmony
I_love_Harmony

lol at all the butthurt pes fans who don't want to admit that fifa finally surpassed pes in the gameplay department. And besides, gameplay is only worth anything when complimented by good modes, and PES lacks in this department. I cringe at the notion of spending 60 dollars on a Fifa game because even they can't seem to improve their season mode.

nomeaning666
nomeaning666

There's one feature that Fifa didn't surpassed Pes ever: gameplay!" And a soccer game is all about gameplay! remember sensible soccer? All the reviews i've read in gamespot are unbalanced towards Fifa! Wonder why...

brain20035
brain20035

How hard can it be for them to get the running animations right?? FIFA 2003 had better running animations in comparison and perhaps better presentation too!! PES started to be irrelavant to me since after PES 6.

oren66
oren66

amzing game for the xbox360. at least 9.0 score. thank you konami.most of the  reviewers are americans, they have no idea about football. they all go for the ridiculous fifa game, empty with a lot of noise and colors.

sharkezo
sharkezo

what's so special about that lame commentary (john champion ) that Konami doesn't wanna change

he's really really boring

sgmullins
sgmullins

That's a pretty bad score to say how they changed pes this year. It plays a superb game. Online is silky smooth too, it deserves a 9 at least.

I bet you have your 9.5 ready for fifa 13 eh ?, a game that has not changed for 3 years. Figures.

 

awesomeansh
awesomeansh

What about the second player control PES offers? Its a unique, interesting and efficient feature which gives the player more control over the Gameplay!!

arkryne
arkryne

Waiting for FIFA 13 :)

kraniz
kraniz

pess 2013 i am waited too long to play again . . . wonderfull i love u pess 2013 . . . best soccer game

 

pokefan1999
pokefan1999

@WillyWynn Wow, you're kind of angry. :/  It sounds like you haven't checked out PES since 2009, the last game that had 16-direction movement and passing.  Do you understand the irony of your last sentence?  You are paying $60 each year for a very minor upgrade on the previous year's game.  The only things that change in FIFA are the game modes and the team rosters.

VEGGOS4E
VEGGOS4E

I have only installed  the official patch 1.03.

oren66
oren66

 @walterg74 i do agree with you about that.the spanish commentary is excellent ,however the english commentary on fifa is excellent as well.it is very much   depends on the company's will to do it properly.konami just abandoned this issue for years.It could damage the enjoyment sometimes, but not in a way that will take me  to the other side (fifa).

pes 13 is a great game to play, no matter what.

 

InquisitorCrox
InquisitorCrox

 @TigusVidiks 

How does FIFA has better visuals???

Just because its made in America??

I thibk they are on par except the grass and animations, where PES is vastly superior.

Adding the fact that everything becomes easier in FIFA and the players move unrealistically fast, it seems that PES hit the ground this year, as far as actual gameplay is concerned.

Licences and extra modes add to the value, but we primarily play the game to enjoy the match!

The only thing that FIFA does better on visuals, is UI, which is again not the primary plate.

At any case it is good for the competition, that PES returned, i never thought they would go past FIFA 2012 that early...

oren66
oren66

 @bigruss51

 it is all about the gameplay my friend. atmosphere and commentary will be fixed soon by some good patches. i actually got both games this year :fifa 13 gameplay is embarrassing in my opinion.this is not football at all.pes 13 has some issues that need to be fixed, but the gameplay is superb.

oren66
oren66

 @I_love_Harmony

I'm not a fan of any of the games,i do by them both almost every year.

last year it was all about fifa .this time i only play with pes 13 because it is a much better game.fifa 13? ohh! i gave it already to my nephew to play with his friends. Childish game

oren66
oren66

 @nomeaning666

 yep, they choose to criticize PES for not having the correct kits or names. it is all so much not important.the gameplay is the only thing that last in  sports games, i can fix the game with a good patch any time.PES 13 is a work of art by konami. some of my friends who used to play fifa 12 , are playing with me PES 13 . they don't even bother playing  fifa 13 (-;

Mission completed

Warmuro
Warmuro

 @sharkezo I hate that man's voice. He ruins the PES games with his terrible voice. Oh man...

brain20035
brain20035

 @awesomeansh EA had it in FIFA 2004! a feature called Off The Ball (tm). They dropped it cause it was "useless" and I agree for the most part!

walterg74
walterg74

@aditya19960308 congratulations, you have. Won the award for the stupidest comment of the year...

bigruss51
bigruss51

 @oren66

 I def see a lot of potential in pes but I wouldn't say superb. I just think fifa captures the heart of football much better than pes. I like variety and i'm glad fifa isn't the only game but i enjoy it much more. Both games are lacking a certain something. wtf with licensing, why cant they have all the teams and tournaments. Also I don't feel a true 360 rotation in pes13. I hope you're right about the patches, but you'll have to forgive me for being sceptical.

aditya19960308
aditya19960308

@walterg74 thanks,same to you my friend but do you really play or watch football match for hearing commentary?

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 More Info

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  • First Released
    • 3DS
    • PC
    • + 5 more
    • PS2
    • PS3
    • PSP
    • Wii
    • Xbox 360
    Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 brings Konami's football franchise back for another year.
    7.6
    Average User RatingOut of 468 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Pro Evolution Soccer 2013
    Developed by:
    Konami
    Published by:
    Konami
    Genres:
    Soccer, Simulation, Team-Based, Sports
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
    No Descriptors