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Review

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • PS3

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
Riku200
Riku200

I think it's the best one so far.The graphics are really good and the gameplay is too.The game modes are essentially the same they "always" were,but they provide you with enough interest to play for days,months...and more.

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aronbon

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Skoorba
Skoorba

Is pes 13 3d compatible on ps3?

TheVerdict
TheVerdict

Last year PES 2012 was a huge disappointment. They gpt the ball dynamics wrong. And if you get the ball wrong, you haven't got a football game to ps3 standards. I haven't played this year's game but to be honest, I think the year at the end of the title does nothing for the game except outdate it quickly. PES never used to do this

bksonic123
bksonic123

FIFA 13 has more features, but PES 13 definitely has the better gameplay.

ZiRa-Bosnia
ZiRa-Bosnia

How much Konami payed for 8.0 ? I mean this game can not compare to FIFA 13. In fact 8.0 is real score for PES 13, but FIFA 13 8.0 should be 9.3

darksonic140
darksonic140

lol, this score is like FIFA 13! Carry on Konami xD

hg5
hg5

The coverbox right now, on the top left, it's from "PES 2012" for the PS3, I think some one on GameSpot Staff should change it.

Venom_Raptor
Venom_Raptor

Can't believe Konami even bother making new PES each year, FIFA is better in every way, and having only a few licensed teams is just awful. 

HAZE-Unit
HAZE-Unit

As always the media are biased towards FIFA no matter how big or how much improvements PES have.

HAZE-Unit
HAZE-Unit

what an awfully written review, nothing useful to get from it.

 

plus it's not the game's fault you can't perform the moves, and if they make the game accessible it's arcady and when they bring depth it's also bad design, what the heck?

 

I know for a fact the game is way better than last year's so how the heck you give it the same score?

 

lastly FIFA street 8.0, a mini game equals a fully fledged overhauled game?

alenth
alenth

 @Venom_Raptor I remember those old days when i didn't give a shit about the licensed teams on the winning eleven series and some older pes versions on the ps2 era, the gameplay was superb and better and the customize option was really cool if you wanted to create those licensed teams, gameplay > licenses, as simple as that.

quanggamespot
quanggamespot

 @Venom_Raptor you dont have to spoil a company and its million fans cause they cannot buy the licensed, the licence  is exclusive either Fifa or PEs can have it. Gameplay is the one real soccer player all care about, Kids care about licensing....

Jeronimoe
Jeronimoe

So true, been playing fifa 13 demo and it has no soul,even with the AI improvements. PES is so incredible with gameplay and how you want to play whether its tiki taka,long ball, individual stars just more ways to play the game.

RealHarry
RealHarry

 @HAZE-Unit I think the review is pretty accurate and the game got a good score almost purely from the gameplay. In terms of features and presentation, it's sorely lacking compared to FIFA. So, it's the same story, for the past couple of years, PES has the more satisfying gameplay while FIFA offers a better and more complete footballing package.

DeusAlex
DeusAlex

 @HAZE-UnitDude. Reality check. It's 2012. PES has been 2nd best football game since PES 2008. I know, because that's when i made the switch. FIFA has improved EVERY year since then and is the current king.  

 

ZiRa-Bosnia
ZiRa-Bosnia

 @quanggamespot  @Venom_Raptor You are wrong, i play football games because I'm huge Football fan, and i care about licences, like i want to play with Chelsea not North London East

quanggamespot
quanggamespot

 @Jeronimoe It has soul but the soul of PES few years ago cause FIFA copied it, FiFa animation is the best but gameplay wise PES simply the best.... :)

HAZE-Unit
HAZE-Unit

 @DeusAlex 

2nd according to who? to a bunch of media outlets ? meh.

 

and if you are going after quality, PES is back on top this year, if you don't trust my words go check it out yourself it's already released.

quanggamespot
quanggamespot

 @ZiRa-Bosnia  @Venom_Raptor anyway I have to play Fifa everyday now, and I kick Fifa player's ass while they are yelling that the game is full of bugs when I score :)

alky92614
alky92614

 @kkushalbeatzz  @HAZE-Unit  @DeusAlex Yeah, because whoever sells the most units is ALWAYS the best. Lady Gaga anyone? Pink? Maroon 5? Please...your argument is shite. FIFA is way too easy and it has no soul.

 

FIFA DOES have all the "bells and whistles" you could ever want--I'll give it that. But as far as gameplay?? No f-ing contest.

kkushalbeatzz
kkushalbeatzz

 @HAZE-Unit  @DeusAlex No according to consumers. Both in purchases and feedback from player, FIFA is preferred. Also, licensing is a big deal in a sports game. Would you wear a jersey if it was obviously fake? I wouldn't.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 More Info

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  • First Released
    • 3DS
    • PC
    • + 5 more
    • PlayStation 2
    • PlayStation 3
    • PSP
    • Wii
    • Xbox 360
    Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 brings Konami's football franchise back for another year.
    7.6
    Average User RatingOut of 465 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Pro Evolution Soccer 2013
    Developed by:
    Konami
    Published by:
    Konami
    Genres:
    Sports, Soccer, Simulation, Team-Based
    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