Association football video games are synonymous with two names and two names only – EA Sports’ FIFA and Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer. For the past years, they have dominated the market on all consoles, with both of them going neck and neck in providing gamers with the best and most realistic football video games possible year after year.
During the latter part of the 2000’s, FIFA has pretty much led the race between the two football game giants. Despite its limited licensing, critical reception massively favored PES each time they met head to head for many years. Yet, partly due to the lack of innovation within PES in recent times, it has swung fully in FIFA’s favor as the most revered football game on the market. The people behind PES seemed to be satisfied to churn out the same product with each iteration of the game, albeit with some tweaks trying to replicate FIFA gameplay, and slight roster changes to reflect updates within the league. However, all that would change with Pro Evolution 2013, their latest entry in the battle for the best football video game, this time for the Nintendo 3DS.
PES 2013 for the 3DS boasts some pretty intense features, and it was able to utilize all of the device’s hardware capabilities in order to make the latest in the PES series a tough competitor once again. It was able to provide not only realism, but one of the deepest senses of control possible, giving the players the feeling that they are involved with every action done within the game.
Aside from the multiple game modes which include Exhibition and online matches, career modes, as well as training sessions that serve as both tutorials and minigames, players can also expect a high sense of realism due to the intense control that PES 2013 3D gives the gamer. They would also get to enjoy much smarter, more challenging, and more realistic AI as compared to other games before it.
Manual controls have been provided when catching, dribbling, and even shooting the ball. This gives players a variety of options when going in offense. By being able to control most actions through the Circle Pad, this version of PES 2013 for the 3DS provides very smooth control capabilities, making even the most complicated moves seem natural when performed on the control. This is also extended beyond offense, as responses when defending or keeping the goal have also been tweaked in order to provide both freedom and difficulty. Those who expect the same old game mechanics from this game would surely expect a surprise as they would feel as if they are immersing themselves in a brand new game due to the number of additions made into this title.
Aside from controls on the field, players can also manipulate a lot of factors from the sidelines. Prematch setups can be match to change positions, formations, and many other odds and ends, and they could also be saved so that you can just load them in succeeding games later on. Gamers can also call plays or change tactics on the fly, or they can opt to leave the computer to handle things such as plays or substitutions if they do not want to be bothered by these types of details.
Realism also plays a huge factor as to why we think that Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 would be such a big hit. Aside from beautifully rendered player skins that realistically captures players’ appearances, their movement patterns and mannerisms have also been emulated. Add to this an enhanced AI which means that both teammate and opponent movements would be much more natural and would be no different from what professional players would do, and you have a game that sets the bar when it comes to football simulation. With this, Konami has taken the effort to ensure that animations still run smooth within the Nintendo 3DS, although not as smoothly as in bigger and more powerful consoles, and that the 3D function of the device is able to blend beautifully with the graphics within the game, something that they are able to do so quite successfully.
PES 2013 3D can be a joy to the ears as well. Sound effects and commentaries are quite accurate, and the soundtrack is to die for. In addition, not only can players switch on or off tracks based on their preferences, but music from Classic Nintendo games such as Contra, Twin Bee, and Castlevania are also accessible. Aside from these many options, many more items such as new content can be unlocked by purchasing via the PES store.
All in all, Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D was able to jam a lot of useful content into one nifty package for the 3DS. They didn’t need to sacrifice neither quantity nor quality, something that they have guiltily done in the past. The game features some pretty new and innovative controls that players would have to spend some time to learn and master, and the various stadiums to play, the various teams to play as, and the various tournaments to join in would ensure that you will never get bored playing the same thing over and over again. PES 2013 3D has also done a wonderful job in making online gaming that much easier and convenient to do, as they can be challenged by and compete with other players either via wireless connection or via Streetpass.
Those who were disappointed with PES in the past few years might find a shred of redemption with this latest title. It can even be said that, with Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D, it would now be Konami’s time to get the football video game crown back from FIFA. With a title stacked with this many great features, there’s definitely no doubt that that could pretty much become a reality. In any case, the competition between FIFA and PES will not end any time soon, and as competition only leads to a better product for these two gaming giants, it could safely be said that, no matter who the winner is, we the gamers would ultimately be the ones to benefit.
Tested on Nintendo 3DS. Final Score: 9/10
Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D was developed exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS. It was published by Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. and was released during the last quarter of 2012.