At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players
Andy Armstrong PlayStation 3 Konami PES Productions Up to 7 (local), 8 (Online)
Requirements Also on... Buy from
None. Xbox 360, PC, PSP Click here to buy Pro Evolution Soccer 2013.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 review

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 is the latest installment of Konami's Winning 11 franchise. There has always been a loyal set of fans which sit in one of two camps; The FIFA camp and the PES camp. For a long time I was a FIFA fan until the start of the current generation of consoles. PES 6 was the first PES game I played and loved it - I switched camps and for football games, this is a rare occurrence.

PES has grown in graphical stature, and in how it replicates the sport; once it was obvious that the development team behind the game spent more time and capacity on making sure the gameplay was tight and specific instead of spending budget on licences for teams or stadiums. However, typical restrictions still apply and "Merseyside Red", for example, is still disappointing to see. In addition the game offers up a standard set of game types - nothing new or out of the ordinary, just slightly better versions of the previous release's work.

All the licenced teams tend to show up in the official screenshots for some reason

All the licenced teams tend to show up in the official screenshots for some reason

I tend towards playing multiplayer components of my games more than I play the single player where there is a lack of a story or the style of game doesn't fit a single player experience very very well. PES therefore was played extensively online and this gave me a good chance to spot the differences between PES 2012's online capabilities and PES 2013's. You may be surprised to hear that the online functionality of PES 2013 was a disappointment. If you compare the type of features available from FIFA's online services they completely outshadow PES', which consist of little more than a simple 1v1 ranked ladder and practice games. We have come to expect more from the online components in the games we buy, and I feel surprised that PES hasn't caught onto the fact that simply updating the graphics a tiny amount and updating a player database isn't enough to persuade somebody to part with hard earned cash.

But we already discussed its more about how it plays on the field, so if that's slick and perfect then there is still value in the game. The control speed and accuracy is stunning. Stringing together complex passes as you spot smartly controlled AI support play gives you the chance to create some simply sublime football. The bit which lets me down is when you craft a stunning goal, such as one similar to Argentina's 25 pass goal against Serbia and Montenegro in 2006, is that you then get a stuttery jagged-looking replay system to watch it again. It looks so unrefined that it lets the game down again.

Can he kick it? Yes he can.

Can he kick it? Yes he can.

One of the new key features is the ability to place the specific angle of the shot which has been possible to an extent in previous versions. I find the facility very hard to use - it feels similar to when FIFA introduced dual control so you could make another player run off in a different direction at the same time as controlling the player who currently has the ball. It's not easy, and it's confusing. Frequently when trying to use this new feature it ends up making me mess up the shot instead of floating the perfect shot into the top right.

I don't know if I my passion for the game has simply reduced because of FIFA's increasingly advanced graphics and gameplay, or if it's simply that I don't see PES being worth the money when all things told PES 2013 is the same as PES 2012, but really I am not very impressed. If PES 2014 disappoints in a similar vein and the back of the box advertises "more recognisable players" as a key feature instead of real improvements, I may be switching back to the FIFA camp.


Overall Pro Evolution Soccer 2013's gameplay can be slick and perfect, but it is let down by relatively feature-lacking multiplayer and a lack of noticeable improvements. 7/10

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