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October 4, 2012
Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 - PS3 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
20/9/2012MindscapeKonamiKonami1-72-4
Media HDD Install Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating
Disc50MB720pNoNoG

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Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 is available now.
Despite running Futuregamez for well over a decade now we have actually reviewed very few soccer games over the years. We're not sure why, but in any case it's probably important to note that I, personally, am going into this review with little benchmark to base the games quality upon. Sure, I've played plenty of PES and FIFA titles over the years, but never to the extent that I can offer in-depth comparison to previous versions. One thing that hasn't changed though is the battle between EA's FIFA franchise and Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer, and it's Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 which I am reviewing right here...

Naturally there's no story required for this game, but there are so many game modes in PES 2013 that every soccer fan should be satisfied. First up is the Match Mode which allows you to enter an Exhibition Matches, Ranking Matches to achieve the number one rankings, Friendly Match Lobby to play online with customised settings, or even the ability to Watch Exhibition Match between two CPU controlled teams. Following that are the UEFA Champions League and Copa Santader Libertadores Modes which allows you to enter the Competition to become Europe or Latin America's top club, play an Exhibition Match, or Watch and Exhibition Match.

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Goalkeeping is improved in PES 2013.
Next up is Football Life which is the real meat of the game with modes including Master League, Become a Legend and Master League Online. The Master League (which is playable online through the Online option) is essentially the franchise mode where you will not only manage the club, which includes hiring and firing players and staff, but also take control of the team on the pitch. It's also possible to use items in this mode which include consumables or equipment or boots to enhance the players’ abilities.

In the Become a Legend Mode you chose from either the European or Latin American Leagues and then set up your player with his name, position, looks, skillset and much more. Once the game is set up you will then follow this player through a career and when you hit the matches on the pitch you control that single player. It's a great, fun, way to experience the life of a soccer player - but a little more personality to the storyline and cut-scenes would go a long way to generate even more interest.

We do have a few niggles with the Football Life modes. When managing the team there are moments when text appears on-screen, but occasionally you aren't given enough time to read it all. It would have been nice to have dialogue rather than text based conversations too. Even if you don't speak (that can take you "out" of the game so to speak), there is no reason why you assistant or other people can't talk - no doubt having to record all the dialogue in multiple languages would have been a chore for Konami, but in our books, worth it. The Blu-Ray disc would certainly have enough space to include multiple languages.

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Valencia's home ground, Mestalla Stadium
Moving on PES 2013 includes a Competition section which offers both Offline and Online Competitions including the Konami Cup, International Cup, European Cup, African Cup, American Cup and Asia-Oceanian Cup. After selecting the Cup you wish to play for you will then select your team, be shown the groups for the playoff rounds (which can be modified) and then the General settings including match level, time, injuries and fatigue.

Following the Competition Section the game offers Training Drills which are handy to learn the nuances of gameplay, an Edit mode to change players, teams and stadiums, an Information Menu to check online information and news and download updates and packs (including new stadiums etc), a Gallery to check match results, check nicknames, play back saved replays and view the game credits, and finally an Options Menu to check Personal Data, Online, System Settings and access the Playlist Editor. To say this game is loaded with features and options is an understatement indeed - but, in fact, there's so much detail in many of these modes it almost becomes overwhelming at times (especially for newcomers like me).

All these modes are nice, and certainly well thought out, but how does PES 2013 play on the pitch you ask? When developing PES 2013 the team paid particular attention to individual skills and abilities for players and full control over shots at goal. Gameplay is pretty standard in that X passes the ball, Square shoots at goal, R1 sprints, and so non but you can also press the L2 button to modify ball movements. It's all super slick and very natural indeed. Of course you can also set up team strategies and plays during matches.

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PES 2013's main viewpoint.
There have been plenty of modifications to the gameplay too - and given we didn't play the last couple of years games ourselves we can't say how much of an improvement has been made, but they are there. First of all the games speed has been slowed down a little to match real matches, goalkeepers have been improved and made more precise with a power gauge when throwing the ball back in, game balance has been a focus too with developers working with PES fans to ensure realism, and teams now move in a more realistic action depending on what's happening on the pitch. Having said that we must say that when moving out player around the pitch the AI controlled players still didn't respond too well if you, for instance, moved a player in the right back into the left wing attacking with the ball. Some players tended to get a little confused. Still, minor niggles that "realistic" play of passing the ball up to the attackers would resolve.

I'm going to sidetrack here for a bit, but it is believed that from next year the Pro Evolution Soccer series will be developed at Konami's new PES London Studio - or at least will be partially developed there including European customisation and given that the majority of the game is based in Europe this is can only be a good thing. It's also rumoured that Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 may even use Kojima Productions new Fox Engine which is powering Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes which, if true, would not even provide many visual enhancements, but also support for next-gen consoles (read: PS4). Of course, much of this is speculation at this stage.

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The UEFA Champions League is in PES 2013.
There really aren't too many issues with this title and in fact we feel that many of the issues Michael encountered in last years game - that being players being offside frequently, or imprecise controls - didn't seem too frequent to us so perhaps Konami have tidied up these issues a bit (or perhaps we're just better than Michael at PES). We did, however, seem to get yellow carded a lot more than the CPU ever did which seemed unfair. Kudos to Konami too for allowing you to install the game data (which runs at 3534MB) through the Options Menu if you wish to reduce loading times when playing the game. Unfortunately the game has the annoying habit of saving data before and after every menu change and match which while only taking a few seconds annoys, and perhaps the save sizes could have been smaller - we have seven save files (no more than one per game mode) at up to 9MB each, plus several goal replays saved at around 5MB each. That's around 50MB of save data in total.

Last year Michael complained about the Replay system in the game where after every goal, or foul, replays would show the moment several more times over. While skippable he complained they became annoying. Well, guess what. Konami haven't changed a thing and now that I've played this year’s title I agree wholeheartedly that it becomes annoying and there needs to be an option to turn them off - although it is nice to be able to save any goals for later playback (how about an option to upload to Youtube though Konami?). Finally as you progress through matches you will earn new nicknames such as "The Sniper" or "Il Papero" and while these are nice and can be assigned to your player it would be nice to know under what conditions these nicknames are unlocked.

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Barcelona vs Valencia.
Visually Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 is very impressive with slick menus, fantastic looking stadiums (which include sponsors logos around the pitch) and superb animations. Indeed in any sports title the animation on the players is crucial in creating a realistic looking title and in that regard this game is a winner with everything from running, dribbling, passing, shooting, and tackling all looking authentic. Also impressive are the cameras, in particular in the Become a Legend mode where the camera pans in and out to show the players with the ball, as well as the player you are controlling. Konami have also included a 3D mode for those with 3DTV's and while the effect is somewhat limited during gameplay there are some nice 3D moments in cut-scenes etc.

It's not all perfect with the visuals though as we have seen occasional clipping issues on the players, and more prevalent tackles where bodies don't even touch (it reminded us of Italy robbing Australia in the World Cup a few years ago!). While players look fantastic on the pitch, when the game cuts to close-up shots of players they tend to lack some realism compared to real-life counterparts. Having said that it has no impact on gameplay, just presentation. Also disappointing are the crowds which, while active, certainly don't look realistic and not even up to the wonderful crowds seen in Sega's London 2012 this year - then again Sega's titles doesn't have anywhere near the complexity to gameplay so perhaps it's a resource issue with CPU/GPU power.

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On the pitch, PES 2013 is visually impressive, but it's animation that impresses the most.
Not to be outdone by the gameplay or visuals, the sound too is very impressive with aggressive use of surround sound channels to bring the crowds to life during the matches and their excitement levels, cheers and groans match the action on the pitch. Music, which plays during the menus, is varied enough to never become super repetitive and the songs are certainly catch enough.

Of course as with almost any sports game the audio lives or dies by the on-pitch calls from players (which are pretty good in this game), while the commentary by John Champion and Jim Beglin was quite good but does become repetitive and isn't overly accurate with some comments being off the mark in particular about the matches excitement levels. If a match is scoreless at half time comments will often be made about the lack of excitement - despite multiple shots at goal or keeper-required saves. In looking back on Michaels review of last years game he had almost identical comments so I doubt much work has been done here.

Despite playing numerous soccer titles over the years it has been a long time since playing one in depth for review - and we had a lot of fun. Technically Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 looks and sounds wonderful while the gameplay is engaging at all times. We can't do a detailed comparison to previous years, but our experiences with this game have been very positive indeed. Definately worth a look for casual, or hardcore, soccer fans.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSA few rough edges, but the most important aspect, the player animations during matches, is superb.
84%
SOUNDDecent music, good on-field effects, and decent, but occasionally inaccurate, commentary.
80%
GAMEPLAYAs a moderate "noob" to soccer games this was very entertaining when the controls were mastered.
89%
VALUEPlenty of game modes, options and fun will have you back often. Doesn't appear to be much new (game mode wise) from last year though which may detract from value?
80%
OVERALLPES 2013 is a fantastic soccer fan with a few rough edges, but will still please any soccer fan. I can't comment on improvements from previous titles, but as a newcomer this was very enjoyable.
86%

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