OXCGN’s FIFA13 vs PES13 Derby Review
Who wins the 2012 Premiership?
by : Arthur Kotsopoulos
©2012 Arthur Kotsopoulos
EA and Konami have released their latest iterations in their respective football (soccer) franchises and whilst in the last couple of years competition has been fairly stale, this year both studios have brought out the best in each other.
There’s a massive overhaul in both franchises from menu layouts, gameplay and added features. No stone has been left un-turned in bringing the most realistic representation of the world’s beautiful game.
I’ve split up this review in to different categories to directly compare certain aspects of both FIFA13 and PES13 (Pro Evolution Soccer 13) . We’ll start off with the what makes these football titles tick, the gameplay, as without it everything else practically falls apart.
Which of the two wins the 2012 Premiership?
FIFA13: With every FIFA there is always a learning curve when it comes to gameplay, as even the smallest of changes seem to drastically change the way the football is played. I’ve been quite vocal about ‘First Touch’ in that I feel it may be too sensitive for my liking.
In most online matches I have payed against Real Madrid I have found payers such as Ozil and Kaka lobbing through balls over my players with C. Ronaldo plowing through the mid-field with the ball landing at his feet 90% of the time.
A team such as Barcelona seems to strangely scoop passes off the ground when they’re not under pressure and shouldn’t be giving away scrappy hospital balls.
Players such as Van Persie who has an amazing first touch and shooting skills struggling to stop the ball at his feet whilst under no pressure when we clearly know he’s better than that.
This works both ways where I would score off every corner with a clean header because Pique wouldn’t be marked at all. I’ve found that it is extremely easy to run with your player down the bottom of the pitch, pass your defender, lob the ball in the box for a header every time.
Scoring still feels easy and especially from outside of the box with a finesse shot whether it’s top corner or bottom corner and through a few players, it will result in a goal 90% of the time.
Slipping through your opponent’s defense is like a hot knife through butter; they mostly do not mark their player or barely contest the ball, which I’ve found to be the case with others who I’ve discussed this with.
It feels like ‘First Touch’ is a double-edged sword. On one side, when it works the game is unpredictable, you need to play more strategically and you can dictate the pace of the game to suit your style of play.
Defense is a must and pressuring your opponent with the ball could mean they stuff up and give you the counter-attacking opportunity. Any one mistake could result in going down by a goal or 2 and from there, your morale will reflect on your teams ability to play.
When it doesn’t work though, then the game becomes quite silly and has little to no momentum, no finesse, and you’ll find both players struggling to string together more than 2 passes with the ball bouncing off each other and causing players to trip over.
Let’s not forget about the poor goalkeeper AI that still plagues FIFA to date. Chelsea’s goalkeeper Peter Czech, during one match brilliantly watched as the ball strolled towards his goal. He then walked backwards into his own goal, decided to trip over himself, somehow getting a hand to the ball, only for it to deflect into one of my players, who scored.
This is the kind of unpredictability I don’t like; the shoddy AI that still does unpredictable but unrealistic actions.
PES13: This year PES is a different beast altogether. The previous two years’ PES saw itself in the shadow of FIFA continually falling short where it should have been excelling. It took two years to get to this point but Konami are finally back on track with Pro Evolution.
PES13 is intricate and requires dedication to master. If you’re not up to the task then you can go dozens of matches without scoring a goal and in the real world of football scoring a goal is never an easy task.
Whilst the game does assist your shots and passes to an extent, the beauty that comes from PES is the Full Manual Control given to the player, from passing, lobbed crosses to shooting.
Its learning curve is definitely steep and if you’re not experienced with the gameplay controls, then be sure to put in the hard yards to learn them. You won’t be scoring as easily as you would be in FIFA13 as I came to learn.
Your accuracy needs to be 100% when it comes to scoring goals so don’t expect to be scoring outside of the box even with the best players in the game. The ball swerves, dips and curves realistically due to the nature of the shot.
PES13 is all about defense and it is always crucial as slipping up in this area will affect the outcome of the game. You will lose flow and your opponent can capitalize much like FIFA. However where FIFA allows you to score from ridiculous angles, PES13 won’t be as forthcoming.
You will not enjoy PES13 if you’re not willing to adapt and learn, especially if you’re coming from the FIFA franchise. It’s difficult, yet oh so rewarding, when you do score. As someone who has played indoor soccer for 4 years I have found it much more difficult to score when a team is defending so brilliantly.
From time to time I did find the assisted passing to be off and switched to manual passing to improve my game. It definitely helped but it took me hours to mold my game style into pressing that extra button when it came down to it. Like I said it’s an intricate and complicated game that is only for the most dedicated of players.
FIFA13: EA continues to help me discover bands and songs that I enjoy listening to whilst in the menus, however this year they’ve completely butchered one certain song for me. Whoever thought it was a good idea to have ‘Club Foot” by Kasabian play during the pre-match cinematic needs to be stripped of their privileges.
Everyone always, and I mean always, skips the pre-match cinematic so adding this song just frustrates me greatly. Suffice to say that’s the only ‘real’ problem I had with the audio.
The soundtrack is fresh and sets the mood accordingly, the crowd cheers and chants as they would in a normal match of football and with the inclusion of ‘Match Day’, Martin Tyler and Alan Grey have a much more diverse vocabulary to play with.
They’ll comment on various player’s performances through the season, real-life events, and this feature isn’t limited to just commentary, with real world statistics affecting players attributes on the pitch.
You’ll still notice that they’ll repeat certain phrases or say the wrong thing for example: Martin Tyler proclaimed after I scored a header that just crossed the line by a few cm that it was a marvelous strike with great force that hit the back of the net.
PES13: Konami has tried to bring PES13 to modern times and whilst the commentary isn’t as fluid as its competition it still provides a decent atmosphere to be engaged in. Yes, Jon Champion and Jim Beglin may sound quite dull and boring to listen to at times but they do provide a bit of a different engagement when compared to Martin Tyler and Andy Grey.
The game’s soundtrack is as diverse as FIFA however it seems like a bit of hit and miss, as some songs sound rather annoying to listen to and I found myself needing to skip certain tracks when flicking through the menus.
Konami are learning so it’s a given to have a few tracks that aren’t as enjoyable as the latter.
FIFA13: FIFA has always had that shining menu layout that’s packed with dozens of options yet never manages to become cluttered or annoying to use. The magic continues with FIFA13 and everything is strategically placed.
EA Vancouver have introduced yet another half a dozen new features (I’ve seriously lost count) and this year I get the feeling they’re going for content over quality. I found myself continuously switching various tabs just to land on ‘Seasons’ to enjoy a simple game online.
There is definitely a lot of information being conveyed on the screen from the ticker down the bottom to the information box on the top left hand corner. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed with menu after menu and a flurry of various news and player information.
Whilst it may not feature a mode selection as robust as FIFA I still found it a little frustrating to navigate and spent a minute or two struggling to find what I was looking for.
If PES is to introduce new modes in future entries it needs an overhaul of its menu layout much like it has done with its gameplay to provide the player with a smooth experience.
There’s always someone out there that is better than you.
It’s a known fact that in the first fortnight of release, every FIFA always has issues with its servers, whether it’s the stress of hundreds of thousands of players smashing them at once I wouldn’t know. What I do know is that it’s hindered my ability to play online during it’s launch.
FIFA over the past 4-6 years has always had the same problems however never to this extent. I spent most of my nights continually finding an opponent, listening to “Club Foot” (which brings me back to the audio component for 10 seconds only to have the game disconnect)
Searching for a player for longer than 15+ minutes to no avail or having the game load up to the point where I’m in the stadium kicking the ball around before the game to not go anywhere and having to go to the dashboard.
It has improved over the course of its release with game having minimal lag input and a very few disconnects but I found it unacceptable for a game of this stature to have such a horrible online experience during its launch.
After so many years of doing that exact same thing at its launch, especially with a company such as EA, there should be solutions to these problems.
Over the last 2 years due to a lack of an online following my experience has been horrible with the latency making it unbearable to play. Being pitted against players from around the world was never something I enjoyed. Players glitching all over the pitch and a very slow and delayed input made the whole online functionality of PES defunct.
Due to an almost complete overhaul in many areas it was definitely a treat to see that I was being paired up with fellow Australians and the online experience was smooth. There were a few hiccups that I encountered but nothing which ruined the experience for me and definitely none that we of the same nature as PES10 and 11.
FIFA13: With this years FIFA we see the return of old game modes (Ultimate Team, Be A Pro) and some new ones as well. It’s a very robust entourage of modes and you will need to manage yourself extensively to experience all of them.
From offline kick off to online tournaments with friends to career mode and Match Day, it will be a struggle to enjoy them all before FIFA14 is released and ultimately introduces more features.
The newest and most noticeable game mode in FIFA13 however is definitely ‘Skill Games’.
This mode will test your skills with the core of football. From chipping, shooting passing, dribbling the ball, free kicks and more these basic functions of football have all been disguised as mini-games.
If you’re looking for a way to familiarize yourself with how to play and master FIFA Skill Games is perfect. It’s been a feature I have sorely missed from FIFA and I welcome its triumphant return.
PES13: PES13, whilst being the more difficult game to master, includes a Performance Training mode where you can tackle the offending and defending controls head on to truly encompass the intricacy of PES13.
The officially licensed UEFA Champions League and South American Copa Libertadores tournaments are once again present in PES13 and remain untouched. With the increase in FIFA‘s popularity, the outdated game modes could be the game’s downfall in looking to attract players. It’s one thing to give the player an amazing recreation of the beautiful game but you also need content to keep them engaged.
Online Mode as well is as you would expect jump online, each territory has its own little community from which you can engage in rival matches with another city. You can create communities for you and your friends and rival each other.
FIFA13: The bulk of your time spent with FIFA13 will be in its career mode. If you wish to start your career as a player you can create a young prodigy and hone him to become one of the greatest footballers in history on the domestic and international stage until ultimately retiring and or continuing as a manager.
If this doesn’t tickle your fancy then choosing a manager will allow you to take the reins of your chosen football club and have the best starting eleven week in week out. If you manage to keep them happy and deliver results, then a potential opportunity may arise to manage a team on an international level.
Being a manager isn’t all it’s cracked up to be however, as you will be tasked with some difficult decisions. When wishing to purchase a player you so desperately want in your team you will need to be willing to trade existing players for such a privilege.
The drama unfolds on and off the pitch and it’s definitely the better and more challenging path way to take when choosing to start a new career.
If you choose to build a player from start then you have the option of importing your face via your Kinect camera and then manipulate his characteristics to suit your body.
Anyone who has played any sports titles will evidently be accustom to such in-depth customisation options. Once you’ve passed the initial customisation screen you’re then thrown into the world of football.
Whilst planning your calendar tightly you’ll be required to manage your training sessions and matches, all whilst achieving club and player goals. Become A Legend is the traditional career mode that will create the bulk of your game time if you don’t play online.
Master League on the other hand is moving away from the traditional methods of football simulations and adds a very different approach.
It’s an interesting way to play the game but one I don’t think that the football fans will spend too much time in.
I certainly didn’t see myself enjoying it as much as thought I would, only because it changes the dynamic of the game quite extensively. It will have its audience that is for sure.
Want to play at Camp Nou? No problems. Bored of the style of the pitch? Easily changed.
These are just some of the small cosmetic changes given to the user. Players kits are up to date with the ability to unlock classic kits for most teams you’ll be getting the most authentic game experience imaginable.
FIFA has always excelled in this area and it will continue to do so in the future.
PES13: Pro Evolution, whilst slowly starting to attract more licensing, has always nailed player models and characteristic movements. C. Ronaldo is THE shining example of this and it’s ever more evident when looking at FIFA13.
After comparing some side by side photos of various player models in both titles, PES13 this year is the shining example of perfectly representing their real life look.
The customization in PES13 is as deep as FIFA13, with the ability to change options such as pitch, ball and weather, however when it comes to team names and player kits there are a few patches on the pitch that need fixing up.
This comes down to licensing and when you’re competing with EA and the FIFA franchise I can understand it wouldn’t be as easy to have complete licensing in the game. It doesn’t hinder it one bit however and it’s a just a mere cosmetic fault that’s easily overlooked.
Every year EA are continually improving FIFA, with this year seeming to feature the most robust amount of changes, yet whilst it may have its dedicated fans I feel they’ll be more divided over the complicated changes.
Whilst gameplay is quite sensitive and finicky it can be extremely frustrating at times and whilst an update may potentially be able to change the dynamic of ‘First Touch’, for the moment you’ll have to endure the ping-pong style of gameplay that will be evident in most of your games.
There are no real faults present with the game and it will all come down to every individual’s preference and play style.
Third time is always a charm and after 2 abysmal games with poor offline and online capabilities PES13 has rectified the franchise and brought some much-needed competition into the virtual world of football.
Konami still have a lot of tweaking to do before we can safely say Pro Evolution is back to its best.
PES13 is definitely an improvement and one that the fans who have stayed with the franchise will welcome and enjoy. If the untouched game modes, dull commentary and lack of licensing isn’t an issue, you will not find a more rewarding football simulator this year.
©2012 Arthur Kotsopoulos
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