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FIFA 13 vs PES 13 – comparing and contrasting

Monday, 1st October 2012 12:41 GMT By Nick Akerman

FIFA’s gone straight in at the top of the UK chart, but this year’s battle with long-time combatant PES is a closer thing than EA may like. Nick Akerman compares the latest instalments of both series.

PES is unlikely to ever topple its competitor’s exclusive licenses, production values, and remains years behind when considering the physicality of the sport. Now the developer understands this, a new direction is taking shape.

September is always a month of change. The weather chills, kids go back to school, and gaming’s football elite reappear for another virtual El Clasico. Much like the performances of FIFA 13 and PES 2013′s cover stars, there’s very little to separate the two franchises this year.

Both continue to tweak away, etching towards a winning vision. As Liverpool fans will know, such promises must be given time. FIFA has enjoyed a generation of success, echoing the trophy-laden haul of Manchester United across the past decade. Critical and commercial domination has followed, leaving many questioning whether or not PES has the capabilities to compete once more.

As recent reviews suggest, Konami’s rebuilding process is going well. The game is finally embracing its arcade tag wholeheartedly. This realisation is an important one, as recent iterations have looked reluctant to fully-commit down a single path. PES is unlikely to ever topple its competitor’s exclusive licenses, production values, and remains years behind when considering the physicality of the sport. Now the developer understands this, a new direction is taking shape.

PES 2013 plays a more robust game than its older brothers. Passing, dribbling and shooting has received attention across the past 12 months. The addition of improved manual assistance alongside default settings ensures players of all abilities can compete. Executing a precise through ball or controlling secondary teammates while in possession might confuse casual players, but its a godsend for the hardcore audience. Akin to a beat ‘em up like Street Fighter IV, average gamers have the chance to play in a manner that suits them. Just because Ryu can pull off a Metsu Hadouken Ultra Combo doesn’t mean it has to be utilised for victory.

PES Productions continues to expand. A UK-based studio is in the works and should aid the development of the series. Perhaps Konami is issuing a direct challenge to the English-heavy EA Canada studio by planting a team in football’s back garden. New additions to the side have a difficult task ahead of them. Although PES 2013 is a step forward on the pitch, content and presentation often feels like you’re flicking through the crayon scribblings of a Wayne Rooney autobiography.

To put it bluntly, Konami must start learning from its mistakes. In a year that sees FIFA evolve its Manager Mode and add 11 vs 11 seasons to Pro Clubs, PES rehashes old experiences. Master League used to be the Holy Grail of single-player sports campaigns. This hasn’t evolved since the series made its Xbox 360 debut and has developed some irritating problems. Club information arrives in the form of lectures from your colleagues. Slow cutscenes contradict the tic-tac gameplay, adding fragility to the sturdy arms that have welcomed players so warmly over the years.

FIFA 13′s Newcastle launch. They’re all excited, divvent ye nur.

FIFA capitalises on such shortcomings, but does make its own howlers. Manager Mode continues to improve year-on-year and is finally introducing snippets of football away from the turf. Newspaper reports call out poor performances, start weightless rumours, and follow transfer sagas with vigour. From post-match recaps to live Soccer Saturday styled commentary, an emphasis is put on minor details.

Unfortunately, FIFA Ultimate Team doesn’t get the same treatment. The game is yet to release and EA have already had to deal with exploitations and hacking. Ultimate Team has the power to become an obsession whether you spend money on its collectible cards or not.

Although this mode has received single-player seasons and a smattering of new paint, problems continue to arise. Any player who has spent time building their squad will understand how addictive the process becomes. Time, effort and money is often sacrificed so the latest in-form player can be brought in to bolster struggling teams. For an entire year formations are altered, personnel swapped, and injuries received heading into vital matches. These hardships are overcome with skill and determination. How are players rewarded? The developer builds a loving relationship with an individual before dumping them 12 months down the line.

Ultimate Team players are dedicated to an EA business model that doesn’t care for them. When fans fire up the servers on release day they will be greeted with the familiar feeling of emptiness. Traces of what used to be are exchanged for cries of wasted time.

Of course, it’s only right players start each season with bronze cards. What isn’t acceptable is the giant chasm that sucks up the work of an entire year. I want my own Ultimate Team history book. I want to remember all the trophies I’ve accumulated, my entire club record, and all the other nuggets football fans discuss down the local.

Who is my club’s most prolific scorer? Who is my longest serving player? Which awful signing did I spend the most on in 2009? Not a foggiest. EA has so many options with Ultimate Team and must initiate some sort of tangible reward system for the next update.

With that said, the vast majority of FIFA 13′s content is spot on. Comparisons to PES in this department aren’t worth making. The most difficult argument arises when considering the style of each game. Both have major improvements that need to be addressed for 2014. Konami’s better performance should be welcomed by the opposition and will only serve to make both titles even stronger.

Fans will wage war as to which game is superior. This exercise is as pointless as rival season ticket holders arguing who supports the better club. With PES 2013′s greater sense of direction and FIFA 13′s methodical tweaking, there’s plenty to enjoy whether you’re red or blue.

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12 Comments

  1. viralshag

    At the moment and for the near future the best Pro can wish for is to be competitive. No matter how “close” they are, give it a month or two and everyone will be playing FIFA and Pro might be an occasional bargain-bin/pre-owned pick up.

    FIFA needs to have a shit year and Pro an exceptional one. As long as more people are buying and playing FIFA, their friends and others they know will too.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. PEYJ

    I’m glad PES made a comeback this year. Never really enjoyed FIFA as it mostly seem to be about the bling (licenses and applications). Not sure what is meant by the physicality of the sport? If we are talking about gameplay (passing and AI) I highly disagree, as PES in the past and now again with this version is far superiour to FIFA; too many animations in the latter one, though I haven’t tried the last FIFA version except for the demo which sucked.

    As for impact on changing your formation and tactics, I always found PES to be lightyears ahead of FIFA. I guess its the lack of real challenge from the cpu, a lot of bling and licences, that gave FIFA their massive lead. PES do have the Champions League license but apparently that doesn’t count for much. Odd.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Dimaco

    Well as a long time fan of Iss Pro (that’s what I like to call it) I have to admit the last editions weren’t exactly superb… (I tried fifa, and didn’t like it either, though).
    Good for PES (and for us) that this year’s version REALLY feels better in all and every section, going back to that glorious feel of control you had with the best editions of the past… and that counts more than any license any other game could throw in.
    (for me at least!)

    #3 2 years ago
  4. GwynbleiddiuM

    Konami really did good by PES’s gameplay this year, sad thing though, Horrendous commentary is still there, Engine is so last gen, graphics also (a minor issue but still an issue), and again licensing! I don’t know why do they even bother with that! If you can’t get it all in there at least make everything fake, What the fuck is East London, northwest London?! Nothing annoys me more than that, each time they release I have to update rosters and kits through mod community. I mean you have all the year to develop your game and the rosters you put in there are for 2 years ago? What madness is that?

    #4 2 years ago
  5. GK

    Fifa kicks PES ass again.totaly boring and arcade football game can’t offer anything.like every year i try PES and every year is garbage.Fifa have no competition in football.every year they have to step up on them self to create even better football game.shame on PES

    #5 2 years ago
  6. GwynbleiddiuM

    @GK You strike me as someone who has no idea what he’s talking about, you’re obviously a FIFA fanboy. You have no idea how different the PES gameplay is compared to last year and it’s much better, although FIFA remains on top because they work is not focused on one aspect of the game, they produced an all around great product.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. viralshag

    @6, Why do you think he is a fanboy because of that? If anything that’s the same reason I won’t bother with PES this year. It is an arcade football game and in comparison to FIFA really doesn’t have much to offer in terms of variety and options.

    It’s all well and good saying “Konami has done a good job this year” but that pretty much amounts to them doing a good job in the sense of releasing something that isn’t completely terrible.

    As you said, FIFA will continue to be on top because they release a complete package, an all round good football game. If Konami’s strategy is to improve one part of the game every year, considering all that is wrong with it, you’re gonna be there a long time.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. GwynbleiddiuM

    @7 Have you played it?

    #8 2 years ago
  9. viralshag

    @8, I played the demo more than a few times to get the feel of the controls but anything more than that, no. And I really don’t think I need to either.

    Going off what write-ups, what fans say, and the demo – I know that it is still a second place game and for me it’s clear the distance between the two is still too far for me to even consider Pro again.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. GwynbleiddiuM

    Did that playing through the demo felt as arcade as 2012? I’m not trying to convince you to buy it, I said it myself that it still comes short on every front. But the gameplay is not as arcade-ish as it used to be, wouldn’t you agree?

    #10 2 years ago
  11. viralshag

    Since PES6, the last pro game I loved and still own, my problem is they got lost trying to become more sim than arcade and that’s where it all suffered. I do think the game plays better than than the last five versions but overall the game just still feels so lacking.

    Maybe that’s because I’m too accustomed to FIFA, I don’t know. I would love for Pro to make a real comeback but until they really try to evolve parts of their game – such as the master league, which truly was superb back in the day – I just don’t see it happening.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. GK

    i never been any game fanboy,including FIFA.there are better games and not so good games.and how i said before,i try PES every year,because i searching the best.how i go from NBA Live to NBA 2K,maybe one day i gonna go to PES.but now it’s FIFA time.

    #12 2 years ago

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