PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER 2013 REVIEW
Kicking off the season ...
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Oct 2, 2012 14:45 (Oct 2, 2012 14:45)
Written by: Alex
My history of football games: Sensible Soccer, World Cup ’94, Sensible World of Soccer and then Winning Eleven, the series that eventually evolved in the Pro Evolution Soccer. As such, before you start reading this, it may be worth taking a trip over to my "Pro Evolution Soccer 2013" preview, as it will give you a good idea of my grasp of concepts at work here. In short, I like them, but I am not seeped in them. This does cause problems, as I am well behind the expected skill curve. Due to this lack of (recent) experience I will focus on the challenge of picking up a modern soccer simulation for the first time. Taking you on a journey from frustration to fun.
My first job was to get myself familiar with the controls. Looking at the basic instructions in the manual all seemed familiar; shoot, pass, long pass and through ball, with dash and player swapping on the bumpers. “No problem,” I thought looking at the two brightly coloured pages of the manual, “just how I remember”.
Turning the page I started to get worried, as this was where PES 2013’s advanced controls began. Gone were the bright colours, replaced instead by lists of the complicated combinations that made use of the right and left triggers to supply ‘deft’ and ‘manual’ modifiers to movement, as well as use of the right thumb stick for off the ball control. It was more than a little daunting as I tried my best to memories each combination.
Popping the game in I began with some tutorials. These did a great job of setting out many of the more advanced moves that would be vital as I continued. Despite giving an introduction to the concepts it didn't, however, do an incredible job teaching the timings of the more complicated manoeuvres. Slowly I worked my way through the trap, first touch, and 1-2 lessons, until I finally had a 20-30% handle on all the complexities. Not perfect to be sure, but PES 2013 is a game that encourages learning by doing. While I may not have perfected all of the nuances, I did appreciate they were present, and knowing that I slowly integrated them into my game.
Having navigated the troubles of training it was on to the game proper. With a range of single and multi-player options the first task was choosing exactly where to start. With a range of single match and cup modes on offer (including the UEFA and COPA champion’s leagues) to play in either single or multiplayer there was a good amount of choice. The mode that ended up winning me over was Football Life, a manager/club simulation. Starting this mode I was treated to some rather lacklustre boardroom meetings and press conference cut scenes, during which my freshly created manager was introduced to the club for the first time. All unvoiced these scenes quickly started to bore, but bar the initial setup they did provide a vital role as my PA informed me of club news.
From this point on it was in to menus. Managing the team, the training focus, transfers, items, sponsors ... everything was covered in the simulation. Moving through the calendar each day held something different, even in the pre-season, as I scouted new talent to sign from the youth team and other clubs, while directing the club.
Finally I arrived at game time ... kind of. First I had to choose between a managerial role and taking direct control of my team. After close on two hours of tutorial, I wasn't going to pass up my first shot at some action, so I jumped in to the early pre-season training match. The next menu saw me setting game strategies and formations, before finally getting into the game.
Throughout all of this I was genuinely impressed with how simple all of the menus were, in both the pre-game menus and throughout the management sections. Getting my team ready and onto the pitch was self-explanatory, with all the indicators helping me make even hard tactical changes with ease.
Finally a match and everything began to become clear. Stepping on the pitch all of my long forgotten skills began to rush back. Making use of the basic pass and attack buttons was more than enough to see me through many of the lower levels of the competition (I had the game difficult set to ‘Amateur’). All the while the skills I had been learning through the tutorial were in the back of my mind and every time I took the lead I began experimenting with them.
The other thing that stunned me as I continued to play was just how good it looked in motion, from animation to the players’ movement around the pitch. I received notes with my copy of the game, a list of all the new features added to PES 2013; Player ID, ProActive AI and PES FullControl providing the main headings for dozens of refinements that Konami have made to the game. What they add up to is that it looks and plays fantastically. Players look good as the move around the pitch (courtesy of the Player ID which models animation on real players), with some players exhibiting signature moves to make them recognisable to fans. This combines with ProActive AI to ensure they not only look natural in their movement but also their positional play, creating a truly authentic game of football.