It would be unfair to discuss FIFA 13 without talking first about its competition — PES 2013.
I took PES 2013 for a test drive this past weekend, and I have to say that while the demo Konami released this summer was underwhelming and a bit deceiving, the finished product was better. Having said that, PES still has a long way to go if it ever wants to be on top again. Konami did a lot more under the hood to refine the game mechanics from last year’s iteration and it’s a good and bad thing.
If you feel an absolute need to play with licensed teams, you can take at least an hour to hit up some of the PES modding forums where you can get the option files needed to get all the ‘licensed’ teams and events that you want as well as updated kits. PES still has rights to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup competitions as well as Copa Santander Libertadores. But with the mods you can play the World Cup, recreate Euro 2012, Africa Cup of Nations and so on. The modding by itself is what sets this title apart from FIFA as EA tends to try to milk money from the Euros and Word Cup games by selling separate products. However, Konami still misses by not having current roster updates at this point in time.
Konami didn’t do too much to add to PES 2013 compared to PES 2012. You still have same options of Football Life and a few other modes to play, but what is a new is a training mode where you can play and improve your skills in many areas.
Graphically speaking, the game isn’t different from last year’s version and you will still see many of the same canned celebrations that you saw before. My biggest concern is the frame rate (running on the PS3) seems to just chug along as the graphics engine really starts to show its age. I will say, compared to FIFA 13, the faces are slightly more accurate on PES 2013.
On the plus side, the gameplay mechanics still seem precise although I think defensively it’s more a hit and miss this year as sometimes I feel like I am button mashing just to try and stop passes but offensively when you have the ball it’s a joy to control. Learning stick movement and direction when dribbling takes practice and patience, and where EA is now touting First Touch Control, it works naturally here.
The AI is still hit and miss but somewhat improved. Defenses will close down routes in a hurry and the AI plays hard on the ball when needed. The one gripe I had, which made it over from the past games, is still the corner kicking issues. When you go to take a corner kick, no matter where your team moves, the AI will ‘slide’ and follow your player parallel to where you are going like they are literally stuck to you. Thus it’s still difficult to win many corners.