Football, if not the most, is one of the most followed sports in the world. The playing clubs and countries have fan-followings around the world. These fans can be seasonal, casual, hardcore or competition- specific. The video gaming football community is ruled by two names, FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer (PES).
The PES series was the undisputed king in the previous generation of video games like PS2 and Xbox. What made PES so brilliant was its unmatched gameplay. With the current generation of consoles released in 2005 (X360, P53), FIFA managed to get the better of PES with its great gameplay and graphics, coupled with dynamic engines, engaging commentary and the option to go online. With the PES series staggering behind for five years, a major overhaul with regards to direction took place in PES 2011. PES 2013 is finally back with major improvements after over two years to claim its long-lost crown.
Last year’s FIFA 12 brought major changes to the FIFA Series with impact engine, tactical defending and precision dribbling. This year, FIFA has its focus on two things: improving upon the changes of last year and, more importantly, first touch control. The more time players will give to FIFA 13, the more accustomed they will get to the new mechanics. These mechanics lead to unexpected results, such as unforced errors, players fudging a pass, goalies racing to collect balls etcetera. It all adds to a more realistic experience, but one that can be a bit frustrating. In some cases first touches are so bad that it feels beyond realistic and extra dramatic. At the same time Precision Dribbling is much better as you will be able to evade walls of defenders once you learn how to use it efficiently. Overall, FIFA adds to last year’s system and provides a great, coherent game of football. Perhaps the only downside is the fact that it still feels a bit patterned. So, once you learn how to score a goal, in all probability, you will be able to score another goal in the same way. (8.8/10)
Whereas PES 2011 was a step in the right direction, PES 12 missed the mark. However, 3 have certainly managed to impress everyone with its superb gameplay. The game speed has been slowed down and a host of new features such as Player ID (eerily exact movements and models of selected players), PES Full Control (complete manual passing, shooting etcetera) and Pro Active Al (smart movements by computer-controlled players) have been added. PES 2013 provides a game that is fun, unique and unpredictable, much like a real football game. Take Barcelona and Tika Taka your way to a goal, use the R2JRT button to dodge your way through defenses, or use Ronaldo’s thundering free kicks. The only issue is a steep learning curve, but once you do, its football heaven. This year, PES 13’s gameplay edges out FIFA. (9.5/10)
No competition here, FIFA 13s commentary, though not perfect, is much better than that of PES 2013. The dynamic commentary adds a realistic experience to FIFA 13. It’s also updated to comply with ongoing transfers. Realistic chants further add to the experience. The soundtrack is great, too. (9/10)
In PES 2013, while the commentary isn’t bad and certainly better than last year, it’s just a bit more than acceptable. The chants sound pretty natural, but the soundtrack is quite unimpressive. One relief is that you can add your own songs to the playlist. (6.5/10)
Graphics haven’t changed much from last year, and the game still looks great with sharp and clear visuals, improved animations, and great looking stadiums and players. Better animations this year add more realism, such as how a player recovers from a challenge or slides to keep the ball in play. (9/10)
PES 2013 is better than its predecessor with better animations and sharper looking stadiums. It has always had an edge over FIFA in terms of player faces and does the same this year round. Player ID adds unique realistic animations and once you see the game in flow, you will walk away impressed. The stadiums do look more crisp and colorful on FIFA 13 though. (9/10)
Multiplayer and Online
FIFA 13 goes full throttle when online. With a wealth of options including 11 v 11, the online component feels like a whole extra game. Great matchmaking, importing level and experience points from FIFA 12, and a very strong online community all add to a great online experience and hours upon hours of gameplay. Offline Multiplayer is good as well. (9.5/10)
PES 13 provides a good online experience but seems dry when compared to FIFA in terms of options. The matchmaking is better and the Master League Online has improved greatly over the past two years. Offline Multiplayer is brilliant as always and allows great competitive matches. (8/10)
FIFA 13 covers most licenses which is a big factor in helping people decide which game to buy. EPL, LaLiga, Eredevisie etcetera, all Leagues are licensed. (10/10)
The major weakness of PES has always been licenses. Although this year they boast the Champions League. Europa League, LaLiga, Copa Santander Libertadores among others, they are still lacking licenses like that of EPL. However, you can get around this easily by installing a small patch on any console, which is supported by a very strong community. (7.5/10)
FIFA 13: 9.3/10
PES 13: 9/10
Both FIFA and PES provide strong cases for our preferences. It has been a long time since the war has been this close between the two games. If you want a game to play online with great features, then FIFA is the way to go. If online gaming doesn’t interest you, then PES should be your option. It provides excellent gameplay and with a small patch easily available online, you can have all the licenses available.