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Published on October 18th, 2012 | by Louis Garcia, Contributor

Derby match: FIFA 13 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 Reviews

Countless reviews are out for Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 2013 and FIFA 13, but soccer fans only want to know one thing: which one is better. Each game is broken down under soccer terms that fans will understand–and in a way that will help you find which one you’ll be scoring a goal with when you lay down your hard-earned cash.

FIFA 13

Highlights:

A lot of reviews claim this year’s FIFA is but an upgrade compared to last year’s overhaul. It’s billed as a better game, but also a similar one with minor improvements–but that shouldn’t understated.

Although this year’s changes are minor, just like a great team, the previous year’s overhaul is hitting its stride. Barcelona may not have thrived enough on the use of their false nine position last year in La Liga, but this year they are firmly in the driver’s seat and flourishing from their tactical changes.

FIFA 13 mimics that success and transitions from clunky and glitchy gameplay overhaul in FIFA 12, to a true masterclass performance.

Gone are the glitches and unreal contact associated with the new physics system. Players have grown smarter–and most importantly–players are reacting accurately with their touches and shots.

The way players take down touches from a long-ball, or receive a pass while either stationary or running onto a through-ball mimics what players do every weekend in every league across the globe.

Sometimes a star player’s touch eludes him while taking a ball inside the 18-yard box, only to let the ‘keeper scoop it up. Not every striker can cleanly trap a 40-yard pass from the air and over his head. Getting shoved while taking a shot will alter the path of even the best striker’s shot. Players will slide and stretch to try and get a foot onto a wayward pass.

This is what makes FIFA 13 the Lionel Messi of this year’s soccer video game offerings. EA’s game is more realistic; it features minor upgrades–but those improvements make the game a near-perfect experience. Like a great team, the game has had the time to finally gel into a more complete product.

Playing soccer is fun enough, but FIFA 13 gives players multiple game modes to kick a ball around in. One of the best, and most refined this year, is the Ultimate Team.

In it you buy, trade, and sell cards of players, contracts, managers and other soccer-related items with either real money, or virtual coins earned by completing matches and tournaments. Cards have different rarity levels. For example: A Messi card is a gold card and highly rare and valuable. Your run-of-the-mill Major League Soccer player is a bronze. Some cards have special rarity levels, meaning they are more elusive, and also wroth more money. Not only are they more rare, but they also feature the same gold players on them, but with higher, in-form stats.

The buying and selling of cards makes for a much more compelling, and nerve-wracking, experience than anything found in the game’s league mode. Not only that, but it’s now easier to accrue virtual coins, and the mode is accessible on your computer (well, when it’s not under maintenance) for easier access to your team.

Also new to FIFA is shopping. Coins are earned after completing matches. Those coins can be used to purchase upgrades to player stats, new balls or cleats, goal celebrations and other items. Reaching higher levels unlocks more goodies to purchase.

It’s not a major addition, and Pro Evolution Soccer has offered something similar for years, but it’s a nice little incentive to keep on playing.

Yellow card:

Having to level up stats for a created player is already hard enough. Having to do it twice for both your online and offline avatar is a chore. This task is also made harder if you’re not a regular online player.

Chances are slim for upgrading a shooting stat if the other team has all the possession with their highly-rated players. In last year’s game players could at least upgrade stats in other ways to improve their chances online. That’s become significantly more challenging.

The game also has quite a few issues online, and maintenance seems to happen quite frequently.

Match report:

There’s a lot of content in FIFA 13, and it’s all presented in a nice, well-rounded package. FIFA is better than Pro Evolution Soccer this year, but only by a small margin. While the realistic first touches will frustrate some, it does make the game more like real soccer, but also doesn’t break the game. Just like in real life, with some practice and skill, players will learn to keep the ball closer, and their touches tidy.

Post game:

Final score: Lionel Messi. While both games this year are absolutely great versions of virtual soccer, there can only be one clear winner: FIFA 13. It has everything in the gameplay department, and damn near added everything in the modes and extras department.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013

Highlights:

Like my bad knee, PES just keeps on going; it’s not the best it once was, but it can still do a damn fine job when it needs to–it just can’t hold up to the younger me. The latest iteration of the soccer series does a great job mainly due to some much-needed gameplay additions and tweaks, but it still hasn’t reached the level of greatness it once commanded.

The most important additions to Konami’s new game of footy are the player runs, and the ability to touch a button to perform better traps.

Teammates offer smart, realistic runs. It’s nice to see a darting Luis Saurez splitting two defenders right after staying onside with a horizontal run so I can quickly loft a ball in front of him for a chance on goal. These computer smarts make it so players don’t waste time hitting a button to prompt runs, but can focus on quick plays, passing, and the game.

Unlike in the FIFA series, I see a more eclectic mix of goals when I play Pro Evolution; the same goals are never scored. One game a striker is hitting a perfect volley from a defensive rebound, and the next my midfield is playing a defense-destroying one-two outside the 18 before I slot the ball home in the corner of the goal.

The kinds of goals scored in PES are almost always worthy of saving a replay of.

Passing is another gameplay element that shines like one of Christiano Ronaldo’s hairdos, and trust me, they shine quite a bit from his overuse of hair product. The passing game is slick, accurate, and most importantly, useful. The new PES FullControl is a noticeable improvement.

The highlight with FullControl is how players can trap the ball. When receiving a pass, players can push a button to cushion the trap. This means that those who like to play like Barcelona can string together neat, accurate passes around a tight defense.

Players are also able to flick the ball as they receive it to try and round a defender. That may seem little, but the way you trap a ball can decide your very next move, and both trapping options offer more attacking variety when moving forward.

PES feels really good in the hands of someone who knows how to actually play the sport of soccer in real life.

Yellow card:

Boring commentary is again the norm.

The online mode isn’t very lively. Seriously, good luck finding a game, and even more luck if you hope to find someone not playing as Spain.

The presentation needs to catch up with EA’s game.

Match report:

Konami has come out with another great game this year, and the passing controls and smarter artificial intelligence vastly improves what’s on offer. The lack of pizazz, as well as a lower amount of licensed teams, yet again, means there aren’t too many teams to choose from. You can, of course, edit the teams to have the correct players.

The game doesn’t stop with the amount of control it allows players at the edit mode. Formations are still fully customizable, meaning that my brother will still attack me nonstop with seven forwards in his Real Madrid team. And I, when feeling cocky, can stick in any player as a ‘keeper. This amount of control is a godsend to those who love to tinker.

I lauded last year’s version for the off-the-ball control, but it’s what players can do with the ball this year that makes the game so much fun.

Post game:

If you’re a fan of last year’s game, you’ll enjoy PES 2013; and the new FullControl is a genuine improvement that is well executed.

Final score: Christiano Ronaldo. It’s one of the best soccer games in the world, but even though it is, it still comes up short against the competition. It manages to notch little wins into its belt, and looked as though it could have overtaken the king that is Lionel Messi, but in the end the game just isn’t the best.

Winner:

Much like last year, FIFA 13 is Barcelona–on top of the world and in a class of its own. Last year PES was like Liverpool: the series is rebuilding and getting better each year, but it has yet to come together to become the perennial juggernaut it once was. Maybe next year.

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