Is this Konami’s year? Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 preview

PES 2013I’m what you would call a die-hard Football fan. Yes, I’m fully aware that it’s soccer here in the states, but it just feels so wrong every time I’m forced to say or write the “S” word. I get up at ungodly hours of the morning to watch games live, I relentlessly absorb every tidbit of news I can get my peepers on, and I’m unhealthily invested in the well-being and success of the clubs I support (North London’s Arsenal FC, and The Old Lady herself, Juventus FC of Turin, Italy). So you can imagine my excitement and delight when this part of the year rolls around and my oh-so-generous colleagues in the video game department here at Digital Trends let me, the resident gearhead gamer, take a crack at the latest soccer (*shudder*) franchise to roll out, which just so happens to be developer PES Productions and Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer 2013.

Now, as we continue our march to the eventual release of latest entrant in the PES franchise we can’t help but ask one question: Will the once mighty Pro Evolution Soccer be able to wrest the crown sat firmly atop rival FIFA’s head, or will it be doomed to warm the bench for yet another year?

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013

Having only spent some time with the preview build of PES 2013 the only thing I can say with certainty is that I’m hopeful, very hopeful. So far, PES 2013 is shaping up to be quite the title contender, which is no easy task given EA Sport’s FIFA franchise’s continued yearly dominance, not to mention its robust licensing deals.

Part of that optimism stems from PES 2013’s improved control mechanics, which are the true bread and butter of any soccer-sim. For PES 2013, PES Productions has managed to add a layer of realism by giving players more control over their virtual Ronaldos and Messis. Manual passing helps eliminate confusion over who you are passing to with a dedicated arrow displayed at the feet of your player. Here you can adjust the power, direction, and type of ball you wish to play. Smooth step-overs and an arsenal of tricks are also at your disposal. Indeed, passing and dribbling have been beefed up, so expect more masterclass with subtle touches on the ball and a greater array of moves and tricks that can utilized for beating that last defender.

Dribbling isn’t the only area that’s been given attention, though. So far it seems PES Productions has added some depth to the shooting mechanics as well, with proper weight and balance taken into account for any given situation. For PES 2013, PES Productions has even added the ability to send a screamer of a shot with the laces of your boot by tapping the shoot button right before you make contact with the ball. Similar to the manual passing is the manual shot mode. Skilled players will no doubt be able to make great use of this feature (along with manual passing) for increased accuracy and pin-point net placement. Another small, but awesome, new feature centered on giving you more control and choice in your attacking play is the ability to nutmeg a keeper/defender (passing the ball through an opponent’s legs) during one-on-one scenarios, helping lend a greater degree of realism and depth to the overall gameplay. What’s more, it’s not some canned animation that sees you beating that defender, but instead relies entirely on your input and timing.

PES2013

From what we can tell so far, graphically, PES 2013 impresses. Player animations are smooth and fluid and a great degree of trouble seems to have been taken to recreate not just the look of the star players, but their attitudes and personalities, too. For example, new cover-boy Cristiano Ronaldo has been meticulously recreated in all his sun-soaked glory. Everything from this perfectly kept hairdo, the way he dribbles the ball, his shuffled sprint, right down to this unique free-kick stance. It’s all here, and it looks great.

Of course, the proverbial monkey on PES’ back has always been its licenses, or lack thereof, when compared to the FIFA franchise, especially for the Barclays’s Premier League. And that doesn’t seem like it will change this year. What PES does include, however, is full league and player licenses for the Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, and a host of other individual clubs across Europe that Konami has also secured deals with, including: Manchester United (England), Bayern Munich (Germany), FC Porto (Portugal), FC Copenhagen (Denmark), AEK Athens (Greece), Galatasaray (Turkey) , Shakhtar Donetsk(Ukraine), Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) , Zenit Saint Petersburg (Russia), CSKA Moscow (Russia), RSC Anderlecht (Belgium), and Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), among others.

Also, for the first time ever, South America is getting some love and attention. Konami has secured the license for the Copa Santander Libertadores, which pits the continent’s finest teams against one another in order to be crowned king of South America’s most prestigious club competition.

Needless to say, we’re really excited with what we have experience from PES 2013 so far. The last few years have seen FIFA sprint ahead of PES in virtually all categories across the board, but this year is shaping up to be a different story. While we haven’t had a chance to play the final build yet (check back with us for a full review in the coming weeks), we can already tell that choosing between FIFA and PES this year will cause soccer fans a welcome headache. And who knows, perhaps 13 will be Konami’s lucky number?

Gaming

Rockstar Games employees defend work culture following controversy

Rockstar Games employees have taken to social media to speak out about working conditions following the controversial comment about 100-hour work weeks made by co-founder Dan Houser in an interview.
Gaming

The best video games to gift this holiday season, from ‘Spider-Man’ to ‘Hitman 2’

The holidays are quickly approaching and you might be looking for ideas on what to get your favorite gamer. Here are the best games you can buy for your gaming loved ones this holiday season.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games out right now

More than four years into its lifespan, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Home Theater

They’re not just for gaming: Watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X

While the Xbox One S and Xbox One X boost the visuals of your games, they also can pull double-duty as Blu-ray players, but there's a bit of set up needed. Need help? Here's our guide on how to watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and X.
Product Review

Huawei’s monster Mate 20 X makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small

The Huawei Mate 20 X has a 7.2-inch screen, but is surprisingly manageable to hold, yet still a little too big to carry around. Huawei’s pushing the phone’s ability as a mobile gaming handheld, challenging the Nintendo Switch.
Gaming

More days gone: Sony moves zombie exclusive ‘Days Gone’ to April

Sony has delayed the PlayStation 4 exclusive Days Gone to April. It was previously bumped from a 2018 release window into February, 2019, but Sony Bend apparently needs more time to add polish.
Gaming

Annual game releases are boring. Try a quirky indie game for the PS4 instead

While big budget games rely on practical innovation, indie games dive head first into new, unexplored territories. If the quirky and unusual appeal to you, take a look at our list of the best indie games on PS4.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Gaming

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ adds Black Market system to dress up your soldier

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 added the Black Market system to PS4 today, giving players new ways to unlock and acquire additional customization items, such as outfits for Specialists.
Computing

In 2018, the rivalry between AMD and Intel has become more interesting than ever

When it comes to selecting a CPU for your PC, there's no shortage of chips for you to choose from. With Ryzen, Threadripper, and Core i9 CPUs though, the AMD vs. Intel argument is muddier than ever.
Product Review

Kill a Nazi while skiing in ’Battlefield V: War Stories’

World War II is hardly a unique setting for a shooter, but Battlefield V’s War Stories has managed to liven it up. Our preview left us eager to see more of the new Battlefield’s single-player story.
Gaming

Have problems with your Xbox One? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.