PES 2013 – The only video game for football fans

Konami’s PES 2013 launches on PS3, XBOX 360, Wii and PC this fall and will give FIFA 12 a run for its money this year if online rumors are to be believed. The PES franchise has been around for 16 years and has progressed through many iterations in both title and gameplay, so what makes Pro Evolution Soccer so popular?

If you live in North America, chances are, unless you’re a die-hard ‘football’ fan, this event will just pass you by, but if you live in the rest of the world, more specifically Europe, then, like Every PES fan knows that the football season starts in August, but you will only be able to play your own football fantasies in October, when the latest and greatest version of PES hits the video game stores.

It all started back in the days of video games, actually in 1996 when Goal Storm was released for PlayStation. Since then, PES has gone through various naming conventions and the latest update will be called PES 2013. It will square off as it has for the last 16 years with Electronic Arts (EA) and their masterpiece: FIFA (12). Only these two games actually compete for players’ cash each year, and if anything, that makes the competition even fiercer.

You see, the two games have battled it out year after year and this year PES has a chance to return to the top of the list. It has been languishing for the last 5 or 6 years, due in part to complacency, but also to the resurgence and sheer brilliance of FIFA.

The facts of the case are this your honor;

FIFA (which stands for Federation Internationale de Football Association), as the name suggests, is an officially endorsed football game, which means that the game comes packed with all the real player names, team names, football kits, names of competitions and stadiums. PES has never had these rights and has had to rely on an editing mode and the ingenuity of the players who buy the game to recreate all the aforementioned details, liveries and stadiums. This has fostered a powerful online community based solely on publishing interests, but when combined with the obvious gameplay advantages of PES, you begin to see why the game’s popularity remains so high.

So what are these advantages of the game?

Well, the trade-off in the licensing situation has always been outweighed by the sheer beauty of playing PES: it’s a game for football fans. The actual game has always more closely mirrored the actual game, while FIFA has traditionally suffered in this area. Playing PES in the early years was always pure fun, the games were high scoring but varied, FIFA always felt like a stage and the ball never seemed to behave like a real soccer ball, it felt too buoyant. By comparison, PES soccer balls have always had weight and player-to-player challenges have felt meaty.

An analogy between the two games is to think of FIFA as a Premier League or Champions League setup it looks slick and has backs coming out of your ears but it’s not actually real football it’s a pre-packaged version of the game designed for catch the glory-seeking football fans, the ones who scream about how great their team is despite knowing nothing about the history of their own teams.

Pro Evo’s on the other hand are jumpers for goal posts, dirty knees and eating soggy Cornish pasties on a cold wet Tuesday night in Barnsley! The analogy may go unnoticed by many and that to some extent proves a point football isn’t always brilliant multiple steps and pink Nike boots it’s about the teams outside of the Premier League that still have fans flocking to every home. and away from home, despite not having seen his team win anything for years. That’s real football and that’s what Konami has tried to encapsulate, despite being based in Japan.

They’ve largely been successful, but the line between the two games has blurred in recent years. FIFA has now moved very close to matching the entire spirit of PES some say their game is actually better I still don’t agree with that statement but certainly with the online patches now available to PES players they can circumvent the licensing issue and creating photorealistic players, teams and kits, which means the two games are on a collision course to meet in the middle.

Konami has cheered on its fans in previous years by securing licensing rights for the England national team, two Premier League teams, and various other leagues and players in Europe and the world. This has certainly helped, but give me a fake called Man Red (Manchester United) and a quality game any day about the football version of FIFA. At the end of the day I buy soccer computer games because I like to play games that recreate the beautiful game, FIFA now does it well but PES does it better and I just hope that the next installment of PES 2013 hits it again. To me that option to lead the mighty Derby County to European glory!

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