My knees are close to being useless; the cartilage has all but left me, and arthritis plagues me. Even though the injuries keep me at a lower level than what I used to be at years ago, I can still play a great game of soccer.
Thatís kind of where the Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) series is at. The game is years past its prime (the PlayStation 2 era), but it can still pull out a great performance when it needs to (the current console era). This yearís game seems as though it wonít break the mold -- but that hasnít stopped me from putting together a list of the good, the bad, and the average experienced in the new demo.
Being able to press a button to make a player dart into space for you is great in FIFA Soccer 12, but I like what Konamiís offering seems to have -- smarter runs by the computer.
Itís nice to see a darting Wayne Rooney cutting in front of his defender so I can quickly loft a ball in front of him for a chance on goal. Having to control when my players make a run can sometimes use up a precious moment I needed to beat a defender or open a defense.
The smart runs didnít always materialize, but when they did I took notice, and they worked.
Those runs led to goals.
Unlike in the FIFA series, I see a more eclectic mix of goals when I play Pro Evolution.
I scored a bicycle kick and a rocket to the upper right corner in my first game; scored after a snazzy one-two just inside the center of the 18 in the next; and then I fell victim to a game-tying diving header in my third match.
PES used to have a tagline that was something along the lines of, ďYou never score the same goal twice.Ē I firmly believe thatís held up.
Passing is another gameplay element that shines like one of Christiano Ronaldoís new Nike boots. This yearís iteration of Konamiís soccer game keeps the passing game slick, accurate, and useful. The new PES FullControl is a noticeable improvement.
Chief among the changes made with FullControl is how players can trap the ball. Players can actually tap a button to receive a pass with a much more cushioned trap to keep play tidy, or go a different route by flicking a ball as it reaches you to try and round a defender. They may be little things, but the way you trap a ball can decide your very next move, what options are available, and offers new ways to control the speed of play.
In FIFA 12 -- and I know Iím comparing the full release of a year-old game with a new gameís demo, but bear with me -- it seems that through balls, and through balls over the top are the best passes. You can certainly play a great game without them, but more often than not, if I want to rack up some online wins I just play the two types of through balls and lay waste to the competition.
In Pro Evolution 2013 it feels as though the short, long, and mid-passing game is a legitimate way to not just hold possession, but to also weave around the defense and create a scoring opportunity.
Youíre either going to love or hate the pace of the new title. The game isÖ more action-packed. However, that shouldnít be taken to mean the game is more arcadey. It just doesnít slog along like FIFA 12 sometimes can, and fast players actually feel quick, and professional players turn and control the ball like they should -- on a dime.
Try as I might, I could not get my keeper to throw a ball far out for a quick counter. Instead, he seemed destined to act like heís from a lower division, and prone to throwing the ball short to a player under pressure no matter where I aimed and how long I charged the throw. This is especially disappointing as Konami claims that Ďkeeper distribution is something theyíve improved upon.
Another item of concern deals with both the menus and graphical prowess of the game. In short: both suck.
FIFAís menus are resplendent, enthrallingÖ and honestly, I could go on with more adjectives and verbs. There were times where I would get caught up checking out the 2010 FIFA World Cup menu more than Iíd play the actual game on the pitch.
Pro Evolution Soccer has had the same boring menus for years. Now, I know that the soccer on the pitch is more important, but putting a little more effort into something so simple would be a nice change of pace.
In terms of graphics, good lord is this game ugly. I like to tell people that I wear snazzy indoor soccer shoes and outdoor cleats because itís really the only thing people are seeing when Iím heading out to a game thatís unique and flashy.
I consider the player models and graphics in a sports game to be similar, as itís really the main thing you see in the game. Thatís why I have to be disappointed with PES 2013. Iím normally not a graphics snob, but when you stare at soccer players for the majority of the game I expect the visuals to be much, much better (though it would be remiss not to add that the likeness to star players such as Ronaldo is accurate, just not always pretty).
This new game of soccer (football if you prefer it that way) doesnít feel that much different compared to last yearís game. The changes arenít as monumental as, say, FIFA 12′s were last year from its previous iteration, but PES 2013 is still a good game.
Itís hard to tell just how good -- or lacking -- the new game is based on such a simple demo. After three matches, however, it seems that if you were a fan of last yearís game, youíll enjoy the new one; and the new FullControl is a genuine improvement. The gameplay on the pitch isnít revolutionary, just another solid outing.
But hey, at least I can still sub in anyone for my Ďkeeper.