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 the title and the playstyle, so what makes Pro Evolution Soccer so popular?
If you live in North America, chances are, unless you are a staunch fan of ‘soccer’ this event will just pass you by, but if you live in the rest of the world, more specifically Europe, then like every PES fans know, soccer season starts in August, but you’ll only be able to play your own soccer fantasies in October, when the latest and greatest version of PES hits video game store shelves.
It all started in the age of video games, actually in 1996, when Goal Storm was released on PlayStation. Since then, PES has gone through various naming conventions and the latest update will be called PES 2013. It will go head-to-head as it has for the past 16 years with Electronic Arts (EA) and their masterpiece: FIFA (12). In reality, only these two games compete for players’ cash each year, and if anything, that makes the competition even fiercer.
You will see that the two games have struggled year after year and this year PES has a chance to return to the top of the pile. It has been languishing for the last 5-6 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 soccer game, this means that the game comes packed with all real player names, team names, soccer kits, names of competitions and stadiums. PES has never had these rights and has had to rely on an edit mode and the ingenuity of the players purchasing the game to recreate all the aforementioned details, liveries and stadiums. This has fostered a powerful online community purely related to publishing interests, but when combined with the obvious gaming advantages of PES, you start to see why the popularity of the game 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 soccer fans. The real game has always more closely mirrored the real 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 staged and the ball never seemed to behave like real football, feeling too floaty. In comparison, PES balls have always had a weight to them and the challenges between players have felt meaty.
An analogy between the two games is to think of FIFA as a Premier League or Champions League setup, it looks polished and has backs sticking out of your ears, but it’s not really real football, it’s a prepackaged version of the game designed to catch the glory-seeking soccer fans, the ones who scream about how great their team is despite knowing nothing about their own teams’ history.
Pro Evo, on the other hand, are goal post jumpers, dirty knees, and eating soggy Cornish patties on a cold, wet Tuesday night in Barnsley. The analogy could be lost for many and that to some extent proves a point, football is not always brilliant, multiple jump steps and pink Nike boots, these are the teams outside of the Premier League that still have fans attending every home. . and away from home, despite not having seen his team win anything in years. That’s real football and that’s what Konami has tried to sum up, despite being based in Japan.
They have largely succeeded, but the dividing line between the two games has blurred in recent years. FIFA has now come very close to matching the whole spirit of PES, some say their game is actually better, I still disagree with that statement, but certainly with the online patches now available to PES players, they can elude the licensing problem and creating photorealistic Players, Teams and Kits, meaning the two games are on a collision course to meet in the middle.
Konami has encouraged its fans in previous years by securing licensing rights for the England national team, two Premier League teams, and various other leagues and players from Europe and the world. This has certainly helped, but give me a fake called Man Red (Manchester United) and a quality game any day on the FIFA version of football. At the end of the day, I buy football 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 the next install of PES 2013 will give that option again! bring the mighty Derby County to European Glory!