Jumping into Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 after playing a fair bit of FIFA on the Vita was a bit of a shock.  The first shock was when I fired up the career mode and went to choose my club.  It was here that I was rudely reminded that EA had secured exclusive rights to all the official soccer teams, so PES had to make up names that hinted at who they were.  It’s the gaming equivalent of the rich kid not letting the other kids play with his toys, and basically it sucks that we live in a world where companies can;t share this sort of thing and let their games stand on their own merit.

Enough of the rant, back to the game.  I’ve never been one for too much of the training options in these sports games, and as such I avoided a lot of the depth that PES has to offer and went straight for a game or two, figuring I could always jump out of my career and practice some moves later.  The menus and progression system too a little getting used to, due to being used to the FIFA way of things, but flows smoothly getting you to you first game and taste of how things are.

Player control is smooth, the animations good and the game flows well.  Ball control and shooting wasn’t as basic as I was used to, so possibly I would need to head back to training sooner rather than later.  Then I got red-carded and sent off.  Or at least I think I did, because it happened after a late sliding tackle, and my player was removed, but no actual red card was shown tome.  A possible glitch, nothing more.  The biggest shock for me came in my next game.  I was used to having to sit games out because my coach didn’t think I was ready, but never before had I been subbed off during a game.  Being subbed off just pissed me off.  It’s probably how real players feel, but this is a game!  Although I was playing career mode so it was something I was going to have to get used to.  On the flip side, on games that I started on the bench, I always seemed to get subbed on.  So all good in the end.

On a basic level, PES is pretty much the same as FIFA.  Both follow the same basic rules – they are after-all both soccer games.  And for a quick jump in and play, to be honest I’d probably stick to FIFA on my Vita.  It’s portable and fun, but doesn’t take much of an investment to get into.

However, PES has been experimenting over the past few years, in an attempt to regain it’s former glory.  These few years of trying things out seem to have come full circle with a game that is both easy to pick up and play, but for those willing to make the investment in time and frustration (well I always get frustrated trying to learn ball control skills, even if it is just on the XBox!) PES offers a great deal of depth to the play.

It’s a bit of a learning curve, but eventually you’ll be able to have full control over the ball, with the ability to kick the ball where ever you want it to go, with control over not just the direction, but the speed and ball hight.

Success of course comes down to a couple of things, practice to get used to the new system, and your players own abilities and skill level.  

There’s a whole lot more that I could talk about, but I don’t want to get bogged down in the details.  Suffice to say that PES is a game geared towards players who really want to play the game of soccer, rather that just blindly kicking a ball around the pitch.  If that sounds like you, then PES is a classy game that will give you much enjoyment.

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