The rivalry between FIFA 2013 and Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 2013 is a classic one among football videogame fans. It’s not by chance that their personality icons are Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Lionel Messi (Barcelona). FIFA and PES are two well-established, incredibly realistic and highly sophisticated football video games, just as the two main teams of the Spanish Liga.
Their approach to the video game of football is rather different, so it’s really down to each individual player’s feel for the game to decide which is best.
In terms of the actual game play, FIFA is the faster, tougher of the two. Play is dynamic and physical, the ball flies around the pitch, tackles are hard and touchline runs are frequent. It’s probably more realistic than PES, and also more difficult to master for the average gamer. Ball control, through the “first touch control” feature is very accurate. Versus last year’s version, testers lament the odd vulnerability of defenses on crosses and the tendency for goal-keepers to rebut the ball right in the middle of the penalty box, where it’s easy prey for opponents’ forwards.
The PES game-play action is slower and more tactical than FIFA’s, putting a premium on ball circulation and control as opposed to flying runs and first-time passes. Generalizing a bit, PES seems more suited to a Latin style of play while FIFA caters more for Nordic soccer’s long balls and dynamic play. Through its “dynamic first touch” feature and simplified commands, PES emphasizes spectacular touches such as back-heels and rabonas (if you want to see one, check out this video), though the slowness of play development is sometimes frustrating. Goal-keepers seem to have improved with respect to last year’s version, though they remain very vulnerable to full-booted volleys from just about anywhere.
Graphics and Animation
PES claims to be more realistic in terms of players’ looks (through the detailed “player id” feature) and movements. While this is true vs FIFA, PES scores lower than its rival on speed and accuracy of movements. Where it has a real edge is in the lead-ups to games, especially in the exclusively-featured Champions League, and in more precise, on-the-ball commentaries.
FIFA’s strong suite is undoubtedly animation: the speed, realism and control of players’ movements are very much like the real thing, or as close as it’s ever been.
In terms of competitions, the PES lays the ace card of the Champions League, and it indeed does justice, in terms of atmosphere and competition management, to what is arguably the best football competition anywhere, anytime, these days. And PES more than holds its own in league management too, though essentially offline.
Online, FIFA wins hands down in all respects: apps, connectivity, league management and, through the “Ultimate Team” feature, the chance to pit yourself easily and satisfactorily against all your friends or anyone else on the worldwide web, even from your mobile, through its own dedicated app. And this is a feature which teenagers, the game’s premier fans, are very hot for.
In terms of soccer teams, FIFA has a huge number of team licenses but it lacks the Camp Nou, a cardinal sin for football enthusiasts, and truly top level competitions.
PES lacks several Premiership and Bundesliga teams as well as some top stadia but it more than makes up for this through the Champions League and Copa Libertadores licenses.
In conclusion, FIFA is better online and though more difficult, it’s also more satisfying in terms of play moves. PES is easier to play and holds the Champions League trump card.
So it’s very hard to choose, and we suggest you try both before deciding on one.