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S&S Review: Pro Evolution Soccer 2013

Title: Pro Evolution Soccer 2013
Format: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Winning Eleven
Price: $59.99
ESRB Rating: E

After finishing up my time with FIFA 13, I finally got some quality time with EA's biggest competition, Pro Evolution Soccer 2013.  It seems like PES looks to finally overtake the throne that FIFAs been sitting upon for so long.

Presentation:It seems that PES has been making pretty big strides into creating the most realistic soccer game around.  With FIFA's visuals looking at its best, it seems like PES is always a step behind.  Its safe to say that this isn't true with this year's game, the game has made a lot of improvements to step up its level of authenticity and realism.  There aren't a lot of animations that differ from last year's title, but lifelike player models more than make up for it.  Even with this said, not every player looks quite right.  Since PES uses a new technology for its players, there are a number of new player expressions that really bring em to life.  You'll also be seeing new celebrations and goal reactions that really correlates to each players real life counterpart.  One thing that PES does better than FIFA, has to be stadiums, it seems the developers really spent a lot of time perfecting each stadium.  The lighting in each stadium lights up the arena perfectly, providing tons of light for the on-field action.  The game features tons of camera angles for replays, adding to the overall TV-style presentation.  Commentary is lacking, to say the least, there is too much dead air between too many plays.  Other than that, they seem to keep up with other basic actions quite nicely.
Core Gameplay and Multiplayer:

The gameplay in PES has always been more complicated than its competition. The control system is incredibly deep, and is pretty overwhelming when you first boot up the game. Newcomers will be instantly turned off by its complexity, accessibility is definitely not one of PES's strong suits. Before each match, there are a number of mini-game tutorials to help trudge up the steep learning curve. Thanks to the newly added PES Total Control mechanics, your players will be able to control exactly where they want to put the ball. The skill level of each player and his momentum goes into what he'll be able to do with the ball. Don't expect to do whatever you want too with any player you're controlling, the game just doesn't work that way. Players can control other teammates with just a click of a button, giving you total control over your whole team. There is definitely tons of depth on the field, but a number of notable modes will keep you coming back as well. The Football Life mode returns, now with some added online components. Champions League Tournament and Copa Libertadores modes offer a lot more hours for you to sink into. This is definitely the deepest soccer game around, definitely in terms of controls and gameplay.
Final Thoughts:
Pro Evolution Soccer is a great game, and an even deeper soccer game.  It stocks up against FIFA 13 quite nicely.  Even though FIFA is definitely more newcomer friendly, PES definitely harkens directly to the hardcore soccer player.
S&S Rating: 8.5/10