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A Major Step Forward: The Story of Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 (Review)

Images Courtesy of Konami

Both FIFA 14 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 have something to offer.  EA offers a great, fun product every year with their FIFA series, while Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer is always looking for an identity.

I think they finally found it with PES 2014, a quality product with a lot to offer.

First, Pro Evo is the only game with the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, Copa Libertadores, and the AFC Champions League.  Reason enough to buy, right?

Well, there’s more.  Great teams, great leagues, and a much improved gaming experience thanks to the FOX engine.

Things are good at Konami. They offer something different, something more authentic. Yes, PES 2014 plays like real soccer, which is great.  It’s a different experience than the fast, arcade style of FIFA 14.

This year’s edition of Pro Evo is leaps and bounds above last year’s attempt.  But is it better than FIFA 14?

Depends on who you ask. PES 2014 feels nostalgic, almost European.  The graphics are great. The stars look like they do in real life.

Yet others complain about a bit of lag, slow load times, and the dreaded lack of licensed teams.  Konami is doing better with the latter, but it is still an issue that must be fully addressed.  Online play and the Master League both need to be reinvigorated.

EA has created a supporters’ culture with the FIFA series. The launch, complete with creative TV commercials, is an event on its own.  EA is a marketing monster with enormous resources.

Can Konami compete with that? Yes, the company has been one of the stalwarts of the gaming industry for years.  They know what they are doing, just ask the team behind the legendary Metal Gear series or those that created the Winning Eleven series, the predecessor to Pro Evolution.  The problem is that many people aren’t that familiar with Konami’s soccer offering.  Winning Eleven and Pro Evolution can certainly claim to have a cult following, but more can be done. Yes, Pro Evolution outsells FIFA in certain parts of the world, like Brazil.  But what about here in North America? We should expect more.

Our suggestion is to just buy both of the titles.  That way you will get the best of both worlds: the fun of FIFA and the authenticity of PES.

Pro Evo is just waiting, waiting for an off year of the FIFA series.  Then they can go from playing catch-up to setting trends.  It could happen.

More Photos

Q & A with Pro Evolution Soccer’s Tim Blair

PES Brand Manager Tim Blair takes a few minutes to talk to ISN about the newest edition of Pro Evolution Soccer (PES 2013), which is now available in stores.

1. Can you talk about the importance of the having licensing for the Champions League, Europa League, and Copa Libertadores?

Licensing is a big deal to the fans of PES.  Everyone wants to play with their favorite teams and inside their favorite competitions. The Champions League and the Copa Libertadores represent the largest club team competitions in the world. Fans love interacting inside these competitions.

2. How exciting is it to have your product endorsed by Cristiano      Ronaldo and Neymar? How did these relationships come about?

It is very exciting. Cristiano Ronaldo was the face of PES in 2008. We have kept in contact with this team through the years and it made sense to have him on the cover of PES again in 2012 and now in 2013. He is the most electric personality in the game today. The relationship with Neymar came about through our fervor and our close eye kept on the next big thing. Neymar is that next big talent in soccer. PES is the best and most popular soccer game in Brazil so this was an easy match.

3. What is the biggest improvement from PES 2012?

The top 3 largest improvements are:

A. Player ID which recreates the top athletes in soccer from their facial expressions on down to their individual movements

B. Pro ActiveAI gives players the most intelligent teammates on attack and defense. It results in a very even playing and fluid soccer experience

C. Finally PES Full Control (PES FC) gives players control over every shot and pass. Full manual shots are now possible, allowing for a higher level of precision and play. Inside this control is the Response Defending which now leaves defenders able tackle from any angle.  Players can also add much more delicate touches on the ball when receiving lofted or through passes. This enables them to tack on a flick or a cheeky flick to evade defenders.  

4. How important is the Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution legacy to the team that develops the game?

Extremely important. As with any brand, it means something to the people who play it. PES was made over 15 years ago to be the most realistic soccer game available. That is still the goal today and as you can see from a gameplay aspect, the development team is delivering on this.

5. What goals or expectations do you have for PES 2013?

We want to grow. We want to win over new fans that really understand the game and therefore appreciate the small intricacies of the game and how PES captures these in the digital format.

6. How many of the Konami employees working on this project are truly soccer fans?

I’d say all of them. If you took a stroll through the PES Productions, everyone has their team garb on display.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 vs. FIFA Soccer 13

This is an incredible year for soccer video games as Konami’s PES 2013 finally makes a run at the always impressive FIFA series from EA Sports.  If you have the money, we would wholeheartedly recommend just buying both because you can’t have the full experience of the beautiful game with just one.  Each title has its own strengths and unique qualities.  We found it hard to find a major weakness in either as both companies have put out a strong, competitive product this year.

We had come to a simple conclusion: FIFA 13 plays better, but PES 2013 looks better.  Let’s dive into the details:

FIFA 13: Everyone loves EA Sports and the FIFA series. They put out strong games in every genre and this year’s edition of FIFA Soccer may be the best-ever. They have a mobile tour, a global ad campaign, cool TV commercials, you name it.  The game also landed the E3 Game Critics Award for “Best Sports Game”. Yeah, that’s right… people that play and review games for a living love this title!

FIFA 13′s gameplay is incredibly natural.  The games, whether you play online or on your own, are absolutely flawless. The commentary is smooth, the crowd and the atmosphere are realistic, and the continued integration of ESPN makes it look and play like the real thing.  The games also feel faster on FIFA when compared to Pro Evo.  You feel like you are truly part of the game as the onscreen players react quickly to your every command.

FIFA holds a serious advantage in the licensing department and it shows.  The numbers speak for themselves: 30 leagues, 500 clubs, and a whopping 15,000 players.  This is where Pro Evo cannot compete as it does make a difference when you have to play as Wearside FC instead of Sunderland or as a guy named Halloso instead of Tim Howard on the U.S. national team.

Many critics will rave about the online features, but we are absolutely giddy when it comes to Match Day and the Ultimate Team. Both of these connect you to the real world of global football.  It helps keep the game fresh and always relevant.

Again the gameplay is what sets FIFA apart from the competition. You won’t find a better, deeper gaming experience with the beautiful game anywhere!

FIFA 13 Score: 9.5/10

More FIFA Screenshots

PES 2013: Konami has always had a very loyal following thanks to their incredibly popular Winning Eleven series.  The great games of the past have made for some very serious fans across the globe.

First, I love the fact that the game is backed by Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. These are arguably the world’s best two players.  Ronaldo is a star in Europe with Real Madrid, while Neymar is a Brazilian sensation that could dominate the game for 12-15 years.

I preferred the Pro Evo visuals when compared to FIFA.  I just felt they were clearer and more authentic.  The 3D compatibility adds even more value.  The game intros were incredible, especially those before Champions League matches.  The crowds, audio, and atmosphere were top flight as well.

I have always loved the Master League and Become a Legend options and this year’s offerings were great as expected.

The UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and Copa Santander Libertadores licenses alone make this worth a purchase because you can’t play in these incredible tournaments on FIFA.  This is a big deal, especially when many consider the UCL to be on par with the World Cup in terms of popularity and the fact it comes around every year, not once every four.

PES 2013 Score: 9.0/10

More PES Screenshots

FINAL THOUGHTS: FIFA Soccer 13 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 are both better than previous editions.  Both EA Sports and Konami worked hard to make improvements in order to keep pace with each other.  Again the safe bet is just to buy both as they are well worth the money in either case.

FIFA walks away with a slight advantage in our head-to-head review thanks to flawless gameplay and authenticity.  Pro Evo is just a step behind due to licensing issues, but stunning visuals and their UCL/Europa League/Copa Libertadores affiliation keep them near the top.  We can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D is a Trendsetter


Konami is and has always been one of the elites of the video game industry.  They have been able to prove their worth once again with a new title on a new device.  The world of 3D is fun and exciting for developers, but you certainly need to be an expert to get the job done right.  Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D for the Nintendo 3DS™ system is setting the standard for others to reach for.  We’re not the only ones saying this;  leading critics like IGN said that “Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D makes a strong debut on the 3DS”.

There is plenty of praise for the soccer title. Personally I am most excited that Konami has embraced Nintendo’s vision for the future of video gaming.  Nintendo has always been a step or two ahead of the competition, dating back to the NES or more recently the smash hit Wii™.  The fact that Konami has the courage and bravery to stand with Nintendo in the 3D world is a big plus.  I think Konami will learn a great deal from this launch and the 2012 edition will be even better. 

I am a big fan of all things 3D so Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D literally caught my eye right away.  The game itself is realistic, fun, and is a good portrayal of the beautiful game.  The AI is good and the commentary and match atmosphere is certainly up to par.  Pro Evo also offers the UEFA Champions League and the Master League.  Both are hefty modes that will bring hours of entertainment to the player.  Champions League brings out the world’s best clubs, while Master League allows you to use your own creativity and intuition to create “the next big thing” in international soccer. 

The only concern is the default camera, but it makes good use of the 3D concept so there really is nothing to complain about after all.  Don’t worry about the lack of clubs and teams; that is not an issue here. You get 60 national teams and 170 professional clubs.   

The fact that this is the first soccer game ever in 3D is enough to warrant a purchase. Throw in 1 v 1 wireless play and ”Street Pass” and you have a  hat trick in the making. 

Information from the Publisher

Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. announced that Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D is now available in retail stores nationwide for the Nintendo 3DS™ handheld system. Designed specifically for the 3D-enabled unit, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D utilizes the cutting-edge technology to immerse the player in the heart of the game, adding another level of realism to every pass, through ball-and-shot.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D uses a unique ‘Player’ camera, shadowing the player’s every movement, right in the middle of the unfolding match. By utilizing the 3D capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS to visually ascertain how far away a teammate is, players can make more instinctive long passes and dynamic movement as they watch their teammates make runs and moves into open space. The incredible use of depth and distance perception provides an amazing level of control that the series is famed for, with searching passes, one-two plays, deft close control, and rising volleys, all shown to stunning effect. The game’s AI also ensures that players not only look identical to their real-life counterparts, but move and react like them too. Additionally, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D features play-by-play commentary enhancing the match atmosphere for a more exciting soccer experience.

“We had once again reinvigorated the series when we released Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 on other consoles late last year, with more advanced gameplay and control options than ever before,” said Shinji Hirano, President of Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. “The immersive technology of the Nintendo 3DS system allows us to make additional advances to the series by launching it into the next level of play, engrossing players in their favorite sport with even more realism.”

Players can play as one of 60 National and 136 Club teams and lead them to fame. Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D also features exclusive use of the UEFA Champions League™, the game’s greatest club competition, while players can also build their own team of budding stars and lead them to glory in the world famous Master League. Utilizing the all-new Nintendo 3DS technology, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D supports local wireless play for two Nintendo 3DS users to compete against each other. Also in StreetPass™ mode, the hardware senses when another Master League team is in the vicinity, and will compare the strength of each side, their respective strategies, stats, and will then award a win to the stronger side. Users who are not familiar with controller buttons can enjoy playing the game in this way. Those with a strong win rate on StreetPass will be promoted to an upper StreetPass standing until they reach the ultimate ranking – the UEFA Champions League. Similarly, as users play more and more using StreetPass, the game will unlock Classic players and teams, allowing successful users to create the most impressive playing squad!

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB and is now available at retailers nationwide on Nintendo 3DS for $39.99. For more information on the game, please visit:

Pro Evolution Soccer Continues Tradition of Excellence

PES 2011 gives FIFA Soccer 11 a run for its money.

PES 2011 gives FIFA Soccer 11 a run for its money.

Everybody knows Konami’s Winning Eleven series was pure brilliance. Well we now have a modern counterpart with PES 2011, one of the most realistic and fluid games to date. It is a legitimate competitor to EA Sports and FIFA Soccer 11, which has gotten a bit of a head start with an earlier launch date.

Choosing PES 2011 or FIFA 11 comes down to some simple choices. Do you want to play in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League? Do you have any interest in South America’s Copa Santander Libertadores? Many would answer yes to both and PES 2011 is the only game to exclusively feature all three.

Menus are easy to navigate and the music is original and quite refreshing. Opening sequences are breathtaking as the stadium environments and player appearances are simply amazing. It feels like you are watching a real game in HD, but guess what you get to control the players. PES gets major style points in the visuals department.

Gameplay has always been a strong point for Pro Evo and this year further tweaks have made play even more crisp and clean. Control over players feels very natural and responsive. There is no lag in movement and the pacing and speed of play feels about right. “Total Control” gives you an added touch on the ball, which lends itself to a more realistic gaming experience. It takes a few minutes to get used to, but it is an excellent way of replicating real-life action on the pitch.

PES has beefed up its online presence, especially in the area of the always popular Master League mode. Online play has become a necessity and a priority for most gamers and Konami has risen to the challenge in this area as well.

Master League is consistently one of the better features and this year’s edition is no exception. It is my favorite mode of play, one that blows FIFA 11 out of the water in terms of options and depth. It is almost like rolling Sega’s Football Manager into a console game. The result is a wickedly good time spent off the field. Now you can take that mentality online to compete against other fanatics.

The only knock against Pro Evo is its lack of licensed teams and players. Konami has made great strides in this regard, but it still lags seriously behind. Don’t expect to play in MLS or the A-League with PES 2011; it is not going to happen.

In closing, the positives surrounding Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 far outweigh any negatives critics may find. Simply put, watch out EA Sports and FIFA Soccer 11: PES 2011 for PS3 and XBOX 360 is available in stores now!

Stop by the Bothwell Cup in Canton, Ohio this weekend for your chance to win one of two copies of PES 2010 for the XBOX 360.  Win a great game and see thousands of youth soccer players and fans at the Diamond Sports Complex, home of the Concave Sports National Soccer Combine.