Until the release of FIFA '08, Konami's Pro Evolution series was at the forefront of the football genre. Since then, the competition has helped breed innovation and many would argue FIFA has come out on top for casual gamers.
Pro Evo involves more intricacy, subtlety, and perseverance than its rival, and every touch of the ball, and the slightest flick of the control stick, has a noticeable impact. Mastering the button combinations is only half the battle too. It's equally important to know exactly how each individual player likes to strike the ball, how his body needs to be balanced, and what part of the foot he likes to strike with to get the most out of the shot - or even just execute a decent pass.
Unlike the arcade-feel of FIFA, Pro Evo is about hyper-simulation and newcomers to the franchise would certainly feel frustrated from the kick-off. But Pro Evo rewards those who take time to master the game, giving them more control and a greater sense of satisfaction when everything finally clicks into place.
Because of this complexity, every match is a different experience. Every goal, trick, or tackle feels more meaningful. The 2013 edition offers complete manual passing and for the first time, even manual shooting. Again, both these features require a determined player, but when mastered allow you to adjust the height and power of each.
Pro Evo takes advantage of pretty much every button, trigger, and analogue stick combination to unleash a daunting level of control. The left and right sticks allow players to stroke the ball around, keeping it close and rolling it around under the sole of their boot to lure in a defender - before skipping past them with the grace of a flamingo. It's beautiful to watch when executed well, but frustrating and awkward until perfected.
It's a bit rough that EA managed to grab the top teams and leagues for FIFA, however Pro Evo does have a decent number in place. The trump card would have to be the fully licensed Liga BBVA, which features the likes of FC Barcelona, Valencia CF, and of course, Real Madrid CF with the game's poster boy, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Make sure you check out the free demo to see if it's for you - just ensure you have a couple of hours to fully explore the controls. EA would be fools to rest easy with Konami looking to reinstate their dominance, and this healthy competition is great news for us.
Stars: 4 / 5
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360
- TimeOut / nzgamer.com