The other day, I was watching soccer with three British friends and they told me they couldn’t wait to buy “FIFA Soccer ‘13.”
“You should play ‘Pro Evolution Soccer ‘13’ instead,” I advised.
One of them replied, “What’s that?” None had ever heard of it.
Yes, the “Pro Evolution Soccer” franchise — “PES” — has been eclipsed in name recognition by “FIFA.” But “PES” (which did decline in quality a few years ago) has been greatly improved and is better than “FIFA” again.
Here is why I prefer “PES.”
I can see plays developing on the field better and easier, which doesn’t mean “PES ‘13” is easier than “FIFA,” per se. It just gives me more clarity and feels more authentic.
Also, I favor how “PES ‘13” lets me choose this option: I can personally pick which of my players to nimbly control throughout the course of a soccer match — instead of letting the game’s artificial intelligence change the cursor-control over my fielders when I’m in the middle of a play.
You see, if I let the game’s artificial intelligence change which player I’m controlling mid-match, it will almost always change my control to the wrong player at the wrong time. That can destroy my flow, and allow my opponents to score more goals.
“FIFA” has an individualized player-control system, but I fancy “PES’s” by a lot.
“PES” still has its obstacles. I can’t master many of the gazillion pass options. And it took me forever to figure out how to correctly shoot the ball, which is hard.
But compared to “FIFA ‘13,” “PES” just feels more real and fluid, and I can control the ball much smoother.
The other good sports game available now is “NBA 2K13.”
It’s very similar to most “NBA 2K” games, although there’s a revamped use of the thumb sticks so I can pull off cool fade shots and other subtle moves.
This year’s “NBA” also comes with new animations occurring in real time. If you’re playing as LeBron James, these new animations expertly mimic the real LeBron’s running, dribbling, shooting and defensive gestures.
However, those animations also give me pause. Correct me if I’m wrong, but animations are so time extensive, they seem to slow down my feet.
Let me explain. If I’m dribbling and I juke out a defender, I then try to sprint toward the basket. But I feel as if the game takes so long to process my player’s gestures that by the time my feet start moving, the defender recovers and repositions in front of me.
That’s not a game killer. But it convinced me to run fast break offenses, since player animations don’t seem to slow down the run-and-gun.
Anyhow, “NBA 2K13” does look great and offer gobs of options (during solo play and in online multiplayer competitions) so that you can tweak those player movements, plus camera angles and other important aspects. It’s like Burger King. You can have it your way.
(“NBA 2K13” by 2K Sports retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3; $30 for PC and Wii; $20 for PSP - Plays fun. Looks great. Challenging. Rated “E” for mild lyrics. Three and one-half out of four stars.)
(“Pro Evolution Soccer 2013” by Konami retails for $60 for Xbox 360, PS 3 and Wii; $50 for Nintendo DS - Plays fun. Looks good. Challenging. Rated “E.” Three out of four stars.)
Doug Elfman is an entertainment writer for the Las Vegas (NV) Review-Journal. His column appears each Friday in the Tribune-Herald.