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OPE PES 2013 playtest: Editor's impressions

Posted at 11:00 am | Monday, 18 June 2012

After attending the playtest at Konami HQ last week, the OPE team have since prepared their views and are now ready to share their PES 2013 impressions with the community.

Today you'll be reading opinions from three different people who all attended last week's event:

Mike Harvey (OPE Founder)
Chris Towers (Long-time PES fan)
Damian Winter AKA Daymos (OPE option file creator)

Mike's impressions are below. To read what Chris and Daymos thought, go here.

The playtest lasted for around 3 hours with 2 Exhibition modes to choose from: Standard (Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla) and Copa Libertadores (Santos, Flamengo, Corinthians, Vasco Da Gama).

Myself and Chris played each other on Playstation 3 while Daymos spent the afternoon checking out the Xbox 360 code.

But before I start, on behalf of everyone else posting their impressions here, I would like to this opportunity to thank Konami for inviting us to the event. It was superbly well-run and I look forward to meeting the team again in the not-too-distant future.

Mike - OPE Founder
Ever since I created Only Pro Evolutions - way back in September 2010 - I've always tried to keep a level-head when sharing my thoughts with the community. With the site growing each and every day, publishing my thoughts to a worldwide audience became more and more demanding.

Despite the on-going challenge of adopting new readers from all corners of the globe, I have to say that I love the pressure - and I certainly wouldn't have it any other way now.

Ippei Nio - Mike Harvey - Jon Murphy - Manorito Hosoda

Growing up - religiously playing PES 4 as a 13-year old - I never thought I'd ever be able to meet, let alone interview the team who make the game. Of course, it would have been unbelievable to meet Seabass - the person who, for me, will always be 'the face' of Pro Evo. However, it was still a fantastic experience meeting Manorito Hosoda and Ippei Nio from Japan, as well as Jon Murphy - even if Chelsea will always be the first London club to win the Champions League!

Right, without keeping you any longer, let's get on with the impressions...


Before I had even strung 10 passes together, it was obvious to see that the gameplay had been slowed down considerably. Without question, the slower gamespeed made PES 2013 more enjoyable than its predecessor. This year, if you want to, you can play a much more patient game.

Along with the slower gamespeed, the introduction of ProActive AI and PES Full Control gives users a more varied selection of attacking options. Full manual passing and shooting, full manual controls for goalkeepers and Deft Touch Dribbling are just some of the things which will make PES 2013 a realistic and entertaining game to play.

For me, the most enjoyable option is to hold down R2 (to put your foot on the ball and stop the play), then quickly catch out your opposition by spreading a pinpoint through-ball out wide to your overlapping full-back. Using Dynamic First Touch (clicking in R3) to flick the ball up when receiving a pass is a great new feature too. It's very fun to use, and I can safely say this now; some people will have recorded some bloody outstanding goals this time next year!

Manual shooting works great, but it's hard to put your efforts on-target at times, which is a good thing for me. Playtesting a game is fun, but you must remember to stay professional throughout. When asked for feedback, you have to think long-term. Just because you're not very good at something doesn't necessarily mean that changes need to be made. For manual shooting, this was definitely the case.

Defences are no longer bunched up, so a bigger and better variety of tactics can now be used. The good news is; winning on Pro Evo is no longer about who has the fastest player. To achieve success on PES 2013, players must think two - maybe three - steps ahead when attacking and defending.

On PES 2012, the majority of on-field success was won by super-quick players making 40-yard dribbles through the pockets of helpless defenders - if you've ever played online ranked matches, you'll know what I'm talking about. Depending on what Konami do between now and the game's final release, this unrealistic and annoyingly-repetitive characteristic of PES could well be a thing of the past.

To counter the new attacking options in PES, Konami have created a new defensive system. It's called Response Defending and it works very, very well. I am praying I'm right about this, but it looks like users who insist on playing the same game all the time (running fast with Cristiano Ronaldo for example), are going to have to adopt a new way to play.

Response Defending is simply brilliant. Who knew such a simple system - not to say that it's poorly implemented - could work so well? Users are now easily able to hold up play, allowing one-on-one battles to be a much closer contest this time round. But don't worry, winning the ball isn't easy. Timing is everything; get it wrong and you'll risk getting yourself in trouble. Alternatively, get it right and you'll steal possession allowing your side to create a quick counter-attack.

Similarly to the new defending system, Player ID looks wonderful. Many still label PES 5 as the best football game of all time, and unless your favourite was PES 4 or PES 6, not many will disagree with you. Back then, amongst many other things, player representation was excellent.

The thing about the glory days of PES (4-6) is that each game looked as good as it played. However, since Konami made the move to this current generation of consoles, this hasn't been the case. But, with the introduction of Player ID this year - a feature that I expect to see evolve significantly over the next couple of years - those distant memories from 2005 could be returning soon.

Playing with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Flamengo and Santos on PES 2013, watching Neymar, Ronaldo, Messi, Kaka and Ronaldinho run with the ball was a joy to behold. I've been told there will be 40-60 players - including Arshavin, Hazard, Kagawa and Pepe Reina - that will have Player ID in PES 2013. For this reason, and many more, I'm very excited about getting my hands on the final code..

Admittedly though, goalkeepers are still an issue. Although improvements (power bars on throws being my winner) are clear, mostly through new and improved animations, I am still concerned. When I was playing, I noticed my goalkeeper's problems were intensified when I brought him out of his box. His positioning wasn't too bad, but there was definitely a lack of confidence and commitment when going for the ball. Improvements must be made so the goalkeepers dive for the ball more often, whether they're outside the box (where they can use their feet) or inside the box (where they can use their hands and/or torso).

As things stand, the goalkeepers have problems. Although it's uplifting to remember that we're still only in June and the final version is still a fair while away yet. The clock is ticking though - and it has been for a while now.


In terms of presentation and graphics, the game still looks good. However, improvements - in terms of graphics - are minimal. Not that changes needed to be made, the game's graphics remain very similar to PES 2012.

Konami have revealed "the core development target for PES 2013 is to realise the essence of football. Refining controls, adding deeper freedom and building more complex AI, means we've gone back to the roots football to strengthen our unique PES feel".

So putting it simply, if the above project is achieved this year, I couldn't care less about graphics.

Game modes:

Having not released much information to the public, Konami remained tight-lipped when I asked them about game modes. However, I did squeeze some details out of them - and I will share them with you now.

The training mode has been "substantially reworked". Performance Training will help users learn the new game and its controls, starting with the basics; passing, shooting and trapping. More advanced controls such as dribbling, one-twos and teammate control can then be mastered.

Key features have been added to Master League and Become A Legend. With Konami promising Football Life to be a "more pleasurable experience", you will now earn points when winning matches which can be used to buy boots - or if you need to, you can hire coaches to help strengthen your side. The transfer system is more transparent now, "indicating what elements are barring you from acquiring your dream player" for example. Likewise, clues will also be available to help your Become A Legend player progress through the ranks.

As I write this, there will be two options for Master League: European or South American. Whether the two modes will be interlinked, I don't know at this moment in time. However, I have been told the PES team are looking at it.

Master League Online will have a new ranking system. Rival Ranking will see users face-off against other users of a similar level. Climbing to higher ranked places will win you various in-game benefits. A MLO salary cap will also be introduced this year.

Online Community mode has been improved. When playing PES 2013, you can assign yourself to your own city (there are over 240 to choose from and you will be able to change it if need be), so you can organize matches against players close to your hometown city. There's also a new Online Widget which allows users to see which fellow community members are online. The widget will enable players to arrange matches with each other instantly. You'll also be able to create your own team in your community and play against teams of other communities.

The myPES Facebook app, which was introduced last year, has also been improved. More stats can also be viewed - for example: top 3 teams used, top scorer and scoring patterns.

Final thoughts:

As you know now, this has been a generally positive review. And although I'm happy with everything, I have to say something; in terms of playtesting a brand-new game, 3 hours just isn't enough. I'm telling you this because my thoughts may change over the next few months. What you're reading now may differ to what I type up after I play the first PES 2013 demo next month.

On this current engine, it's obvious the PES team can only do so much. I discussed next-gen PES with Konami and they seemed very excited about it. Release dates for the PS4 and Xbox 720 are still unknown, however, it sounds like the PES team have some pretty big things planned for the future.

Saying that though, there's no reason why PES 2013 can't be a great game. For the project that's been in development since August last year, I certainly hope it succeeds. Ahead of a new generation of consoles that could have endless possibilities, which should be out in-time for Christmas 2013, I sincerely hope that all PES fans - old and new - are happy later this year when 2013 drops.

So far, things are looking good and as things stand, Konami have done very well. But like any die-hard PES fan knows, there's still a long way to go if Konami are going to finish this generation of consoles on a high.

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