I bought Fifa 12 after not having a football game for a long time. I played it for a year, and it did have a lot of nice features. The greatest positive of the Fifa franchise is content. Because they have exclusive contracts they can include all the teams you want and more. They have so many players that you can spend hours looking through players. They have a lot of different "modes" which remind me a bit of Facebook games. If you want a role-playing game and not a football game, Fifa is the game for you.
But the current generation 12+13 have issues. It is really hard to be competitive on Professional level or above, frustratingly hard. Defenders are way too good, way to fast. Passers rarely make mistakes. A opponent player can be under severe pressure on the touchline and still deliver a cross field pass right to a team-mate. This never happens in real football. There is a lag between when you press the button and your player takes action. This is the biggest deal-breaker with the current generation that still persists in Fifa 13. You may get few chances a game and this will blow many of them. The players rarely make any smart runs unless you bump your mode up to attacking and beyond. The through-pass system usually makes the wrong decision (PES overcomes this with total freedom passes on a play-by-play basis). The goal celebrations are completely unrealistic. The commentators spout random facts over and over and often call a pass a shot. The crowd are card-board cutouts which from certain angles becomes very distracting and cheesy. Manager mode will sell big players like Rooney and Messi behind your back. The injury/ card system is way to over-happy when you designate the computer to simulate a game. Players like Neymar are rendered useless because they have the stamina of a small child. The best feature of Fifa is that what it lacks in actual fun, it makes up back for in addictiveness - That is - in between the frustrations that make you never want to play it again. It is addictive because it is expansive.
PES 2013 while obviously lacking in content makes back up for this in game play. It is NOT hard. As a Fifa 12 player I was able to play a game and actually score *gasp*, even on professional level. The computer actually makes mistakes. Players make good runs. I can manually slot a pass through if I doubt the computer will choose the right path by pressing the L2 button. Even if I don't, the through-pass system is pretty good. Key players actually move like themselves - quite amazing to see considering the players in Fifa all seem like cardboard cutouts of 1 or 2 generic players. Celebrations are realistic. For example, Neymar dances. Just last night, I was down a goal close to the end and Rooney grabs the ball out of the net and runs to the center for the restart. Passes and shots are surprisingly delay-free, if not 100% of the time, most of the time. The crowd is sufficient and not obviously cardboard cutouts. Stadiums are beautiful and the shading/lighting looks less cartoony that Fifa 13 does.
PES is NOT complex or hard to play on a superficial level. I'm not sure why people keep saying this over and over again. Could it be because the game starts up with an extensive tutorial you can chose to skip? This was one of my main frustrations with Fifa. There were 4 tutorials in the whole game and no instruction booklet. It basically left it up to you to figure out what to do, as if every Fifa owner has been playing the game for years. And as for tricks, Fifa Street will teach you they keys but NOT Fifa. So they are trying to co-opt you into buying Street as well, make Fifa your whole life and game library.
The main thing, in my view, is that when I played the PES demo, I smiled and laughed and was excited again about football. This is something that Fifa 12 has yet to make me do. PES is just fun to play.
Of course, coming from Fifa, the funding issues are apparent as Fifa is an EA big seller. EA is able to throw a lot of money at the game. The subtitles in master mode could have been replaced with simple dialogue. The wrong team names can be mostly fixed with updates published on the Internet by enthusiasts in the PES community.
I have not played PES 2013 yet as much as I have Fifa 12 in the past year, but the frustrations that PES fixed for me have been well worth paying the opening-week price in my opinion. After playing the Fifa 13 demo, I realised that Fifa had not fixed the most glaring problems.
Pros - Fun - Realistic - Seems like you are watching a game on TV - Key players behave like themselves - No key-press delay - Players are more intelligent - Opposition will actually make mistakes - Fan community - In-game and in-manual help
Cons - Changed team names - Lower budget means not as flashy and less time-waste content
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