Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D (Nintendo 3DS) Review

Soccer as a sport has an incredible following across the globe in about every country other than the United States. What many countries call the game of Futbol, tends to not be on the American radar as much as other sports especially the game that we call Football. (The reasons that other countries call Soccer, Futbol, makes a lot more sense then ours.) When it comes to Futbol, or Soccer, Video Games however it seems as though the dynamic changes as games such as FIFA have sold better in the U.S. each year over the past 4-5 years.  The game is a methodical sport, but the beauty of a video game is obviously that you can play it the way that you want. Whether your a runner and gunner, or the classic soccer player, video games give you the chance to enjoy the European rich sport the way that you intend.

Electronic Arts has dominated the sports business in video games for a number of years, with popular titles like Madden, Tiger Woods Golf, NHL, and the fitting FIFA series as well. Outside of 2K games and their release of their NBA series, and MLB The Show from Sony, the video game sports market is a rather large monopoly. There is however, another soccer game available to gamers, that despite solid efforts, always seems to struggle to gain a share of the market despite a yearly release as well. That series is Pro Evolution Soccer (PES). In-Game ActionWhile PES started as more of an arcade feeling game, it has matured into a realistic soccer simulation over the years and garnered better ratings, both critically and publically, each year. Even though both FIFA and PES see the majority of their sales from home consoles, both have released portable versions of their games since 2011.

While FIFA continues to lead the pack on the home consoles and doesn’t seem to be missing a beat when it comes to gaining more players each year, Pro Evolution has chosen a much more modest approach, refining its game on both the home consoles and portable for the optimum experience for its players. Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D for the 3DS from Nintendo is a shinning example of the difference between Electronic Arts and Konami and their visions for their games. While Electronic Arts continues to focus on play in the living room, while porting last years version of the game with a simple roster change to the 3DS,  Pro Evolution Soccer adds more modes and a refined experience on the field. Simply put, PES 2013 3D is the ONLY soccer game worth your time or money, not just because FIFA falls short either, simply because PES 2013 3D is an outstanding title.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D built upon its predecessor’s continued success from the start of the 3DS and the launch of PES 2011 3D. While a good game, the arcade-like feel to the game could not be overcome and many die-hard fans that looked for a portable experience came out disappointed from the effort. Konami however made great strides in bringing what gamers wanted to the table with 2013 and gives both casual and hardcore soccer fans what they had been looking for. The game is a rightful masterpiece among the sports games available and should be on everyone’s must play list.

The game starts off with menu’s that will probably be your least favorite part of the game. They are clunky looking and just simply not as appealing as one might hope. This is the Nintendo 3DS, of course, which does not contain the power that its rival, the Vita, does, but at the same time it should look a bit better than it does. I played on a 3DS XL, if you’re playing on a regular 3DS you may even be a bit more disappointed than I was. Once the initial disdain for the menu appearance wears off, is where the real fun begins. Looking past the cosmetic flaws of the menu reveals a much deeper and option-filled game. PES 2013 offers a bevy of game modes from general matches to the  UEFA Championships. There is no shortage of replay value as you also have the ability to build your own character and play through the ranks, or jump into a current players career and take them to the finish line. It is amazing to think of all the option available to players on a portable system, as many sports game typically find a way to cheat portable gamers out of at least one or two modes. However, PES does not, and that is one of the first high points of the game.

Simply put, PES 2013 3D is the ONLY soccer game worth your time or money, not just because FIFA falls short either, simply because PES 2013 3D is an outstanding title.

When you get to the on-the-field action the game is truly at its pinnacle. PES 2013 3D does an amazing job at making tiny players feel like their real life counter parts. The best of the best is playing in the UEFA Championship, as you get all of the beginning festivities (you can turn them on or off at the menu screen), and the songs that play as the players exit the tunnel. This is the first time on a portable device that I have played a sports game that captures the essence of any sporting event, no mater the game being played. The job done by Konami should be applauded because this is true feat for the company. The game kicks off and players move swiftly and accurately no matter the angle that you are playing at. I chose to play mainly, at a high side view which can make the players look more pixely, but makes for easier controls and adheres more to my style for soccer games. There are multiple angles to play at for you, so you can choose what suits you best. The game still in this state looks amazing and all the details can be seen. The passing and kicking are a bit frustrating at times but PES 2013 gets a little technical on this, some will love it, others wont, but they do take players attributes into account so knowing more about the play of the team that you are controlling will make you more effective on the field. One player shoot softer with more control, it takes that into account so you must hold the button down slightly longer for a more powerful shot and vice versa for other players. It’s this authenticity that will make true soccer fans jump for joy.

All of the celebrations, and replays are tastefully done and accurately represent what a real soccer game encounters. The announcing however is a bit of a drag and not quite as accurate, as the team upstairs gives basic announcements for the most part. It’s a little uninspiring as you play, but you get lost in the action so quickly that even then you drain it out a little. The crowd reacts well to the action on the field and it sounds solid through the system speakers. They look as you typical crowd looks in most sports games being stagnant and pixelated beyond most recognition up-close but at a distance it’s passable. That isn’t the true reason for playing the game though and all of the action you encounter engrosses you to the point that you will be jumping for joy at a goal scored and the thrill and excitement of a UEFA game will poor out of the console.

Although this is a 360/PS3 view of the game, it doesn't look a ton worse on the 3DS

Although this is a 360/PS3 view of the game, it doesn’t look a lot different on the 3DS


One other disappointing piece for North American Soccer fans is that we don’t have the ability, like FIFA, to enjoy the MLS and its play in the game. PES is a true soccer fans game though focusing more on the depth of the soccer being played, in its most native form which is the European game of Futbol, which is what PES 2013 3D gives you. Even if your not huge into that form of the game, you probably have rough idea of what happens in the leagues that are played overseas and will enjoy the game for what it is more than what the players are wearing. Don’t let the lack of MLS steer you elsewhere, PES 2013 3D is exactly where you should put your time and money if your a fan of the game and looking for a portable experience.

   The 3DS Effect: The game in 3D doesn’t do much for its overall play. If your looking for a game to show off what the 3DS can do with its glass-less three-dimensional effects than you may want to look elsewhere. Its not that the game looks bad in 3D, it just doesn’t tend to pop like some. That’s ok for this sports title though, as even with 3D off, the game is stellar. 

Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D isn’t only a great portable sports title, its a great game in general. The game plays smooth, runs great on the 3DS, and gives you all the content you could want; even from a home console title. Don’t even think about it when looking for a sports title on the go, make PES 2013 3D your choice. While EA might hold the upper hand on the home consoles, as FIFA 13 is an amazing game, Konami didn’t choose to focus on one more than the other and instead offers games both a solid home version and an outstanding portable version of the game. Not to mention that PES 2013 will run you $10 less than that of FIFA 13 and gives you more bang for your buck, even if the games were equally priced. PES 2013 can be a bit hard to find, even ran short on copies for a while, so buying where you find it might be the best idea. If you can get your hands on it though, do so, as I am sure you will be like me and not want to take it out of your system. Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 3D is a major win for the Nintendo 3DS. Konami definitely shot and scored with this one.


Amazing Graphics

Smooth Game Play

Large Amount of Game Modes

Huge Replay Ability


Ugly Menus

Announcers broadcast few and far between





Written By Nick

Nick is a man obsessed with all things related to film. From the most obscure to the very popular, he’s seen it all and hopes to one day turn his obsession into a career that makes a lot of money so he can buy a monkey, a bulldog, and a full size Batman suit.

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the author

Nick is a man obsessed with all things related to film. From the most obscure to the very popular, he's seen it all and hopes to one day turn his obsession into a career that makes a lot of money so he can buy a monkey, a bulldog, and a full size Batman suit.

  • PEs haven’t put out a good title since PlayStation 2 so I would be a bit cautious to even get it for the 3ds… plus they really need a good console release…

  • Aaron

    Hello Seer, thanks so much for the comment. I promise if you like soccer games, I don’t know how you could be disappointed with PES 2013. It is just that good. If you haven’t played 2013 for the consoles too, I would give it a shot. It’s a very solid game, but not quite to the level of FIFA 13. It’s the exact opposite on the portable front though. If you have the chance check it out!