Pro Evolution Soccer 2011
Posted 2 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
For North American soccer fans, the choice of games was pretty much limited until Konami brought their Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution Series to this part of the world. The franchise was touted as far superior to EA’s effort because it offered a much more varied experience, including greater macro and micro managing options. While EA stepped up its game in recent years and has become the go-to franchise for fans, the Pro Evolution series has stayed somewhat stagnant and many have felt that it was in dire need of a change. This year’s edition, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011, introduces a few new things, improves upon some past features and looks to rekindle the flame that it once held bright. There are still aspects that need to be addressed but the series looks like it’s back on track.
The one thing that initially placed the PES series in such high regard was its on the field action. Players moved and reacted accordingly, games played out like the real thing with low-scoring matches and you needed to properly strategize your assault if you wanted to get the ball in the back of the net. This year, in order to keep up with pressure of its competitors and to still continue the realistic portrayal on the field, they’ve introduced a new 360-degree passing system which is supposed to allow for more open-play. With the ability to pass the ball to just about anywhere on the pitch, players can use more of it to their advantage. With a properly timed through-pass, a striker can break through the defense and be one-on-one against the keeper.
In theory, the passing system works when done correctly, but it definitely takes some time to get used to and does expose some minor problems with AI. As you would expect, the new system depends greatly on positioning and power. Putting too much or too little power will see a pass quickly intercepted and the same holds true if you’re trying to make one in the opposite direction your player is facing.
Even when you think you’re making the correct pass, there are times when the AI would make weird player decisions. In many situations where I intended a short pass to a close player, the computer would automatically select a further player who would then begin running a greater distance to reach the ball. This made absolutely no sense when you could see the middle player literally run over the ball to allow for the third player to receive it. When it does works as it is intended, it would almost always lead to breakaways that only required the proper amount of power and placement to beat the keeper.
In regards to Goalkeepers, they can often do some truly magnificent stuff or downright confuse you with their choices. One noticeable issue is their reaction time on loose balls in the penalty area. Too often they would wait until the last possible moment to run at the ball. If a fast player is doing the same, this can leave the net completely empty for an easy goal. Conversely, when the keeper waits too long to react, or not at all, this too can lead to easy goals from close-range.
For most soccer-minded people, great passing and possession is even more important than being able to score a goal. You want to be able to thread the ball to your teammates because the longer you hold it, the less time it gives the opposition to score on you. The new system never feels like the old ping-pong effect where you just had to press a button and the ball would go to the next logical player. There are clearly times when you were certain that only a small amount of power was placed on the pass, instead, too much was given and then it becomes a race to see who can get to the unoccupied ball first. This is even more evident depending on the teams you play. For those who will simply play with the top clubs like Barcelona or Inter Milan, the likelihood of strayed passes is less, but when taking part in your own created team in the Master League, you will need to adjust.
PES 2011 still features the strong and deep Master League and while there are still not enough licensed leagues available, thanks to the robust editing options, you can work around this by creating your own power-house European league with the teams you want. Master League is also available online, which is great if you want to create a competitive team against others around the world. Be a Legend returns and still serves as a great mode for those wanting to experience the trials and tribulations of becoming a Superstar.
Another addition this year is the ability to map skill moves to the right analog stick. There are a number of different choices for you to pick from. Ranging from simple step-overs to more intimidating moves; these will come in handy at various times in the game when you’re looking to beat a defender.
PES has the benefits of the UEFA Champions League license and while there is still the problem of missing licensing teams, including a few of the major players like Arsenal and Chelsea, it still closely represents the look and feel of the event to a great degree. Also introduced this year is the ability to play in the Copa Santander Libertadores, South America’s version of the Champions League, featuring the best clubs in Latin America.
While it’s fantastic to finally see a soccer game feature more Latin clubs, their inclusion is fairly limited. The 40 club teams that make up the 2010 edition of the Copa Libertadores are only available to play in this mode. If you want to take any of them in other modes, you’re out of luck.
This continues the problem that PES has had for years with its lack of complete licensed leagues and clubs. There are a few that are - notably the Dutch and French organizations - but big-name leagues such as England, Spain and Italy are not without notable omissions. There is a sizable inclusion of different and well-known clubs from the rest of Europe, but Konami needs more full fledged leagues to keep on pace with the competition. Even having leagues from Asia or South America would have been viable alternatives. Again, it’s nice that the Champions League and Copa Libertadores are available, but when you’re not able to properly replicate the actual competitions, it feels like getting only half of a game..
With the licensed clubs, they have done a good job in replicating the players’ looks quite well. Superstars are easily recognizable and stadium designs are still done well, but it would have been nice to get a bit more atmosphere with the crowds. However, what is offered is still up to par.
Although the ambiance from the fans in the stands is good, the commentary is still in need of a massive overhaul. Jon Champion is well-known to television soccer fans but his interaction with Jim Beglin is quite often a joke. There is almost no banter between the two and it is clear that they recorded their lines of dialogue separately. While other sports games have done a great job of having the commentary team interact with each other and to offer great comments on the match, these two rarely have insightful things to say and a good chunk of the match is spent with just generic remarks that are quickly forgettable.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 is definitely showing signs of improvement over the stagnation of the last few years. There is still a lot more that needs to be done before it can even attempt to take back the soccer-video game crown, but it’s not an impossible feat. Improved online, the inclusion of more Latin Clubs and refining the passing system are all signs that Konami is taking their soccer franchise seriously. If they can manage to obtain more licensed clubs and leagues, improving the commentary and fixing other minor quibbles, soccer fans will be in for quite a treat next year.
+ Great Team Management options
+ Tons of Online features
+ Lots of unlockables
+ Good Soundtrack
+ New Passing System offers greater control on the pitch
- Extremely weak commentary
- Some minor animation issues
- Questionable Keeper AI
- In dire need of more licensed clubs/leagues
1 week ago :: Injustice: Gods Among Us
1 week ago :: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14
2 weeks ago :: BioShock Infinite
4 weeks ago :: Gears of War Judgment
1 month ago :: (Kinect) The Hip Hop Dance Experience
1 month ago :: Tomb Raider
1 month ago :: Crysis 3
2 months ago :: DmC Devil May Cry
2 months ago :: (XBLA) Serious Sam Double D XXL
Download us here!
Game Junkies podcast and audio interviews
Release Date : 2010/10/01
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Konami
Developer : Winning Eleven Productions
Category : Sports
ESRB : E10+
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10