PES 2011 Reader Review
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 was promised as the "the most radical revamp in its history" focusing on the freedom of the beautiful game, but does it deliver on these promises?
When first loading up the game it is clear the series staples remain. The master league, online play, edit mode and The Uefa Champions and Europa Leagues headline the titles many modes. While the menu screens have been revamped, it still feels like the PES of old.
Clearly it is what happens on the pitch which is the focus of any football game and Pro Evolution Soccer tries to do something a little different this year to separate it from the competition. The game plays much faster than games such as Fifa 11 and previous games in the PES series. This is due to the new passing mechanics employed by Konami. Gone are the days of pressing in the direction of a player and the ball going straight to them. This game uses a more manual style of passing. The game will then calculate where the nearest player is based on the power of the pass and direction and will make the target player move toward the ball to collect it. I find that this leads to much more accuracy in finding the player you aimed for. One of the most frustrating problems with many football games is the AI thinking you want to pass to one player rather than another.
Unfortunately this game is let down in other areas. Passing is all well and good, but if players donít make runs into the box or into space, it all feels rather pointless. This is a continuous problem which would make the game feel a lot more enjoyable if it were fixed. Build up play feels very hit and miss because of this issue. While at times you do find yourself playing a killer pass straight through the defence, at other times it feels very sluggish and lazy.
Another issue plaguing the game is the sprinting mechanic. The player running with the ball will always be caught by any player running after them. Even with the ball at his feet, a player such as Ronaldo would have no difficulty beating an older player such as Paul Scholes for pace.
As soon as you reach a shooting opportunity, you notice the next problem. You could have a shot from very similar positions and have one fry into the top corner, while the next ends up closer to the corner flag. While this adds the excitement when you score, seeing a player pass up a simple chance leads flaring tempers. When you consider how difficult it can be creating a scoring chance, the last thing you want is to pass up a opportunity due to randomised shooting.
Suprisingly, these issues are not bad enough to ruin the game.When both the positive and negative areas balance out, you have an very interesting experience. When playing in multiplayer, massive amounts of fun can be found as frustration for one player usually leads to entertainment for the other. The AI is also prone to the same issues as you the player, so it doesnt feel unbalanced, and master league is still the deffinative career mode in console football experiences. In conclusion, Pro Evolution 2011 is defined by the word freedom. The freedom in terms of passing, tactics, edit mode and master league all shine through as the games strengths, while the lack of freedom and control found in the shooting mechanics, tackling and player movement really drag the games overall feel down. You get the feeling that the one year time constraint placed on the games development, restricted just how much the team could get done before release. Hopefully the positives from this yearís iteration will provide a solid base, then next year the team will be able to provide solutions to the issues plaguing this title to produce something rather special.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 is a lot like West Ham United. It tries desperately to play a very attractive style of football, but in the end it loses out when it really matters.