Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 Updated Hands-On Impressions

We pull on the studs and carve up the pitch as England scraps with Brazil.

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E3 2010 gave us our first look at this year’s version of the venerable Pro Evolution Soccer football series. Catch-up seems to be the name of the game, and while the runaway success FIFA has experienced over the past few years has made it the market leader, PES clearly isn't prepared to give up the battle and go quietly into the night. During this year's Tokyo Game Show we braved the legions of football fans eager to strap in and boot around on the grass.

The work-in-progress Xbox 360 version we played included support for a chunk of the global national sides, and while limited time prevented us from exploring menus and scoping out all the club level options, there appeared to be a good amount of choice of teams available. Rather than kick us straight onto the grass to pass the ball around, once we had selected a matchup between England and Brazil, we were treated to a bit of preshow entertainment. Beginning our run in the tunnel, we took to the field as broadcast television camera angles captured players giving instructions to each other and warming up. Star players like Kaka got their share of the screen time as the two teams lined up for their anthems. As "God Save the Queen" echoed around the stadium, English players mimed along.

After being introduced in last year's game, full 360-degree ball dribbling makes its return in PES 2011. Without it, sports titles feel more like early '90s arcade titles than current-generation sports simulators. Longtime PES fans may face a short adjustment period, but FIFA fans either dipping their toes with the competitor product or returning to the PES fod should have no trouble making the transition between the two control systems. Dribbling felt smooth and responsive, and even if you're not one to perform ballhandling tricks like feints, simply shielding the ball with your player's body by facing away from the attacker, or drawing a defender to fire off a pass, is simple and rewarding. Ball control is king, and we noticed during our play session the ease with which we were able to pick a gap and lure our opposition to commit a man before threading the needle and stepping the ball around the corner. Passing to team members felt a little bit floaty, while fast-paced ping-pong passing (done away with in this year's FIFA game) frequently set up chances for strikers inside the box.

Physicality also plays a big part in this year's title. Players jostle on and off the ball, and while we played the CPU rather than another human player, the game certainly didn't take it easy. Free kicks were accompanied by slow-mo replays of slide tackles, while wronged players won't just stand there and take it, often held back from fighting by fellow squadmates after taking a tumble in the grass. Things get even more passionate when a player scores a yellow or red card, frequently appealing to the referee and flanked by visibly distressed AI buddies hoping to have the decision overturned.

Emotion appears to have been high on Konami's wish list this year and extends from anger to frustration. Players failing to score against open goals fall to the ground once the ball has gone dead, covering their face with their hands in horror at having squandered a chance to get on the board, equalise, or put their team's score beyond reach.

Will the new features in PES 2011 give FIFA 11 a run for its money? Only time will tell, but from what we've played of both games already, football fans are the real winners here with two titles to suit their tastes. Pro Evolution Soccer is due to toebash its way onto all major platforms later next month.

Discussion

135 comments
evildrago81
evildrago81

I buyed first Fifa11 but the gameplay and the handlig of the players doesn't changed , last Fifa which I had it was Fifa07 , well there is no difference the player control s***s!!!! that's not real footbal :( but I like the manager mode! I decided to buy the Pes11 as well , and I was amazed , tha last Pes which I had was Pes08 , well the difference is huge for me regarding the gameplay and player control , this time Pes11 is much better than Fifa11!!! This is my personal opinion :) no harm feellings Fifa fans :D

gt_bigfan
gt_bigfan

I downloaded the demo for PC, and it ain't bad at all. Well, gonna buy it soon as I can...

FuBi2k
FuBi2k

So it wasn't enough for you futbol fans to kill each other over your favorite teams, now it's over which futbol game is better? HOOLIGANS!

jaidutt
jaidutt

as per as the video and advertise PES 2011 looks good but when we check other versions of this game , those are not equal or near about ea fifa versions so in many way PES have to improve its basic concepts like handling of player , computer player and most of realistic graphics like other sports game

shawshankredept
shawshankredept

TravZug, you obviously have not played the recent PES series. They are pretty bad when you compared to the FIFA series. "Real" player? Please you have no idea at all how a game of football is played at all. BTW, real football players call the game football not soccer.

TravZug
TravZug

There is no better rivalry than FIFA "soccer" 2011 and PES 11, i love how most of the FIFA players havnt ever played PEs n they say it's the best thing since sliced bread. But to us REAL soccer/futbol players who ACTUALLY participate in world events know that PES11 is the absolute best and most PERSONALIZED/CUSTOMIZABLE futbol game........arguably. lol

niklev83
niklev83

Played demo on PS3 and I LOVE it... A lot of new stuff on the table :) And a new look... surprised me !!! :) Buying both FIFA and PES... no looser here !!!!!

chechak7
chechak7

FIFA 11 is great and waiting for PES 11 to see ?

zezo360
zezo360

nice game i wanna try it soon

Nipotat
Nipotat

this pro is best than pro 10

Nero_Viper
Nero_Viper

@JustClient Yep. There aren't many teams though but still I liked it.

xerxesthegreat
xerxesthegreat

cant wait. eurogamer just gave FIFA an 8 , which is a real change. I personaly love PES this year , for me the feeling is back. But for people who like reviews. Gamespot , IGN, Eurogamer are the three to watch out for.

dladz
dladz

PLayed both demo's and theyre shaping up to be really good football games, the passes have an indirect feel which makes the game almost seem believable and at times difficult to get it where u want it to go, but when it works out it feels great and the pace of the game is just perfect, the tricks are slightly easier and when your incontrol of a forward holding trick and flicking back then forward on the trick stick allows for a nice slip around the goalie (if timed right) I honestly dont give two hoots whether or not fifa or pro is the best this year as theyre both a great contrast to eachother and play well with different strengths. Well done to Konami for making it a better game and congratulations to EA for making fifa pc a next gen MUST have game. More of this please.

tidurlagi
tidurlagi

Already played the demo and feels good. The referre is better, you can links feint so you can be Messi or Ronaldo. Well, gotta play the demo again to train my 360 degrees pass.

AzulSoul
AzulSoul

well, I played fifa11 demo and is better than demo fifa10, buuuut is "fifa", that means I feel the same strange form to move the players, I prefer PES, it's more realistic to me, it's not only the graphics, it's the ball physics. By the way, What I have to do to find de PES11 demo? It's not at PSN yet. :(

SonOfKira
SonOfKira

Are user critics based on what the users actually think or what the website critics say?...

SonOfKira
SonOfKira

A very accurate post from OscarKlein...

b0yd1e
b0yd1e

Konami need to sort the online gaming.I wont play any of their games online until they sort it! this game plays so well on the demo its just a shame konami games are so poor online!

danielcanas7
danielcanas7

i don't care about what other people say about fifa or pes. i'll by both. then i'll decide which is the better football game, period!

amaan4ever
amaan4ever

Fifa 11 demo looks stupid ima go try the PES 11 demo now

OskarKlein
OskarKlein

Right kdgenious, both games are good. It really just depends on taste I think. Fifa focusses on graphics, effects and presentation and is like you said more of a arcade game where PES just focusses on being a football (soccer) game which ends in being more realistic. Even without all the licenses (especially a few years back), real good graphics (not looking at 2011), the great stadium effects and fan chants and all those things, PES still has been very popular, only because its been so realistic. Fifa is a fun arcade game but PES still is the more realistic game in my opinion. And when I want to play football I want something realistic, thats why I stick to PES.

kdgenious
kdgenious

Both games are good but to be honest its a bit harder to get use to the new design for freedom handling in pes but its really realistic, FIFA has a better graphics engine on the pc than last year equivalent to PES 10, but over all FIFA more arcade and maybe a bit more fun especially with the new goal keeper mood, but PES is my choice of football since last year and will continue to be

OskarKlein
OskarKlein

Lol @ people who whine about the keepers making some questionable decisions and stuff.. I mean, not all keepers are like , for example, van der Sar or Cesar. Also don't freaking forget that it's still demo for both games. I mean, people whining about not being able to change player stats, saving replays or changing camera angle and other stuff. And about licencing... Sure, FIFA has a bit more licenced teams but its not like 5 years ago where PES had almost no licences... And I saw some guys whining about the celebrations at PES. Dudes, noticed it's a DEMO? Only thing now missing is somebody whining about only 4 teams being available for this year's PES... Grow up idiots... And someone was whining about the new PES passing system not being really accurate. Dude, not even real football players have a 100% accurate passing... So the new passing system not being 100% accurate shows the game trying to be as realistic as possible, right?

Blade282006
Blade282006

looks good, but there is no comentary thats what makes the game the graphics look good and there still no real names

jjness80
jjness80

Just played the demo and what a pain in the a** to get. Had to create a UK account to be able to download it, apparently the US market isnt on Konami's list. Any way the good.....graphics top notch, ball has more weight to it, refs accutally call correct fouls, and better animations. The bad....demo camera angle is lame and u cant change it to the old default but im sure the finally copy u will, same crappy penalty camera and controls, and goalkeepers are better at deflecting shots away but make some questionable decisions, like Wanye Rooney, ha I kid Wayne. Dont know which game im gonna get but cant afford both......AAAHHHH! Go Magpies!

nino-richi
nino-richi

The Libertadores Cup... EXCELLENT IDEA... let´s go PES

TheRussianOne
TheRussianOne

Kapsoulas. Actually 11 FIFA has the same graphics for all platforms. I've played both (demo) and i vote FIFA

Kapsoulas
Kapsoulas

I vote for PES only because it has the same graphics on pc as on the ps3/xbox360 FIFA uses an old engine for pc and a new for consoles

d3a7hr0w
d3a7hr0w

i think fifa will win this year's battle

uniquemafia
uniquemafia

I love soccer. So, I play both the games. But honestly, FIFA has better Goalkeepers and PES has better movements. I really hate to push my player around the field in FIFA on the other hand, I hate to score on rebound from the hands of the goalkeepers in PES. I hope these two particular sections have some improvements this year. Once again Soccer rocks... :D

megaspiderweb09
megaspiderweb09

I tried both games and i can see they both made improvements.The fight is not as one sided as last year,so if you chose any of the two,you didnt go wrong

NoHotAshes
NoHotAshes

ive had it with pes, it used to be awesome but every release after pes6 has been frustrating crap. Now that fifa is finally next gen on pc i have no reason to buy pes anymore..... fifa upped its game, pes hasnt gone anywhere

SonOfKira
SonOfKira

I was just wonderin whether they've fixed th issue of cpu controlled teams with FIFA...More often than not i'd find myself in th final of th champions league against Dynamo Kiev,Getafe or a similarly weak team...how such teams make it past the group stage is beyond me...as for the domestic league i usually won it with 10 or 12 games to spare with wigan 2nd,blackburn 3rd,chelsea 4th...arsenal 14th....how that happens i hav no idea...

bX-a
bX-a

the only reason i play this game cuz graphics are nice .. and plus u can create ur own teams players emblems faces anything in this game and every season u finish u can change ur own uniforms ... but fifa 11 has this too i think im always gonna buy fifa and pes theyre great games

nyranasaurus
nyranasaurus

they have FINALLY upgraded the FIFA graphics to match consoles this year for PC gamers. Just played the demo and yes its exactly like the consoles this year, can we have a madden and NHL now please? HOWEVER,Theres no hardcore jostling and creativity in the box like you need in Pro evo 2010 and theres no intense scrambling for the ball like Pro evo or intense Air battles. Also the feeling of scoring a goal in Pro Evo 2010 is you actually feel like that CRAZY spanish soccer commentator Goooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!!!!!!!!!!!. It still heavily relies on player vs goalie in FIFA. Thats not realistic at all. In real life its a few players vs MANY players in the box and the attacking few need to pick paths to get through the many and finally the goalie himself UNLESS the attackers counter attack effectively or get ahead of the defenders before they can react WITHOUT getting offside in the process. FIFA is nothing like that. Thats so wrong in the real world of football, most of the time. Sometimes goalies will score thier own goals and sometimes football is so unpredictable that the guy kicking at the goal misses, it slams off an opponent then back to another attacker, fumbles then some RANDOM attacker from nowhere scores it and the whole crowd just says "WTF!?!?!?!". THATS football. Thats non existant in FIFA. Its in Pro Evo 2010 though quite a bit. Every goal feels like WOW i just scored how the hell did that happen lol. But thats football.

dark_rising76
dark_rising76

I would play PES 2011 demo....if it actually released in the US. I think the plus side for PES is the Masters League and being able to create your own league, teams and stadiums on career mode.

Mishari-Nero
Mishari-Nero

no need to buy FIFA or PES bcoz im really confused beetwen them ,

arcadianobr
arcadianobr

agora fifa se torna o rei de vez, ja era pes11

nickz_fpk
nickz_fpk

both fifa and pes piss me off its like one game has things in which the other needs i dont know why both companies cant just merge together and make the perfect football game

The_Godfather_
The_Godfather_

I'm hopeless about PES 2011. but I played FIFA 11's demo, this time PC version has same quality with PS3 and XBOX360 versions. but unfortunately it's also a mediocre console port. you can see A,B,Y,X etc. buttons everywhere.

platonhollow
platonhollow

I played both FIFA 11 and PES 11 demos PES: 70% of the whole game changed, but there are many things that still disappoint me. Robotic movements, the pass spin is TOO much used, making the game somewhat unrealistic, VEEEERY unrealistic celebrations. For example if you score in pes 11, the player just runs by making a sidestep every 2 seconds, goes in the corner and does something like "ok, i scored.." Still foolish goalkeepers, etc etc etc. and MUCH more. FIFA: Yes, it looks much like FIFA 10, but it has some major changes, that I noticed within the first seconds of playing in the arena. The personality+ is a very usefull feature which provided very much authenticity to the players. Plus, they added some more things in the game as the celebrations, which now seem more realistic. They will also add the custom soundtrack and chants feature, and much more. Ps. Pes has improved much, but still lacks very much things. Fifa just remains the SUPER game as last year, with much more things that make it more perfect!!! I'll buy both btw!