Game Review: PES 2011 – Good Enough To Dethrone FIFA?

Ollie Irish

8th, December 2010


By Joell Mayoh

To win hearts, minds and market share, PES 2011 has to beat FIFA’s exemplar gameplay, licenses, commentary and online performance. Not an easy task.

In terms of gameplay, Konami has quite obviously adopted an ‘if-you-can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em’ attitude for this season’s PES. The tricks and flicks in the new dribbling system are almost a carbon copy of those FIFA fans will be familiar with, and the general movement is also similar. With these additions you will no longer be a one trick pony and can really feel the weight of the players as you guide them around the pitch – even more so as they get tired towards the end of the game. Sadly though, the new system takes a long time to get used to and can feel sluggish.

The passing system has been completely revamped too. With a power gauge for every pass, you have a great deal more control over the ball. However, you don’t have complete freedom because passes are often restricted to linear paths. Sometimes this helps and sometimes it hinders. So, similar to the dribbling, the passing on PES 2011 takes getting used to, but, when you have given the game time and the penny drops, it feels very rewarding.

Other rewards are immediately available to the budding Jose Mourinhos out there. The depth to the tactics on PES is far superior to FIFA. A lot of thought has to go into them as well; a 1-0 lead will be pegged back as quickly as it appears if you do not protect that defence from a resurgent opponent.

Although Konami has made great strides in improving the gameplay of PES, gamers are often hung-up about the superficial elements of the series that detract from the escapism it offers; the lack of licensed teams and players usually being the main grievance. Those players will be pleased to know that PES 2011 offers improvement on this front, with the addition of the Copa Santander Libertadores and the UEFA Super Cup. But, being as though the latter is just one game and the former is a Central and South American competition the majority of Europhilic players will be uninterested in, those improvements are simply not enough.

Commentary has improved insofar as Mark Lawrenson has been given the heave-ho, replaced by the much less annoying Jim Beglin, and John Champion now says things about the teams on the field. But that is it. So, yes, the commentary is still disappointing. As is the stadium atmosphere, which offers only a couple of chants for licensed teams that quickly become aggravating.

While obvious flaws are apparent in the game, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 is a definite improvement for Konami’s well-loved series. It offers a realistic and engrossing experience of football. But it is still the inferior football game this year.

Rating: 4/5

This review first appeared on Joell’s own blog; follow Joell on Twitter

More game reviews:

Game Review: FIFA 11 – ‘It Feels Like Proper Football’

Game Review: Football Manager 2011

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  1. Tinez says:


  2. Chris says:

    Torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool.
    Loving you both is breaking all the rules.

  3. ben says:

    I’ve been a pro man since pro 5 but this year they dropped the ball big time its slow, clunky and boring so I got fifa instead. If pro 2012 is good then I will def get it but if your thinking about it give it a miss fifa is better but not a polished machine theres a lot of things that are still wrong on fifa but this year theres more right.

  4. Mr. Chopper says:

    FIFA does win this time. Thing is, if you play Pro Evo on a PC you can patch the shit out of it and make it awesome. Then with each new version you have to wait for the developers to modify the patches and you’re left in the hinterland of either playing the old game patched how you like it, or the new one as vanilla as fudge.

    Up until this version, on PC at least (as I believe FIFA 10 was shit-hot on PS3), Pro Evo won hands down. This time EA have stepped right up and Pro Evo’s been lost in the wind a little bit. You don’t even need to touch FIFA for it to be a great experience straight off the bat. I’m especially impressed by the BAP mode (or whatever they call it), particularly the camera.

    But as good as FIFA 11 is for a fuck about, I’ll still take a fully-patched Pro Evo for any kind of long-term play.

  5. stuart says:

    FIFA11 i thought was very poor, almost every mode of the game is bugged in some way.

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