Version tested: PlayStation 3
Proposing a football simulation every year is hard, there is little time to make decisive changes and propose something really new in the eyes of users; if you start off on the wrong foot, they are painful, especially when the competition is not watching and indeed seems to have set out on the road to success. The transition to the current generation of consoles as regards Pro Evolution Soccer has been quite traumatic in this sense, because the series has veered towards an arcade vein and has brought on its back "historical" defects that have become less and less over time. bearable.
He has never lost that component of fun especially in offline multiplayer, but it is clear that these days and in the light of an annual release there is a need for something more, a steering that can bring the series back to the highest levels of a weather. PES 2011 it seems to want to head in this direction, at least all the news present are spot on and we can finally look to the future with optimism.
A matter of customization
This year's testimonial could only still be the flea Lionel Messi, protagonist of the introductory film and background for the main menu, which as usual has a new very stylish graphics. The most curious can find all the news of the game in a full-bodied movie that starts occasionally when you leave the title on the home screen, however the features that catch the eye are represented by the confirmation of the Champion's League and the introduction of the Santander Cup. Libertadores and Master League Online. We will return to the latter later, the first two certainly represent some of the factors that increase the atmosphere and identification, as in PES 2011 these two competitions are reproduced in all respects starting from the logos, passing through background music (even the hymn to joy in the case of the Libertadores), sponsors in the stadiums and the graphics that illustrate the formations in the field rather than statistics and results .
A painstaking and truly appreciable work for those who follow football live and on TV, and a good "excuse" to increase hard and pure longevity. In support we also have the European Super Cup and the Europa League, equipped in the same way with their own initials and outline graphics. Before approaching the playing field it is good to note which are the most interesting options that PES 2011 makes available, beyond the installation on the hard disk (optional and it takes just under 7 minutes) the possibility of using the music from your dashboard, the language of the commentary and a statistics section long six pages that expresses detailed everything done with the various game modes. The section called extra content is potentially interesting and first of all allows you to download the updated squads (for the record, in our review copy the last transfers were not yet present, such as core 'ngrato Quagliarella from Napoli to Juventus) and to access a sort of internal shop through which you can buy hairstyles, even irregularly shaped balls (like a barrel!), shoes, classic players and teams up to retro music and particular liveries for stadiums through the use of GPs that accumulate by winning matches and more. You read that right, this year the editor of PES 2011 it is extremely complete, starting from the creation of new players or the customization of existing ones without restrictions, passing through the name of the leagues and their logo.
In the latter case it is possible to build it from scratch with a special interface or take a photo with the camera or import images from disk. The stadium editor is equally complete, it is possible to create one from scratch but with a fixed form; the interesting thing is the choice of the type of grandstand among those available, the livery of the roof, ceiling and fences, the color of the seats, the benches, the type of lighting and the background. All liveries can be customized with images imported from the hard drive while as mentioned there are also funny and retro ones like those of Gradius and Castlevania, which can be purchased in the extras menu. Imagine a game with your pumpkin-headed players in a brightly colored stadium with a spaceship in the background.
PlayStation 3 Trophies
PES 2011 offers 28 trophies, of which 5 gold and 11 silver. To get them all you obviously have to win the Champions League and the Libertadores Cup on any difficulty level, while the longer ones are related to the perfect season in the Master League rather than getting the recognition as the best player in the world in Become a Legend. The most difficult online instead involves being able to get 75% of wins in the last 20 ranked games.
You are thrilled to know what the game is like, right? We're getting there! Once a match of any kind has been selected, based on the chosen mode, it is as always possible to manage all the parameters related to the stadium, balls and weather conditions. The management of your team has undergone heavy changes in the interface and Konami has done an excellent job to make it more intuitive and immediate, according to the concept of drag'n drop. In the half of the screen used for their information there is in fact a miniature playing field with dots that represent the owners inside and on the side instead the exploded and completely visible list of players on the bench and in the stands. At this point, any modification of the formation, position or other is made with a free cursor that allows in a quick and intuitive way to make substitutions, a decisive step forward compared to the previous edition. At the base of the field depicted it is possible to set up the strategies to be recalled in the field, the management of ball possession and so on; particular mention should be made for the management of the feints so dear to the most savvy players. Their use is delegated to the right analog stick, the interesting thing is that they can be completely customized and connected to each other according to the four cardinal directions, relative to the player's position or fixed. Thanks to a special editor, for example, it is possible to associate the double step to the right direction followed by a sharp dribble to the left and then the elastic to the right, up to a maximum of four feints per direction. There is also the simulation, but every time we tried it in the game we were relentlessly warned.
The Pardo-Altafini couple, albeit divided in reality by the passage of the former to Mediaset Premium, once again awaits the players on the playing field and does their honest job. From a technical point of view, the transitions from one comment to another have improved and everything appears credible compared to what happens on the screen, although there are also blunders that apparently after so many years are impossible to eliminate. Speaking of the actual gameplay, Konami seems to have largely framed the problems that characterized the previous chapters and first of all the pace of the game has dropped dramatically (in any case it is possible to reduce or increase the speed by two points) and the differences among the various players they are marked in the fundamentals such as dribbling and reactivity, but they are less unrealistic or arcade-like.
To give an example, Messi can win only if launched at speed with sufficient space and in counter-time with respect to the defender, because now it is no longer possible to buck tens of meters using only the speed, but it is reached quite quickly by the opponents. To support this new type of gameplay there is also an excellent physicality in the game contrasts, clearly noticeable and linked to the size of each player. The clashes without the ball are now more punished and finally even the obstruction does not go unnoticed by the referee as well as the pressure of X and square to call the pressing, which if obsessive or in any case out of time leads only to the whistle of the foul. Another rather important novelty is represented by the 360-degree passages: now it is finally possible to make the passage in the desired direction, also having to dose the power according to the distance. A step forward that allows you to increase the variety of the game produced and experiment with solutions that were previously inaccessible to the series, which also for this reason had been pointed out to have a too arcade mold in its fundamentals. Konami, in any case, has opted not to give the player the choice on the degree of freedom of the passages, instead routing him where he deems best by reaching a compromise between automatism and complete manual skills and compensating for the imperfect precision of the analogue in relation to the view: therefore it is enough to frame well the area where you want to direct the ball, and if there is a teammate the pass itself will be quite precise.
The moment of the goal
Last but not least the animation system has been completely rewritten and now we have some really beautiful to look at and more amalgamated with each other than in the past, even if we are not yet at the level of the competition. In any case, it is enough to scrutinize any replay to appreciate the quality and variety that is not an end in itself because the reactivity of the players on the field and the "waiting times" during tackles or other situations that require a minimum of automatism. In this regard, some panic situations remain such as brawl on the line or sub-measure deviation: in this case the defender most of the times will sweep the ball perhaps in a corner kick, an "imposed" automatism but which seems acceptable in view of wanting simulate a football match and not a competition between supermen.
All these changes and novelties give a decidedly fresh feeling to PES 2011 and make it finally turn the ropes towards simulation, since you have to tackle the action in a more maneuvered way than before considering that the artificial intelligence of the opponents covers the field in a better way. To compete at high levels it is also essential to use various strategies and tactics to allow the team, for example, to better manage the counterattack or to expand when the opponent is very closed; to make a comparison in the previous episodes we had felt much less the need to have to deal with directives and more. However, what brings the series back to earth and in canons that are now fed up are those infamous tracks that do not allow you to have complete control of the player. Even if they have been reduced or eliminated in some situations, in others they remain and are decidedly annoying, as on the occasion of all line-out lines, but also in the presence of loose balls that must be chased by both teams. A real shame because the total control over the players would have allowed to further increase the variety and simulation vein of the title, it would probably have been really the discriminating factor for a complete revolution of the saga for which we will have to wait a little longer. Jumping from pole to branch, another heavy flaw, this time conceptual, is the little effort made by Konami with regards to the licensing of teams and consequently of the players. To see in 2010 for example the Serie A without an official name and logo rather than the English league decimated by the lack of teams with official names and uniforms is frankly unacceptable.
A few other European championships would not have spoiled, even if thanks to the Libertadores cup new teams have been added that in any case have less appeal for our home gamers. Clarification relating to our championship, Zamparini's Palermo seems to have given many headaches to both Konami and Electronic Arts, as it does not have the official uniform in any of their productions. Note of merit instead on the technical aspect, where Konami once again managed to do an excellent job in creating the shirts and faces of the players, which are impressive for similarity to the most famous ones and also good for others: to see a Grava del Perfectly reproduced Naples is indeed quite surprising. The rest of the technical sector is as good as mentioned in the players and in the textures, the direction linked to the highlights or to other things such as substitutions, fouls and in general the whole outline of the game is done very well and certainly contributes to increasing the identification. Konami, however, introduced a blur effect that is applied for example when reviewing a shot or in celebrations; it would also be nice if it weren't so pronounced in some cases, "practice" that makes us think of a use designed to mask some imperfection in the frame rate.
All on the net!
We have left out the Master League and Become a Myth mode as they are largely similar to previous versions except for some extended options and improvements such as the Europa League license rather than more complete transfer and call-up management. In the first case, however, the online version is completely new, where you can challenge other players with your team and access a transfer market that "fluctuates" according to the movements of all the participants. For example, if a Messi is bought by more players, its value rises more and more, making it more difficult to purchase. Unfortunately, as always happens every year for both PES and FIFA, during the review phase we were unable to fully test the online and ascertain the presence or absence of lag with many players. We will ask a special neighbor this analysis, in the meantime we can continue our description with the possibility of playing with your created player or even organizing, thanks to the community option, real leagues where you can access the statistics, the calendar, the rankings. various among friends and in general all the players who become part of it. A last modality that we have discovered but not tried is called "final synthesis", which apparently seems to make available the scenarios of classic matches where two players take the reins of the teams and have to confirm or subvert what has happened in reality.
If this long review was not enough for you, we invite you to also read our report of the PES World Finals 2010, where we also interviewed Shingo "Seabass" Takatsuka, who gave us an interesting point of view regarding the different philosophy of PES compared to to the competition.
PES 2011 it gives the impression of having finally given a real turn to its gameplay with the new passing system, the physicality of the players and a balanced rhythm where even the artificial intelligence appears more credible than in the past. The graphic aspect continues to be a strong point above all in the creation of the players and from this year also in the direction, also because Konami has been very good at giving the title an atmosphere that football lovers will surely appreciate starting from the menus and from the actual competitions present. It is time, however, to heavily enhance the licenses relating to the teams present, because in 2011 seeing another North London instead of Arsenal is less and less tolerable. In the same way, players must be derailed from those tracks that, although reduced, are out of fashion and do not allow the series to completely veer towards a great simulation with its own personality.
- The new system of passages, physicality and animations
- Champions League, Copa Libertadores and Editor are flagships
- Graphically excellent
- Although reduced, the tracks have not yet been eliminated
- Team and player licenses are still too few