PES 2011 screenshot
PES 2011 screenshot

PES used to be like a member of the family. It'd be there in times of need. No matter what was going on in your life, it would be sat inside your PS2's disk tray, waiting to be spun into action. Many of us saw more PES than we did sunlight, and it even had a convenient pause during set-pieces that allowed everyone to quickly sip a cold beverage. Then things got nasty. FIFA muscled in as PES got lazy. Years of being BFFs caused PES to get complacent, and with every passing year FIFA upped its game until PES was banished to the game shelf. Konami promised changes, but with each new game came further disappointment. Times have changed. FIFA rules and PES is essentially a generation late to the party. Now it's the turn of PES 2011, which true to form comes packed with the lure of all manner of improvements that hope to wake the sleeping giant. But we've been let down before.

While it's still a bit early to say for sure if things have changed for the better (some might argue things couldn't get much worse), things have changed, and in some cases quite dramatically. What's apparent from my initial exhibition matches is how tricky it is to score. This is down to significant modifications to both defending and attacking.

The age-old 'hold X to pressure and tackle' system is still here, but it's been tweaked to offer more options. Hold X (we're talking the PS3 version here, but there'll be an equivalent on other platforms) and point the left analogue stick at your own goal and your defender will fairly unspectacularly just try to stop the attacker advancing on goal. He won't be able to easily run past you, but you're not going to win the ball unless the ball happens to hit you. The second option is to let go of the stick completely while holding X. Your player will stop, but attempt to win the ball. Finally there's the more risky, lunge-like tackle, performed by holding X and pointing the stick at the man in possession.

It's not a revolution by any means, but certainly makes attacking an altogether more difficult task. Combine this with a strong emphasis on individual player characteristics and stats and you have a game that's already more in-depth and realistic than any PES I've played before. In a friendly game here in the office, in which both players picked England, at one point nippy but small winger Aaron Lennon burst free only to come face to face with man-giant Ledley King. Despite Lennon's pace, King was able to use his brute force to push the pint-sized dynamo away from the penalty area.

Your options when on the ball needed to be enhanced to match the improved defending, and that's exactly what Konami has done. Most notable is more precise control over your player, with supposed full 360-degree movement. I can't say if it actually is that precise, but it's a hell of a lot better than what we got last year. The feint system has also been reworked, with L1 and the right analogue stick working in tandem to give your player a bit of space to get off a shot or nip past a defender. Of course, tight control is a must, with only the best players (like cover star Lionel Messi) able to exploit these moves fully.

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User Comments

draytone's Avatar

draytone@ El-Dev

It would of just been nicer for a more indepth experience in the manager mode. I still love the game.
Posted 15:33 on 04 August 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev@ draytone

Hmmm, I don't think I'd let that ruin the whole experience for me.
Posted 15:32 on 04 August 2010
draytone's Avatar

draytone@ El-Dev

I won the Champions League with Barnet and the 'celebration' scene was awful, and it was over in about 2 seconds. I was like omfg poor Barnet!
Posted 15:29 on 04 August 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod

Apart from around the mid 90's when I was playing nothing but fifa, I have always tended to opt for PES. Lately I have enjoyed fifa10 but haven't delved too much into it in terms features but I have really enjoyed the games I've played.

At the moment, I only actually own PES2009 which is okay I guess. PES2010 was only marginally better from what I've played but PES2011 appears to have improved the game tenfold. I almost resigned to buy fifa2010 a couple of months back but opted for a different game all together.

Hopefully this will be as good as I expect it to be.
Posted 14:57 on 04 August 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

There were a few problems with the Manager Mode last year, such as budgeting, team fitness, suspensions never being right, player recovery and players wanting £300k per week wages but it wasn't that bad.

Oh, and the manager appraisal system was f*cked.
Posted 14:47 on 04 August 2010
draytone's Avatar

draytone

I really hate the manager mode on Fifa10 but love the rest of the game . If it was massively improved on either Fifa11 or PES11 then I would buy buy buy!
Posted 14:35 on 04 August 2010
chelskiboy247's Avatar

chelskiboy247@ draytone

Don't quote me on this, but I believe that they've completely got rid of manager mode and replaced it with a 'Career mode'.
Posted 14:25 on 04 August 2010
draytone's Avatar

draytone

I don't know what to get. Is the management mode better than Fifa10?
Posted 13:16 on 04 August 2010
jase_ace_uk's Avatar

jase_ace_uk

I'm thinking of buying both PES and Fifa this year.
Posted 11:50 on 04 August 2010
chelskiboy247's Avatar

chelskiboy247

For the last couple of years now, I get excited by a new PES but always end up getting FIFA instead. Hopefully this year will be different. With FIFA 10 being so good, EA will have to do A LOT to convince me to get FIFA 11. And currently, it doesn't look like they're going to.

PES 2011 on the other hand, is getting me very excited.

2011 - The year PES triumphs?
Posted 11:49 on 04 August 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

I hope the demo goes up soon, I've been reasonably impressed with the gameplay videos I've seen.
Posted 11:48 on 04 August 2010
jtorry's Avatar

jtorry@ El-Dev

I didn't. PES menus are always too confusing for me to understand.
Posted 11:43 on 04 August 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev@ jtorry

It's more the passing and the player movement that has put me off the last couple of games.

Did you guys try out all the tactical stuff they've added to it?
Posted 11:41 on 04 August 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams@ jtorry

That isn't a bad thing though. Maybe it's more reflective of football as opposed to the 10-0 games you get in Fifa.
Posted 11:21 on 04 August 2010
jtorry's Avatar

jtorry@ El-Dev

I've played about 5 matches and haven't scored a goal. It's pretty difficult.
Posted 11:19 on 04 August 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 08/10/2010
Developer: PES Productions
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Sports
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 1,670 202
Check Price