PES 2011

PES 2011 Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PCWiiPS2PSP

Virtual football featuring club and national teams.

Review Verdict Read Review
7Out of 10
Back to game info

PES 2011 feels like the biggest effort Konami has made with the series for many years, but the cold hard truth is that it's still in mid-table compared to FIFA's Champions League dominance. This year's PES is easily the best iteration we've seen on this generation of consoles, with a solid new passing system, a more considered pace and smart - if not breathtaking - visuals. But after years of FIFA refining a true next-gen experience, PES still feels a little archaic.

Positives first, then. The 360-degree passing works very well, allowing you to spread the ball about as you wish. With every kick nowhaving a power bar attached to it, the weighting of passes is one of PES 2011's triumphs. Shooting is as solid as it's ever been, once again allowing you to pull off some thumping strikes from outside the box. Thanks to the new passing system it's possible to set up some incredible moves, culminating in your striker running onto a lofted 50-yard pass and then hitting it on the half-volley, the ball screaming past the flailing goalie and into the top corner.

It's moments like this that show Konami still has the magic dust it sprinkled over the series during the first half of the last decade. When it all comes together it's easy to slip back into that comfortable zone long-time fans experienced all those years ago, when PES ruled the roost and dominated our disc trays. This year's game feels a touch more realistic, too, which is excellent since previous games occasionally became fleshy games of pinball.

Konami has created a hard game, not only in terms of the nuanced controls, but because of the AI, too - computer controlled teams put up a real fight. Initial games will likely see a string or 0-0 or 1-0 score lines if you're playing on or above the regular difficulty setting. At one point I celebrated as if I'd won the FA Cup final at the fact that my Barcelona managed a last minute equaliser against Stoke - and I hadn't even scored it myself, with the defender deflecting the ball into his own goal.

While player physicality isn't handled as realistically as in FIFA 11 (the physics engine just doesn't feel as natural here), it's far better than it was last year, meaning big players can bully smaller ones. This, combined with players that are harder to tackle and enhanced defender AI, makes for a game that will take a long time to get into.

This would be fine if the attacking game was on par with defensive play, but it's simply not. The biggest offender is the AI of your team mates, who just refuse to make intelligent runs. It's incredibly frustrating to be in a great position, only for the rest of your team to linger on the half-way line, apparently blind to the clear opportunity. I thought this was due to my team tactics, but even after going into the menus and adopting as aggressive a strategy as possible, rarely did my strikers want to make a move into the box as my winger broke towards the byline.

New stuff to check out

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments


Good review Tom.

It's amazing how these FIFA vs PRO EVO arguments spring up every year. A review is, by its own nature, subjective. I don't think it's anything to do with the fact that the reviewer is used to playing one or the other franchise, just that they prefer the look and feel of one over the other in a given year.

As always with these 2 games it's a case of; if you prefer such and such a feature go to this franchise.
Posted 11:10 on 08 October 2010
RabC2102's Avatar


Some reviews just interest me. For many years pro evo dominated fifa and any other footy game. Yet anybody who played fifa could not see what the better game was. I owned every pro evo that ever was released up untill 2 years ago, I then played the new and very improved fifa, so I switched to fifa and got fifa 09, the next year I got fifa 10. Now after playing the demo's of both games this year it isn't to hard to spot the most improved game, I would say that every aspect of pro evo has had huge improvements this year but as i'm not a reviewer i will not list them as thats not what this is about. You see this is a review about pro evo yet fifa is mentioned as much if not more in this review. The problem is that there is no mention of how sluggish fifa is!!! Maybe it just me that spotted that! Is fifa not just a rip off of the world cup game that was released in the summer, suppose that would be an easy 1 to miss! O and the pressing system, Is that real, does every player in footy press the ball in that manor! Ronaldo!!! Just thought I would throw his name in there. Lets face it fifa hasn't changed much in a year maybe 2 if i'm being honest. Don't think I should blame the reviewer though, Its not his fault he was brought up on fifa, it's in his blood! It would be nice though if he would have had a look at both on an equal playing field. It's not to hard to see which looks and feels newer and fresher and which just looks and feels stale!!!
Posted 23:07 on 07 October 2010
matty_5931's Avatar

matty_5931@ brenomc7

Thats exactly what i was saying there is a real magic to the master league, on PES signing a new player makes such a difference whilst fifa is ok the star players just don't make the impact that they do on PES
Posted 20:45 on 07 October 2010
beember's Avatar


brenomc7: if you want to feel free in FIFA and you want to have a good passing system just choose a manual control in options.
As PES fan I am not happy, because FIFA is better this year, just like a year before.
The one thing that FIFA 11 does not have is shooting system - you just do not feel the power. On the other hand, in PES long shots are too easy.
Posted 15:42 on 07 October 2010
brenomc7's Avatar


Hi Guys,
I am a massive PES fan, bought all the series, but after the hype the FIFA is receiving I decided to put my ego aside and buy FIFA 2011........ I have played over 50 games, using all the different functions, playing as 11 players, playing as 1, GK,CF,MF,DF........ Used every single camera option and went through all the Controls and trying to make Fifa as free as possible and put me in full control.... my conclusion after my 5 days of playing the game is that the above article is not accurate at all and would not surprise me at all if as stated below he never played a Master league, dragging your team from rags to riches and competing in the CL or EL..............Pro's for FIFA are obvious, licenses make the game look great, there is no need to touch the Edit mode, layout is excelent, the Pro set up and online are incredible. I would play the game for the online expierience alone...... Con's... you can not change your player easily, you press L1 and it gives you evrry player that is behind the ball.. Passing is terrible, there is no consistency with power, shooting is by far the worst i have seen in any PES game back until "International Superstar Soccer Pro", your attacks break down too fast because you can not get the correct player, threading a ball through the gaps is as easy as Stevie Wonder being a top Snooker player, also the Stamina gauge, I was Fernando Torres for 5 games in Career as a player, I played the 5 games even though after the first game I needed a rest, not authentic at all, you would know that Benitez's coaching skills were not a factor in the creation.......... I have only played the PES demo and I see a far superior game, granted the license is a huge issue and takes some time to get your leagues set up accordingly... But my god the passing in PES is so free, you have total control in what you want to do, have not be 100% convinced of the Shooting but the full game and time will sort that issue out im sure..... To Summarise guys, I opended the door for FIFA, I went with a clear head and was open to change....... I was left with the assumption that PES is the game and that before it enters my console I will be Sterilizing my room to get of that awful FIFA taste...... Sorry FIFA fans you are missing out this year.. Thats for sure!!!!
Posted 08:58 on 07 October 2010
clangod's Avatar


I'm far more in tune with PES than FIFA after making the switch to PES around the 2000 mark. PES 2005 must be the best PES in my opinion as I have yet to play PES 2011 of course. I have PES 09 on PS3 and FIFA 10 on 360 and the latter definitely feels the more natural of the two however I am so used to PES gameplay that it has become hard for a weekend hack like me to re-adapt to the FIFA style of play. An interesting and no doubt honest review. I don't plan on buying a football game for a while but I certainly have a consideration to make when it comes to choice.
Posted 22:56 on 05 October 2010
hamoo's Avatar


fifa 11 is better
Posted 19:27 on 05 October 2010
matty_5931's Avatar

matty_5931@ SexyJams

Sorry dude was hungover at work this morning when i wrote this, but i still think Mayweather will beat pacquiao though
Posted 17:42 on 01 October 2010
cousinwalter's Avatar

cousinwalter@ mikejosh1978

I don't understand the Fifa doesn't have the Master league argument as a reason not to get it! Fifa has what most Euro leagues & its respective lower divisions available in all their glory , so what has the Master league got to do with anything if you're buying a footy game to be Reading or LA Galaxy

Surely if you were either of those teams the option to purchase some good players could only be seen as a positive.
Posted 17:19 on 01 October 2010
mikejosh1978's Avatar


I don't understand the Fifa doesn't have the Master league argument as a reason not to get it! Fifa has what most Euro leagues & its respective lower divisions available in all their glory , so what has the Master league got to do with anything if you're buying a footy game to be Reading or LA Galaxy & want a good solid game of footy online with or against friends or randoms
I have always preferred PES since the Ps1 & haven't bought any of them since '08 for either franchise . I have borrowed & rented as the same issues appear & re-appear which has yet convinced me that PES 5 is still the best footy game i ever played & Fifa 98 was the best & greatest value for money EA version of our beautiful game i have seen.
Fifa wins on the licensing & Online side by a long way but gameplay as improved as it is just still feels too coin toss on the crossing ,winning the cross & to the final part of that cross going for a throw in or top corner. PES has the same events but just seems to make it a bit more fun & not as soul destroying as Fifa can be .
All that said I have enjoyed Fifa 11 (sons copy) but refuse to pay out for another copy & for an online pass which i find a desperate attempt to fill its coffers after paying out too much for licensing that most players don't care about it just looks good on the box .
PES sounds improved but even with free online the Konami id can get tedious to set up & remember & until they just use psn it will suffer online against Fifa & until Konami say ok a new engine & a 2 yr dev time is put in place i will continue playing its 6 yr old better ps2 cousin.
Posted 14:45 on 01 October 2010
jase_ace_uk's Avatar

jase_ace_uk@ Ghost_Dog

Fifa fans have always been like that. Its a shame I was hoping PES might be back this year but Fifa has kept the crown for another year.
Posted 12:39 on 01 October 2010
Ghost_Dog's Avatar


I'm one of those rare species that still prefers PES to FIFA, but I'm giving it a miss this year.

Hoping next years update offers more of a significant improvement.

Oh, and does the hardcore FIFA fan really have to TD people for simply liking PES over FIFA.
Posted 12:00 on 01 October 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev@ draytone

They have tried with manager mode which has been improving, but is still generally sh*t.
Posted 11:50 on 01 October 2010
draytone's Avatar


I can understand peoples beef with EA not introducing something similar to Master League, but Fifa11 is still the better game.
Posted 11:48 on 01 October 2010
Wido's Avatar


Good read Tom. I've played both demo's and got the full game to FIFA 11. I'm afraid PES 2011 just didn't cut the mustard for me. Passing certainly improved but the fluidity wasn't there for PES than compared to FIFA 11.
Posted 11:41 on 01 October 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
PES 2011
Out of 10
PES 2011
  • Plays excellently until final third
  • Great player likenesses
  • Lacks FIFA's authenticity
  • Team-mate AI isn't good enough
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 08/10/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC , Wii , PS2 , PSP
Developer: PES Productions
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Sports
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 1,242 239
View Full Site