As soccer games go, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 moves fairly slow, and that’s okay with me. Everything feels more deliberate and meaningful because of the reduced speed, and the game is easier to follow and control than other soccer games on the market. Pro Evo 2011 has implemented some other changes from previous iterations as well, and these changes serve to differentiate Pro Evo 2011 from FIFA 11 and improve upon prior versions.
The slower gameplay speed does two things: it makes the game feel much more personal since everything is not so frantic and you’re not constantly scrambling for the ball, and it allows you to keep pressure on the ball which brings the game down to a more personal level. This can result in more fouls when pressuring a defensive player, but the trade-off is well worth it. Online play has also been improved. Not only can you jump onto Live and play friends in a match, but Konami has added the Online Master League mode which allows you to earn rewards for good play. You’ll come across new players, oddly-shaped soccer balls, and even classic Konami sounds inserted into the game. Have you always thought the World Cup would be better if they just dubbed Frogger sounds over the action? Well now you can see if you’re right.
PES 2011 also allows customization of teams, players, stadiums, logos, and cheers. Building your own stadium is one more way to make the experience your own. The amount of time that can be sunk into making a custom arena is staggering, but if you decide to take a team through multiple seasons it is a great touch that their stadium, logo, and fans are your own custom creations.
I imagine that the reasoning is mostly financial, but I would have liked to see more well-known teams in PES 2011. The French and Dutch premier leagues are included in their entirety, but I don’t really know any of those teams. Where are the teams from MLS, and why are only two English teams (Tottenham and Manchester) included? The light roster hurts all the more when compared to FIFA 11 which includes a ton of official leagues. The action is good, but sports games are always improved by the ability to play as your favorite team on their home turf.
PES 2011 hasn’t taken the crown away from FIFA 11, but if you have room on your shelf for two soccer games this year then Pro Evo 2011 is worth your time. It is vastly improved over last year’s game, and the changes set it apart from the competition even if they haven’t taken the top spot.
Pros: Slow speed makes for a more intimate game, great customization options
Cons: Lack of recognized teams