Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 - quick play preview

FIFA or Pro Evo? EA or Konami? It's the debate that won't seem to go away. Every year the rivalry intensifies and even here at Pocket-lint Towers we have argued long into the night as to what is the king of the footie sim? And, as the 2011 versions of both titles were on show over at Gamescom, we thought it was only right to take them both for a spin and see how they faired. First up, it's Konami's effort.

Name

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011

What platform is it on?

Xbox 360 (also available on Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP and PC)

When's it due out?

30 September 2010

What other game is it like?

PES 2008, PES 2009, PES 2010.

Does it use any new tech?

No.

The pitch

Due for release in the autumn, PES 2011 has been astounding football fans with its free-flowing, unfettered gameplay. Total control is the new game’s mantra, and PES  2011 delivers this with an all-new power gauge system wherein players govern the strength and position of every pass. Total 360-degree control adds a layer of realism to the series.

The storyline

Konami's football sim is known as Winning Eleven in Japan, and has been seen yearly updates in its current format since 2001. It was born out of Konami's International Superstar Soccer series of the 1990s. It may not have the detail of its EA rival, but purists insist that it is still the most realistic football sim.

Video

Our first impressions

We won't really mention the new tactics area because the version we got our hands on didn't let you explore too much, but what we did see looked polished and an improvement on previous versions.

The setup screens have also had their traditional revamps, and the graphics on Xavi and Ronaldo as they went chest to chest looked very impressive.

But PES fans won't really be interested in all that (after all, they'd surely just buy FIFA if they wanted the little, unimportant details). They'll be more interested in how the gameplay felt.

Well, PES fans, expect to be impressed as PES 2011 seemed like a massive improvement on the previous two versions that both came under quite fierce criticism.

It's all much slicker, and quicker, and just feels like a return to the glory PES years of 2007 and 2008, but with vast improvements in the control and visuals.

A neat new feature is that you can now manually control every single pass you make, meaning you can play a ball into space with a chosen weight - which is much more realistic than the traditional through-ball button.

A shot and stamina gauge have also been added, which seemed a bit of a distraction to be honest. Good players don't need a monitor to tell them how tired a player is, or how hard you are going to hit a shot. The beauty of PES is that you can feel how a player is performing, so we're hoping Konami gives us the option to turn these gauges off.

To end on a plus though, the defender's AI seems to be greatly improved. Instead of simply running alongside an attacker or going for an early tackle, defenders seem to hold their positions and attempt to force their opponents into mistakes.

John Terry could learn a thing or two from this.

Overall, we were very excited by our quick spin on PES 2011. If the option to turn the shot and stamina gauges off is within the options then it's a massive winner.

PES fans, breathe a sigh of relief - the king could be back.

Please note

Gamescom is a fantastic chance to see the latest games due out over the coming year, letting us get a glimpse into what are going to be the big titles and the ones to avoid like the plague.

The big problem however, is that for most of the titles that glimpse is, well, just that. At the show you'll get to play a level here or a multiplayer map there.

So with that in mind we present you with our Quick Play.

What we've done is broken down the key facts you need to know and then given you our first impressions based on around 15 minutes of gaming. For us that 15 minutes isn't enough to do a First Look review. How can you rate a game that offers over 30 hours of gaming on just 15 minutes of play? However, it should hopefully give you an idea, a feeling, a notion, of what to expect come launch day.