(Pocket-lint) - Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer series is big business over in Japan (although it goes by the title Winning Eleven in the land of the Rising Sun).

So it's no surprise that the developer has got on board with the latest handheld console to hit the market, but those of you expecting a simple 3D version of the traditional PES set up may be in for a pleasant shock with some new, unique, features on board for the 3DS version.


Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D

What platform is it on?

Nintendo 3DS

When's it out?

During the "launch window", which is 25 March - early June.

What other game is it like?

The other PES titles, FIFA.

Does it use any new tech?

Of course, there's some pretty serious glasses-free 3D action going on here.

The pitch 

Designed specifically for the 3D-enabled unit, PES 2011 3D for Nintendo 3DS offers an immersive take on the football genre, mixing the PES series’ acclaimed level of control and realism, with the added dimensions the 3DS allows. Players can select from 60 National and 170 club sides, and lead them to glory within a range of challenging tournaments and leagues.

The storyline 

Konami's football sim has seen yearly updates in its current format since 2001. It was born out of its International Superstar Soccer series of the 1990s. It may not have the detail of its EA rival - FIFA, but purists insist that it is still the most realistic football sim. And with no FIFA 3D version yet announced, this could be just the tonic Konami needs to help it get back on top.

Our first impressions

PES 2011 3D certainly got the ooh-ers and aah-ers, ooh-ing and aah-ing when a video of it was shown during the event presentation, but it wasn't just the fact that the third dimension had been added to the popular football franchise - it was the new player camera angle that caused the most excitement.

And rightly so, because when combined with the 3D aspect (turn the slider up full for some serious depth) the game really does come alive.

As an ardent PES player, it was a bit strange at first not using the normal camera setup (the version on show was a half match between Barcelona and Real Madrid with no options available) but it soon became pretty natural.

The graphics on the 3DS were slick too, with smooth animations and actions. Don't expect a 360 or PS3 lookalike, but expect a vast improvement on previous handheld versions.

Just as 3D sport on the TV seems to thrive, the gaming sports sim genre also looks like being one of the benefactors of the added dimension.

Please note

The Nintendo 3DS launch in Amsterdam was a fantastic chance to see the new titles due in the launch window, 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 event we got 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.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 review

Writing by Paul Lamkin.