Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 Review
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 is a comprehensive reboot of the series, offering improved gameplay and a host of great new features.
Fortunately, this year's game packs in more online elements than ever before. Once you've created a profile, there are a variety of standard unranked and ranked match options (with up to eight players in unranked friendlies and up to four players in ranked). The biggest addition, though, is the Online Master League. This mode allows you to compete online with other people, and use prize money to bring more talent into your squad. Once you've chosen your team, you're given an allowance of currency (euros, dollars, pounds or yen) with which you can enter matches and buy players. If you win or draw matches, you earn more money, with quick matches resulting in a cut of the tickets, while multi-match competitions offer a share of tickets as well as prize money. The player market is well implemented, as player values change constantly depending on demand. A ticker tape at the top of the menu alerts you to players who are a good deal, or perhaps overvalued. These mechanics and the risk/reward dynamic prove to be particularly addictive, meaning you'll have a hard time putting down the Online Master League once you get going.
The series has long offered a host of customisable options for those who have braved the previous menu systems, and thankfully the improved presentation this year makes it less daunting to do so. Thanks to a revised pitch display, it's easy to make substitutions simply by grabbing the player off the pitch in the menu. The big new feature is customisable feints, which can be mapped to the right analogue stick, allowing you to flick four different directions to link special moves together on the pitch. You can choose from a long list of different flicks and shimmies and then save multiple sets of your customised feints to switch between midmatch. Sadly, you can't share your customisation setups online, but the system adds a welcome level of personalisation to the skills options.
One of the most welcome changes is that this year's game doesn't take itself too seriously, which is ably demonstrated by the slew of unlockable content. As you play through the game and earn credits, you can spend them unlocking items such as pillows and giant sweets for balls, pumpkin heads for your players, retro sounds from Konami games such as Frogger and Contra, and stadium fencing themed on other Konami games such as Gradius and Castlevania. The game also has a comprehensive editor that lets you tweak all aspects of your stadium, from the grass patterns and lighting, to the stands and seating, but it's disappointing that you can't then upload and share your creations online; you can only save them as a data file to share with friends. You can also edit team emblems this year, either by importing an image, by taking a photo using a camera attached to the system, or by using a rudimentary drawing system similar to a desktop paint program. You can also import your own audio for crowd chants and assign them to your favourite teams, although you have to produce the audio file on a computer or other recording device, rather than in the game.
One of Pro Evo's longest-running niggles has been the lack of officially licensed teams and players, and while there are more official teams in the game than ever before, this issue hasn't been completely resolved in Pro Evo 2011. If you're online, you can download fan-made update data to remedy this issue, and the inclusion of the Copa Libertadores expands the number of officially licensed club teams from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Mexico. Alas, only two English premiership teams have the official kits including sponsors--this time it's Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur--but the French and Dutch premier leagues are there in full. Overall, the presentation is much better, but there are still a lot of menus to click through even when you're trying to do things as simple as play online.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 represents an impressive upswing for the series--it finally fixes some long-term issues, includes welcome new features, and boasts much stronger visuals. But the biggest news is that this game is a genuine upgrade in terms of playability, with much deeper gameplay thanks to its new passing and animation systems. As the start of what will hopefully be a new era for the franchise, this a comeback that newcomers and Pro Evo veterans shouldn't miss out on.
- Player Reviews: 12
- Game Universe:
- Pro Evolution Soccer 4 (PC),
- Pro Evolution Soccer (PS2, PS),
- Pro Evolution Soccer 5 (XBOX, PS2, PC, GC),
- Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 (X360, PS2, PC, PSP, DS),
- Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (PS3, X360, PS2, PSP, DS, PC, WII, MOBILE),
- Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (X360, PS3, PC, PS2, PSP, WII),
- Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 (X360, PS3, PC, PSP, PS2, WII),
- Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D (X360, PS3, WII, PSP, PC, PS2, 3DS, IP, WINM),
- Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 (PS3, X360, PSP, WII, PS2, 3DS, PC, WINM),
- Pro Evolution Soccer 2002 (GC)