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Yesterday afternoon we asked you what you wanted to know about PES 2011 via our Twitter feed and Facebook page, based on our hands-on with the preview code on 360. And you replied back in record numbers. 20 odd folk definitely counts as a record number, yeah? Anyhoo, if you want to read our thoughts based on our time with the game and see all all your burning footie-based questions, read below…
After playing a few matches against the computer and in multiplayer, we can confidently say that PES 2011 has made real strides over its predecessor. Player models still look eerily accurate, but backing them up now are some beautiful little visual touches, like motion blur in the incredible looking replays. The wide camera angle is now also framed at a slight angle, making matches more similar to a game you’d watch on TV.
Above: Currently players don't feel quite as individual as they used to and we found it hard to appreciate the difference between Real Madrid's Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso
On the pitch, crosses feel much more incisive, often falling in dangerous areas. Shooting is excellent as ever, while Konami compliments the game’s crunching slide tackles with an array of subtle, but wince-inducing incidental animations. Trouble is, though the publisher is bigging up 360 degree dribbling, movement still feels robotic and stiff. Honestly, we’d swear players still move on the old eight directional axis.
And that’s the PES’ biggest problem this year. Next to FIFA 11 it feels a bit archaic and clumsy. Where EA's effort relies on buttery smooth animation and it’s subtle, refined passing system, Konami’s game feels clunky and slightly cumbersome in comparison. It’s a step forward for the series over last year, then. But we still struggle to see PES grabbing the title back from FIFA. But enough from us, lets get some of your questions answered...
Above: Wherever you look this year, Messi (and apparently his clone) is everywhere
Q) gazo69: How long did it take you to get the hang of the new control system and was it fun to play?
A) It takes a little time to get used to. Passing feels heavier than last year. It's pretty fun, but feels a bit robotic at the moment.
Q) FLStyle: I only buy one game a year, FIFA or PES and I'm sure I’m not the only one. Why should I bother with PES? Hasn't its time passed?
A) We definitely wouldn’t say its time has passed. After all, the series was the critical darling of the games industry for the best part of a decade. It still offers a different enough take on football from FIFA to make it a valid alternative, with a crisp shooting system and player likenesses that are still miles ahead of EA's game.
Q) Leegolas: Is there still scripted football like in the old version? As in, it’s 1-1 with five to go. No matter what you do, will the CPU still score?
A) Oh yes. So much so, in our first game against Real Madrid, the computer forced control away from us just as we were shaping up a shot with Barcelona’s Pedro and actually scored for us. We also had a moment where Kaka basically became impossible to tackle and skinned our entire left flank before squaring to Benzema who scored with a perfectly waited shot.
Above: The new motion blur in replays really is a cute graphical touch
Q) Scott Riach: Is there still no 360 degree dribbling?
A) Konami says PES 2011 now has 360 degree dribbling. But to us, it stills feels like eight directional movement, with players handling with way less finesse and subtlety than their counterparts in FIFA.
Q) Shagrath_Vtc: Is it slower than PES 2010? That one was pretty unrealistic, as it was too fast.
A) Yup, it definitely feels slower and more deliberate than last year. Players now take longer to adjust their feet before making and receiving a pass, giving the game a more methodical, realistic pace.
Q) Alex Benson: Please tell me it’s PES 5 with better graphics and online play.
A) Nope. It’s nothing like PES 5. To us, it feels less physical than its PS2 predecessor and the series in general has moved away from its more arcadey roots since 2006’s effort.
Above: The menus definitely look a bit snazzier than before. Wooh?
Q) Luke_Yeandle: Are the keepers fixed in this build?
A) They definitely spilled fewer shots in the few matches we played. Although we can’t say definitively whether the dreaded Captain Pan Hands syndrome has completely disappeared from PES’ keepers.
Q) Carl Griffiths: How's the movement? Does it still feel weightless? And also, how is the overall atmosphere? Commentary, crowd chanting etc...
A) Weightless? Nah, it’s the complete opposite. Players have a real physicality and sense of momentum about them, although movement feels a lot less organic than FIFA 11. Regarding the commentary, chants and general atmosphere, well, they’re pretty much the same as always at the moment. In other words, repetitive and a bit rubbish. Although thankfully, Mark Lawrenson has at least been ditched for the slightly more bearable Jim Beglin.
And the scolding hot question on Aran ‘Jonty’ Suddi, blasteruk and Anchovy Fillets fingertips is whether or not this year’s PES is better than FIFA 11? Well, we’ve played a lot more of FIFA preview code than PES so far, so we can’t make a definitive statement. But at the moment, EA’s title certainly looks the more accessible, exhaustive, and crucially fun, footie game.
Above: Albeit pretty clunky freedom
What footie game, if any, are you planning on buying this year? Do you think there's still room for both PES and FIFA in the market? Are you a PES diehard still clinging onto the hope that the series can rediscover its former glories? Share your semi ranting thoughts in the comments section below.
August 12, 2010