PES 2011: Hands-on plus your questions answered

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…

Hands-on thoughts

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

From Twitter

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

From Facebook

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



  • dave1982 - September 16, 2010 11:57 a.m.

    Hi Pesfans. I first got into pes on the playstation 1, ISS 98 started the love for the beautiful game and it continued through to the ps2 versions. Hell i loved it that much i used to get the winning eleven versions in between, so every 6 months there was a new pes waiting to be discovered and i loved it. I then experienced the god awful jump from PS2 to Xbox 360 and i could not believe how they had broken this once amazing game to a broken pile of dross. I have to admit i went over to Fifa at the time of Fifa 09 and stuck with it untill the good world cup 2010 game, I did buy the annual releases of PES but every purchase was met with dissapointment and so back to Fifa i went. I downloaded the newest PES 11 demo last night hoping that following good previews it could capture some of the old magic. Through following all the previews, Millions of Youtube videos and beta playtests, my hopes were high that this was the pes to put the series back on track. At last i can safelly say my faith has been restored. After 12 straight games of Pes 11 i look forward to my pre order more than i have any other pes. I agree it takes a bit of getting used to but at last it feels like an evolution rather than an annual update al la Fifa. Complete controll was promised and boy is it given here. This game will let you craft your own indivudual style of play as a football game should. Fifa doesnt really allow that and Fifa 11 still feels like an update of well Fifa. Players still dont have the weight and presence and i didnt really notice much of the new pro passing or personality they bragged about. Dont get me wrong Fifa plays a good game for the causal gamer but for the hardcore masses that want to play football there way then this years PES is for them. This years pro is the one we should of had in the first place. Its an evolution and a beautiful one at that.
  • philipshaw - August 13, 2010 11:32 a.m.

    I will be getting PES this year because they seem to making a bigger leap than Fifa,the new Fifa just sounds like something that could be done with paid for DLC
  • notthatgoodthanks - August 13, 2010 2:18 a.m.

    @Comassetto How can you say Fifa10 sucked? On what basis did it suck? Year after year you stick with pro evo right? So how would you know really? Anyways...I have played the last 2 incarnations of FIFA and the world cup 2010 fifa too. I used to play PES and wouldn't touch FIFA, it has improved dramtically since 09. It plays sublime football on and offline. I can't ever see PES becoming as good as it used to be, they just haven't got movement right, the passing, shooting and the AI. It's just a bit of a mess, it sounds like they are slowly but surely tightening things up a bit, BUT it still sounds like it needs more work to compete with the competition. By the sounds of things...I'm going to stick with FIFA this year.
  • Comassetto - August 12, 2010 6:57 p.m.

    Damn it!!!! Not again... Not another year of suffering... How long is gonna take for a decent new-gen footie sim to show up? Year after year, I stick with Pro Evo, but I'm starting to wonder how long i'm gonna take all this same old bullshit!? FIFA is no big deal either... yes, Fifa improved a lot, but so what!? It's undeniable: Both actual Fifa and Pro Evo suck! So sad... I was hoping this year to be different though... but, it seems I'm gonna have to wait for the next year again if I want to really get into a quality footie game like in the old days..
  • sternparez - August 12, 2010 6:46 p.m.

    It's distressing you say it still feels 8 directional as I'd heard this had been much improved, but after seeing some of the footage again I'm inclined to believe you.
  • PaulieWaulie - August 12, 2010 6:07 p.m.

    The main reason I traded in Fifa 10 for Pro Evo 2010 aart from the managment glitches was the awful play against the CPU which is how you'll do you season modes. Pro Evo may feel slightly scripted as in the opposition have can have an amazing 5 minutes towards the end of the game but if you're half decent you can soak it up like in real footy. Fifa was awful against the CPU, the rubber banding was terrible like when you've skinned Sol Cambel with Ronaldo but he can out run you no sweat. And how the CPU just ping ponged balls around all the time and could intercept everything. And how I'd get a yellow for a barge on the half way line but I wouldn't even get a penalty why the CPU has synically hacked me down in the area. Every loose ball seemed to fall tp a CPU player and they seemed to be able to stick a toe out to intercept most passes. Fifa was good online and PvP in general but a horrible experience against the CPU. I was a ISS fan oy since the 64 days but after seeing the reviews for both I got Fifa and realised it was just EA money helping the reviews, it was like "Fifa is a bit better than it used to be so instead of 70% will give it 90%. Pro Evo 2010 is most deffinately not without it's faults but it is just so much more fluid and enjoyable (in my opinion). Also Lorro is so amusing as the second cemmentator, just sounds like he's reading a script for the first time and he was just so damn cynical. Much better than listening to that Fat Retard Andy Gray talking about his playing days every single bloody game. Any way, rant over :)
  • SillyPigeon - August 12, 2010 5:20 p.m.

    I was affraid of this. Although I think i will still give it a shot as I haven't bee able to get into the single player with FIFA like i used to with pro evo on PS2. FIFA needs something as engaging as the master league or atleast let you edit team formations, transfer and edit players without it taking 12 years!(only a slight exaggeration)
  • baldy666 - August 12, 2010 4:34 p.m.

    Sorry but how many more years will Konami release this rubbish before people realise it's dead? PES on PS2 was utter brilliance (apart from cheaty AI) but it's what their 4th or 5th game on next-gen and they're still using those horrible last-gen animations. PES always had better facial likenesses yeh, but even that they seem to have messed up as last year every player looked like a heroin addict. Licensing has never been much of an issue for me, but what the heck was the point of Konami spending money to secure the Champon's League and Europa League rights when two thirds of the teams aren't even in the game? What really has annoyed me about PES in the last few years is the rediculous editing system. Not only do you have to go through making every individual transfer (since Konami don't even bother to update the squads for release) but then once you go to play a game, for some strange reason a transfer has caused your opponents to play a rediculous starting lineup. For example, I did Chelsea's transfers and then when I played them they had Anelka in goal and Cech on the left wing. This meant that I had to go through every team changing their squads as well. Sorry if I went off on one but as a former PES addict it's frustrating that they still haven't got their act together. If this year's game really does turn out as bad it sounds I think I will be over PES forever.
  • Xplosive59 - August 12, 2010 3:25 p.m.

    ive never liked Pes thanks to their lack of real world teams and the fact that Fifa is pretty much at the same level as performance now in the way it plays and the tactics side, i do however think that Pes does have better graphics so therefore you can recognise the player easily unlike Fifa which it seems is using an outdated graphics engine
  • pollenski - August 12, 2010 3:04 p.m.

    Been playing since ISS (remember the rainbow kick?) - never had the Jap World Eleven imports, nor a chipped console :( Has Fifa really (maybe) overtaken PES? Last time I played a Fifa game, admittedly 2-3 years ago, it was like playing a multiple choice game of footy with no immediacy from when you pressed a button to when the move was performed. For me PES was always far more tactical and realistic, even if the scripting made it almost impossible to draw out a 1-1 game in the last 5 (HINT*keep possession). Also has anyone else noticed that players play better at their respective 'real-life' positions? eg, me and the other centre back in our team regularly have clean sheets whilst the strikers almost always concede but might score a few more on average? That being said, our right back is almost unbeatable and drubs us all by 3 or more goals.
  • pin316 - August 12, 2010 2:55 p.m.

    @spencerisgod1990 I was always a huge fan of Pro Evo - PES2 was probably my favorite football game of all time considering amount of time on and enjoyment from it...used to hate FIFA as it was just trick-trick-trick-shoot. then had neither for a while (I did get Winning Eleven 6 for the gamecube on import but couldn't get into any detail due to not uunderstanding japanese) - when finally got current gen console I tried both and found roles reversed with FIFA more of a sim and PES more arcadey. I would love to go back to PES as i much prefer the setup of the game, but as long as PES feels ropey with the animations and has stupid scorelines from being easy to score i'll stick with FIFA. PES is still imo a better game conceptually, but the implementation is done poorly compared to FIFA. What i was trying to ask was have they improved on the problems with PES enough so that when compared to last year's FIFA the core mechanics of the game stand up ok? Oh, and also - scripted football/unavoidable goals conceeded - that doesn't sound very simulation-like to me.
  • Games_Radar_DaveMeikleham - August 12, 2010 1:47 p.m.

    @sternparez It's definitely not clunky as hell. The players just occasionally feel a bit stiff... eh, so to speak.
  • sternparez - August 12, 2010 1:41 p.m.

    this makes me sad, still clunky as hell then?
  • spencerisgod1990 - August 12, 2010 1:23 p.m.

    @pin316 PES, since its a grown-ups football game ;) on fifa 10/wc all you need to do is through-ball it towards torres and he scores from any possition on the pitch
  • spencerisgod1990 - August 12, 2010 1:20 p.m.

    this Hands On has'nt really told me anything i dont know about 2011 appart from its still got those cheap, annoying "messi/kaka runs" still not fixxed. pes needs to sort out the cut back passing from those dirty cheats online since it just takes away the joy of playing 2010. i doubt either football game is going to be revultionary this year, both games are adding features included in each others game, Pro+ can also be defined as player cards. sorry for any bad puntuation or spelling mistakes
  • myguyfromthe80s - August 12, 2010 1:13 p.m.

    @LostBoy87 You make a valid and interesting point, I will take your comments on board.
  • LostBoy87 - August 12, 2010 12:50 p.m.

    @Myguyguyfromthe80s mock, yeah ing, yeah Bird, yeah Yeah, Yeah, Mockingbird Everybody have you heard He's going to buy me a mockingbird And if that mockingbird don't sing He's going to buy me a diamond ring
  • myguyfromthe80s - August 12, 2010 12:47 p.m.

    @Games_Radar_DaveMeikleham Thank you please. I apologise if I come across as a person who's played ISS since day one (SNES), but really, Pro will always feel like pro, good or bad. So stating a player can kick a ball into space is not revolutionary in anyway, you will feel it how you feel it, I can't tell whether that's good or not, you may be crap at Pro (well you did say you were moulding Arsenal :)) I await your non Fisher-Price review with baited breath.
  • pin316 - August 12, 2010 12:37 p.m.

    here's a question that would be awesome to get a perspective on... obviously nothing's final as the game is still being tweaked and finished off but, based upon your (realistic) expectations of what will be done in that polishing time, if you ignore factors such as current squads vs last years sqauds and could only choose one, would you choose this year's PES over last year's FIFA?
  • OriginalJonty - August 12, 2010 12:07 p.m.

    It's all about having my name featured in a GR article. Happy days.

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