There really is little point in comparing the Pro Evolution Soccer series to EA’s FIFA titles these days. The balance has swung heavily in favour of the EA franchise, leaving PES in a secure second place.
That said, the Pro Evo franchise does have a great many fans, who are rabidly loyal. But until PES makes some improvements to some of it’s dynamics and ideas, it will play second fiddle to FIFA for the foreseeable future.
Konami more than likely know this and, if the latest Pro Evolution Soccer title is anything to go by, they’re going to try and give FIFA a run for its money.
Compared to FIFA, the title still has a way to go. But compared to the previous PES game, it has come quite a way towards becoming a serious contender again. Back in the day, that’s the status it had, and the competition between the two rivals was much more fierce. A few slips in the past, though, saw PES relegated to its current position; something that Konami seems set on turning around.
The major difference that fans of PES will see in Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 related directly to refinements that the developers have built into the control scheme.
The ‘intuitive’ passing system that was used before resulted in the ball always finding a player, but it also meant that the game dictated much of its own pace. That won’t happen anymore, thanks to a new passing system that combines direction and power. The player will now have to be much more precise with passing if they want to keep the game flowing.
This is a much better approach in terms of realism, but getting used to it will result in more than a little frustration as the player under- or over-passes the ball. Still, it’s a step in the right direction, and the positioning of the powerbar just over each on-screen player’s head makes it a bit easier.
Another overhaul has come about in the graphics department. Player likenesses, for example, are much better than before, and the physicality of the game, from jostling to fighting for headers, is heightened. This even comes into the realistic aspect of players following the ball with their eyes during replays and the like. Sadly, the added physicality have made fouls even easier to commit in this title, which is a step backwards.
Additionally, there are new game modes that have been introduced, particularly in the online arena. While they will battle to keep up with FIFA’s new 11 vs 11 online mode, they are still better than before.
But there are other areas in which PES 2010 still needs to pull its socks up to take on EA’s big hitter. Although there are more licensed teams and kits this time around, there are still too few to make much of a difference. While the entire Dutch league is licensed, for example, the English league only has two teams that wear the right colours and have the right names.
The commentary is also weak – it always has been in PES games. This is despite the addition of Jim Beglin (who replaces Mark Lawrenson) to the commentary team.
While PES 2011 shows that the team behind it still have a way to go before they can challenge for the virtual soccer crown, it certainly is a step in the right direction to resurrecting the franchises fortunes.
Fans will certainly love it, but fence-sitters may well opt for EA’s offering this year.
- Xbox 360