PES 2011 3D (3DS) Review

A new perspective

PES 2011 3D 3DS Review
5th April, 2011 By Ian Morris
Game Info // Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D
Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D Boxart
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Players (local wireless): 1 - 2
Subtitles: Full
Available On: 3DS
Genre: Sports (Football)

For some reason, it doesn't feel right to have a handheld without a football game. Much like Tetris, football games like Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D are a perfect time fill when you're waiting for the bus, or have ten minutes to blow, with the fact it's available on a handheld in your pocket just amping that "one more go" factor exponentially. In fact, we're pretty sure we've got time for a quick game now.

Right. Now that's over, it's time to start talking about the game proper. Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D is the only football game available on the 3DS at launch. It's also looking to be the only football game available for the foreseeable future, or, at least until September time, when we're expecting FIFA to make its 3DS debut - so, if you're the sort of person who never leaves the house without their football scarf, even in the middle of the summer (or should we say "hot weather", seeing as our summer's usually anything but), then PES 3D has likely already found its way into your shopping cart, and into your 3DS.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D Screenshot

The first football game takes to the pitch on the 3DS.

For those who are a bit more on the fence, however, PES 2011 3D still has a lot to offer. Being on a handheld - and a Nintendo one at that - means that games usually have to bring a certain level of accessibility with them, and PES 3D 2011 is no different. With five difficulty levels to choose from, with the lowest, Beginner, meaning the other team barely move around the pitch, it's a game that most people should be able to pick up and play. While there's no interactive tutorial to help you get into the "beautiful game", and some of the terminology on the controls screen may not be much help if you don't really follow football, you should be able to make a decent attempt at it by just sticking to the two buttons you have to use (pass, and shoot). When the time comes, ramping up the difficulty level does seem to make a huge difference to how the game plays, so we found ourselves treading water amongst the lower two, while only occasionally venturing towards the "default" setting, which was actually rather difficult.

In terms of teams, PES 3D 2011 has all the usual niceties you'd expect, with a variety of teams and leagues on offer for you to play with, from Internation sides, to club teams from the major European leagues, and even a few hand picked from the rest of the world. The only minor problem is, due to a licensing issue, where FIFA have the exclusives on many of the teams, some of the names in the English League (represented strangely by a Union Jack), can seem a bit odd. Whether you're having a game between West Midlands City (Birmingham City) and West Midlands Village (Aston Villa), or Tyneside (Newcastle) and East London (West Ham), it can seem a little bit strange to begin with, but unless you're the kind of football nut who demands authenticity from his football games, it won't really make much of a difference once you've managed to figure out which team you want to play as on the match select screen - and the teams all have their correct players, anyway. 

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D Screenshot

Some kits may be missing sponsorship, but you can still tell who they're meant to be.

On the pitch, PES 3D 2011 plays out much like other football games, only, if you've just come from FIFA, you can tell this is a game that takes itself a lot less seriously. While you can still only move in eight directions, which is frustrating, tackles are more forgiving, and you can get away with quite a lot before the ref calls the game to a halt - like on our other perennial favourite, Sensible Soccer. While the control scheme does take some getting used to (an easier scheme, like FIFA's Two Button Mode, or an interactive tutorial would go down a treat), the biggest change to the game comes in the form of the 3D camera - and it's a bit of a mixed bag.

By positioning the camera behind either your player, or the ball (when it's not in your possession), with the 3D slid up to full, yes, there is an impressive sense of depth, and it's certainly a lot easier to tell if your shots have gone wide of the target or not, but... well, there doesn't really seem to be that much point to it, other than making the game look prettier. We're on the fence as to whether it really offers any benefit to the game, especially in light of its flaws. When you get bogged down in midfield, with possession changing hands every few seconds, the camera often gets itself in a bit of a spin - literally - and practically doesn't stop rotating as it tries to get the best angle on the ball - which kind of negates any advantage the 3D would bring in the first place. Thankfully, you can resort to a normal, top down, side-to-side camera, and this works pretty well, despite the players being rather on the small side.

In terms of single player modes, there's plenty to keep you busy here. Holding the official Champions League license, PES 3D 2011 takes full advantage of its main property, by letting you play through a full Champion's League tournament from start to finish. Its other main attraction, the Master League, is a bit tricky for people who don't know (or don't care) about the running of a football team to get into. Starting with your choice of team (it'd be nice if you could make your own), it's up to you to manage the team to victory, taking control of them both on, and off the pitch. Having to manage funds and browse the transfer markets can be more than a little bit intimidating for a new player, so it'd be nice if there was an option to disable it, or bring a manager in, so all you have to focus on is how you play on the pitch.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D Screenshot

Disappointingly, the font in the menus is *tiny*, and rather blurred, making it difficult to read. A few interface changes would be much appreciated for next year's game.

Football games always work best in multiplayer, though, with FIFA on the Wii becoming one of our favourite games due to its riotous co-op multiplayer modes, and here, PES falls down. While it has full multiplayer support for two people to go head to head, it requires you to both have a copy of the game - if this supported download play, not only would it get used a lot more, but it'd also work as a great advertisement for the game. The lack of download play is probably one of the most disappointing parts of the

game. Utilising one of the 3DS's most exciting features, StreetPass, PES 3D 2011 lets you take your customised Master League team out and about with you, who'll then automatically play a game against anyone you meet. While there seems to be little real point to the mode, it's still a fairly entertaining addition - although we're sure it'll grow with future instalments.

While it's admittedly a bit of a let down that the minimum half-length is five minutes, meaning you have to put aside ten minutes, minimum, to play a match from start to end, PES 3D 2011 does still have that pick up and play, one more go style in droves - something that would be even more evident if it let you have shorter halves. With a better multiplayer mode, PES 3D 2011 could have been a must buy. As it stands, it's still recommended, but it's not quite as good as it could easily have been.

Format Reviewed: Nintendo 3DS

StarStarStarHalf starEmpty star
A bit light on features, but enjoyable nonetheless.
  • +
    Accessible football.
  • +
    Less serious than FIFA.
  • +
    One more go feeling.
  • -
    No single-card download play.
  • -
    Tiny text is actually quite hard to read.
  • -
    StreetPass Master League is... strange.
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