Pro Evolution Soccer Continues Tradition of Excellence

PES 2011 gives FIFA Soccer 11 a run for its money.

PES 2011 gives FIFA Soccer 11 a run for its money.

Everybody knows Konami’s Winning Eleven series was pure brilliance. Well we now have a modern counterpart with PES 2011, one of the most realistic and fluid games to date. It is a legitimate competitor to EA Sports and FIFA Soccer 11, which has gotten a bit of a head start with an earlier launch date.

Choosing PES 2011 or FIFA 11 comes down to some simple choices. Do you want to play in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League? Do you have any interest in South America’s Copa Santander Libertadores? Many would answer yes to both and PES 2011 is the only game to exclusively feature all three.

Menus are easy to navigate and the music is original and quite refreshing. Opening sequences are breathtaking as the stadium environments and player appearances are simply amazing. It feels like you are watching a real game in HD, but guess what you get to control the players. PES gets major style points in the visuals department.

Gameplay has always been a strong point for Pro Evo and this year further tweaks have made play even more crisp and clean. Control over players feels very natural and responsive. There is no lag in movement and the pacing and speed of play feels about right. “Total Control” gives you an added touch on the ball, which lends itself to a more realistic gaming experience. It takes a few minutes to get used to, but it is an excellent way of replicating real-life action on the pitch.

PES has beefed up its online presence, especially in the area of the always popular Master League mode. Online play has become a necessity and a priority for most gamers and Konami has risen to the challenge in this area as well.

Master League is consistently one of the better features and this year’s edition is no exception. It is my favorite mode of play, one that blows FIFA 11 out of the water in terms of options and depth. It is almost like rolling Sega’s Football Manager into a console game. The result is a wickedly good time spent off the field. Now you can take that mentality online to compete against other fanatics.

The only knock against Pro Evo is its lack of licensed teams and players. Konami has made great strides in this regard, but it still lags seriously behind. Don’t expect to play in MLS or the A-League with PES 2011; it is not going to happen.

In closing, the positives surrounding Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 far outweigh any negatives critics may find. Simply put, watch out EA Sports and FIFA Soccer 11: PES 2011 for PS3 and XBOX 360 is available in stores now!

Stop by the Bothwell Cup in Canton, Ohio this weekend for your chance to win one of two copies of PES 2010 for the XBOX 360.  Win a great game and see thousands of youth soccer players and fans at the Diamond Sports Complex, home of the Concave Sports National Soccer Combine.

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