Nintendo platforms have been kinder to Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer franchise in recent years than any other. For while FIFA has been mopping up the acclaim across PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, it’s been the Wii edition of Pro Evolution Soccer that’s been earning real praise.
Konami has now clearly spotted an opportunity here for the franchise on the 3DS, unleashing the game on launch day for the new console. It’s not a bad fit for it, either. Controlling it via the new thumbpad is a little bit tight for those with hands of size, yet it’s easy enough to adjust. And the game itself scales well to the handheld format.
This does mean it brings some PES-native problems with it. Made up team names is a little bit annoying, and we’re no closer to warming to the clunky transfer system in Master League, either. Furthermore, the supposed stand-out feature of PES 2011 on the 3DS, the 3D itself, is something that you’ll be switching off in double quick time if you’ve got any sense. It enhances the action not one jot, often making it harder to see what’s going on.
It’s when the gimmick is removed, though, that the game is at its best. And while PES still has a few frustrations that keep it at arm’s length from FIFA, this version of the game does take advantage of the added punch of the 3DS in other departments, and it’s really quite satisfying to play. It’s not an outstanding football game, but it is a very good one. And with the extensive options it brings with it, and the ability to pick up action at the precise same point when you open the 3DS’ lid, it’s a fun companion to take on the move.
- PES 2011 plays a mean game of football, and there's lots to do.
- The 3D is distracting, and a waste of space; overpriced.
A quality football game, with a few problems, but one that scales well to Nintendo's new handheld.