(GameGuideDog’s look at 2010 Games in review):
For fairly obvious reasons, we’ve never had a problem with a score system that marks games out of 10. It’s generally a fairly logical way to convey a game’s merits after prolonged play, and it’s a system that leaves you enough flex to reward a game that may have flaws but you still can’t help but warm to.
That said, it’d certainly help draw a differential between PES 2011 and FIFA 11 if we went for a scoring system out of 100, though. It’s fair to point out from the off that FIFA is tad better game. PES has made more inroads, as we’ll be discovering, yet it’s the little nuances that lifts EA’s game over Konami’s. The extra intelligence that the AI-controlled players show, for instance; the more rounded, less-cartoony career mode/Master League; and, perhaps more importantly, the feeling that FIFA is a game that’s going to last you longer gives EA’s footie game the edge.
What are you up to? Are you playing FIFA or PES 2011?
Yet, despite the fact that we’ve greeted the last three PES releases with disappointment, we can’t help but conclude that Konami has finally taken a sizeable step in the right direction here. It feels, at last, as if someone has been listening to the assorted problems people have raised in recent years, and even more crucially, has done something about it. Take the instantly recognisable improvement from last year: the match action has been slowed to a better pace. Konami has balanced it very well, offering enough energy to get some You now have time to stop with the ball, and perhaps try and take it in a different direction.
It’s also toned down the effectiveness of dribbling, and shots from star strikers, to a welcome degree. The shooting has gone a little too far the other way with less competent players, and we’d hate to be seated in row Z
behind the goal. And with the good players, you still can’t help but wonder if they’re a little too influential in the grand scheme of things. But at least they’re at a point where there’s an argument that they’re at their natural level.
It’s easier, on the whole, in PES to put a cross into the box, and the game suffers a little by the through ball being quite so effective once you’ve got the hang of it. But these aren’t massive problems, as it turns out, and don’t detract from an entertaining game of football. The whole game appears to have been glossed up, too. The graphics have been tidied, the commentary doesn’t seem quite so repetitive, and the menu system is less gimmicky and more On the pitch, too, there’s been a further change, and this is where the game is likely to be at its most divisive.
For if you hike the difficulty level up to the higher echelons, the promised changes in the game’s passing mechanism become apparent. No more is it okay to just press a button and expect the ball to magically appear at the feet of another player. Manual passing control takes on far greater prominence here (at most levels of the game, in fact), and it really does take quite a lot of learning. Of course, in the long run it also allows you more control over the action, but it does force you to unlearn the way of playing that you may currently be familiar with.
On lower levels, passing help is still at hand (and certainly in the shorter-term we had more fun with the game when we knocked the difficulty down). But overall, it’s clear that Konami has taken a gamble here and pretty much got away with it. The bottom line on the pitch is that it feels more coherent, more involving and generally more entertaining. It’s still got preoblems, and it does still feel like a slightly simpler version of FIFA (which is still, arguably, the more strategic of the two games, although the step-in tackle is far less effective in PES than EA’s game, and that’s probably a good thing). Yet it’s also the most enjoyable game of PES to play in quite some years.
Off the pitch, the game really could use some of the work that EA puts in. There is an abundance of tournament options to be fair, as usual with unofficial team names on the whole. But the Master League, once an option guaranteed to rob months of your life, really feels like it’s falling behind. Granted, Konami keeps adding more to it. It’s tightened the transfer system for starters, still relying on scouts to do negotiating (which can take a while, and is a mite frustrating). It’s also done some work on the presentation of things (although again, some are going to like that more than others). Yet the backend still feels a little bit pretend. FIFA goes the extra distance to make all of this stuff feel as involved and real as possible, whereas PES is content to pop up a picture of a physio and tell us a player is out injured. It just feels less serious.
Granted, the Master League is still engrossing to play, and we did feel more inclined to battle our way through it than in recent years. But while we’ve always been able to see past the unofficial names, everything else should surely feel a little more real than it does this time around. gaming franchise that’s been in trouble for some time, that finally feels like time has been taken to put it on the right track, and most certainly warrants a recommendation. There are still warts, and not everything has been fixed. But there are ideas here, there’s progress, and most of all, there’s a quality game of football waiting to be played. FIFA is better… but it’s close, really close.
GameGuideDog gives this title a 3 out of 5!