Launching alongside the Nintendo 3DS is Konami’s hit game, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D. Not only is this first football game to support 3D, but it’s also the first football game on the 3DS, giving it a head start on its bitter rival FIFA.
Pro Evolution Soccer has always been a fantastic football simulation, bringing high speed action and a sense of excitement which no other football game has ever managed to compete with. The main thing which has always let Pro Evolution Soccer down is the lack of licensed teams, however over the years, and with the addition of a Champions League mode, this is something which Konami has slowly been rectifying.
The beauty of the 3DS version of Pro Evolution Soccer is that it manages to cram in practically every feature that you will have been used to from the console version, therefore you can play in the Champions League, take your team into the Master League, negotiate for players and even use the edit mode to customise players, teams, stadiums etc, although you can’t create players from scratch. The only real major feature missing is the ability to play online, as instead this is limited to wireless play against another opponent.
One of the major new features of the game is of course the 3D mode, and it’s certainly given the game a unique edge on its competitors. Using the player cam, you view the action from just behind your chosen player and this certainly provides you with your first OMG moment. Looking at the action in this way makes you feel like you are really on the pitch, an arrow points you in the direction of goal, and the view allows you to pick the pass you have always wanted. Attacking the goal in this way is a real joy, unfortunately though defending is not. Due to the nature of the game, as your opponent heads towards your goal, the camera swings around, making judging a tackle and player positions a lot more difficult than it should be. It’s a shame really, because otherwise this view is a real innovation, a truly stunning experience, though we are sure Konami will refine this even more for next year’s version.
Thankfully Konami does provide us with four alternative camera angles in NormalClose, VerticalClose, VerticalWide and Wide. All of these alternatives can utilise the 3D, although to me the best view by far is the Wide view, which is the one most people seem to opt for on the console versions. The Wide view does look great in 3D, giving the player a real sense of the size of the pitch and allowing for your to pick off passes a lot easier than you can using any other camera angle.
So judging from what I have written above, you can guess that Pro Evolution Soccer 3D is pretty much a success in the 3D stakes (despite a few issues), and the same can be said for the visuals. I have to say that this is probably one of the best looking launch games for the 3DS, the on-pitch action is just a joy; it looks fantastic, runs so smoothly and gives a real sense of atmosphere, even with the 3D switched off completely.
On the pitch Komani hasn’t changed things one bit, therefore this is still the Pro Evolution Soccer you know and love, with its fast paced action and unpredictable nature. The amount of times I hit the crossbar and post had me tearing my hair out, but that’s what I’ve always loved about PES – the sense of unpredictability, which I feel no other game captures as well as PES does. There is the issue of non-licensed teams and the fact that some of the licensed teams’ player rosters are not up to date, however with the inclusion of the Champions League and the negotiations option in Master League mode, there is least quite a few “real” teams you can use or create if you want to add a sense of realism to proceedings.
Elsewhere on the pitch, Konami has utilised the touch screen to allow players to pick quick strategies (such as counter attack etc), while the match radar also makes its home here. With all the fast paced action taking place on the top screen, you would be forgiven for ignoring the touch screen most of the time, although if you do manage to use it, then it will certainly make winning the match a whole lot easier.
Another feature of the 3DS which Konami has managed to utilise is StreetPass. With this feature turned on, your Master League team can be saved, allowing you to play matches against other players (you pass in the street). This not only plays out automatically, but rewards you with new players and teams, while also giving you a ranking based on how well your team performs. The more matches you play in this way, the better, as there are five leagues for you to progress through.
Personally I think Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D is an absolutely fantastic title, it takes what’s good about the console versions and crams as much of it as possibly into your hands. There are some very disappointing aspects, such as the criminal exclusion of an online mode, overall though, if you are looking for a day one football experience then you certainly will not be disappointed with this offering from Konami.
You can purchase your copy of PES 3D here.