Review | PES 2011
It’s a funny old game
Format: PSP | Genre: Sports | Publisher: Konami | Developer: Konami | Release date: 29/10/2010 | Price: £29.99
THE BEAUTIFUL game has looked decidedly ugly in recent weeks, hasn’t it? Whether we’re being treated to snaps of gargoyle Wayne Rooney and his delightful wife lapping up bubbly in Dubai while we’re all falling under the wilful axe of the government’s new spending cuts, or reading of FIFA bosses selling votes, or Youtubing that Nani goal against Tottenham…it’s been enough to give even the most hardened footie nut a sour taste in their mouth. The sport has definitely had a noticeable image problem of late, and although these stories won’t do too much to dent the feverish popularity of our national game, they’re still worth noting.
Regardless of whether the sport is losing credibility and taste, football games are still very big business. FIFA titles maintain a regular position in the charts throughout the year, have gradually improved in quality since the 2007/2008 editions. The franchise’s main competitor, Pro Evolution Soccer, has done quite the opposite; and has lost its reputation as the hardcore kick-a-bout of choice – partly down to minute improvements in the game engine, visuals and general playability over the years. Year in, year out, Seabass and his team at Konami have promised to overhaul the engine, revamp the graphics, and bring players an online experience they deserve; free from lag and slowdown.
However, the annual updates to the Pro Evo titles almost always fail to live up to expectation. The cult following the series once enjoyed has subsequently been seen jumping ship to FIFA, which is now offering a more rounded, ‘professional’ experience – accentuated by fantastic visuals, fully licensed teams, and a great online community. FIFA is hardcore again, but still manages to appeal to the masses. The way the tables have turned on this industry tournament is quite remarkable, and it all comes down to the effort EA have put into making FIFA the more immersive, playable and authentic football experience. That’s why this year, the series has enjoyed midnight openings across the country, and glowing reviews across the board. It’s what the people want, after all.
The whistle has been blown – the annual updates to our two most beloved football game franchises are here again; and while the two titles battle it out for the big bucks on the big consoles, developers have also slipped out portable updates. The subject of this review is the PSP version of Pro Evo 2011, and in terms of offering a decent representation of where Seabass has taken his team this year, it’s as good a platform as any to take a look at. It certainly carries a FIFA aping swagger – the player is greeted by the trendy jangle pop of Vampire Weekend on the game’s title screen, and it’s a slickness resident throughout the game’s comprehensive menu system. The quality of the production on this latest update is clear to be seen, and it resonates onto the pitch itself, the towering stadia and intricately human player animations and likenesses. Visually, this is one of the most realistic portrayals of the game on a portable system – players limber up in the tunnels with more visible tension ever before, and the model Fabregas’ and Messis are quite uncanny in their similarity to real life counterparts. The PSP developers have clearly worked up a sweat to ensure this is a powerful game in terms of visuals, and whilst it obviously doesn’t hold a 60fps candle to its hulking big brothers, it’s still an effectively good looking game. Coming off the back of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker – arguably the best looking game on the system -the animation and level of detail here are still decent.
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