I have been pestering the kind folk at Konami in the hope to play some sort of build of the game, thankfully I was informed by Steve it was indeed the latest build of the game!

Now if you want to know anything you don’t already about the menu’s then feel free to ask but I didn’t spend much time with them, instead choosing to goto an exhibition match, picking my beloved (but at this time beloathed) Merseyside Blue against Fat Sam’s team Lancashire.

First thing was the camera panning back and you will be pleased to know I wasn’t having any of the tracking issues I found during fast exchanges, the reason, it was on Wide cam, fear not, it is there!

Another thing that struck me immediately was the true 360 movement, it may have just been me not used to the PS3 pad for this game fully as I spend most of my gaming time with the Xbox pad, it was very difficult to stay in a straight line, I pointed this out straight away to Steve.

Secondly after passing the ball about there does not seem to be that remote control ball to foot curl I noticed at times in the beta, an almost artificial assistance that ensured short passes would find their man, short passes appear just like old with the added control of the power and angle should you wish to play the ball in space, passing seems less powered than the beta, you can easily underhit the pass and also what some considered to be an exploit which was to free the striker with one full powered pass down the centre never happened once, you can hit him but it was far less powerful on full power and the defenders were positioned correctly anyway.

The worrying issue was I won my first game very easily, breezing past players, AI standing off and could easily shoot from outside the box, I even scored a soft goal from outside the box with Cahill as my first goal, but I wasn’t impressed, the good thing though was that the difficulty was on Regular, so changed that right away, was going to show off and go straight to Top Player but decided against it as Professional (4 stars of old) always eased me in without letting me exploit it, the change was immediate the following game as long shots were charged down easily when I was not making space and they have a new urgency when attacking your goal, but I was still doing well enough to scrape by one goal advantages.

Decided to start a new Master League with Merseyside Blue, had a look at the default tactics, said I was a “Long Ball” team, I agreed and set to play with the default formation, was held to a scrappy 0-0 draw by Middlebrook, second game was away to Man United, took the lead with a Saha header from a corner and held my own, but they always score and they did again, then in the final minute Cahill headed in a cross from close range to get me the win, I know it sounds a little far fetched but bear in mind my new found optimism that I was awesome was chopped down when I failed to win any of the 3 following games, ah just like old times!

Now let me talk a little of what I think is the best part of the game, the animations, I could not see one recycled movement from 2010, every replay up close helps you understand as well, the sense of weight to the players and the way every touch is context sensitive, whether reaching because they know the defender may get there first, ensuring the ball does not go out of play (which was a massive problem in the beta), even the shooting which I criticized earlier in the beta is so realistic in the way they will run onto a loose ball to hit with venom or planting a foot to gain more accuracy in a tight space, I cannot think of any time when I thought a real life player could have taken that differently, the replays just highlight how smooth this all moves, I was looking for faults but could not see any, it just moved so smooth, the unneccessary backheel when a simple side foot pass would have been more effective was toned down as well.

An issue that was in the beta was when a player was tackled he was stunned and could not move out of the stumbling animation, this has been totally fixed and I confirmed it in the replay where my player was tackled from behind but regained his composure before the ball ran out of to play to cross for a headed goal by Cahill, to add to this players are more aware too when the ball is close to going out of play and will make more of an effort to do keep in play.

Goalkeepers are terrific now, commanding their area and not allowing soft near post goals, I only scored one long range goal and one moment when I thought the goalie was at error I checked the replay and he was wrong footed and could not adjust in time, just like real life, and they also come off their line when the situation demands it, due to the feedback from the beta I wonder if they may have been made too good, but time will tell.

I was critical of the new defending system but more time with this and I found it useful, gave away quite a few fouls by sticking a leg in too early but did manage to block and intercept a few times, it will be something to master over four weeks not four hours though.

Trick wise I did not have the rainbow flick in my preset tricks so honestly could not try this to see if it has been remedied in time, hopefully if it has not then it will be something that can be patched up in time for release, the demo next week you will be able to see this anyway so I am not holding any information back about this.

There are two actual types of tricks too, one set where you are running with the ball and another where you have the ball standing still, the running kind is quite effective if timed correctly, using Cahill I was able to flick the ball with my trailing leg into space to move past two defenders, with the tricks being simple to pull off time will tell if it is too effective, I must say though you can’t just hold L2 and lightly flick the right stick, it needs to be pushed in that direction quite purposefully to register, me being old fashioned does miss the double tap bumper to do feints, square and x pressed in conjunction still does the shot feint but is it used in conjunction with the stick and is less exaggerated too but still does the job when timed right.

One thing I should also point out I never actually messed with any tactics apart from changing formations for a game when I was going through a slump but when I was 1-0 down in a match in the last 10 minutes of the match and my team made a very visible move up the pitch to squeeze the play and push for the equalizer, this was done on its own so I am not sure if it assigned to that team tactically by default or this genuinely happens no matter what but I thought it was an excellent touch and really increased the urgency.

Sound wise the commentary was in there and it is pretty much the same as it has always been but Jim Beglin was more understated than Mark Lawresnson, it was hard to grasp the sound as I was playing this in Steve’s office where he was busy on the phone but one moment which made me laugh out loud was when I had Leighton Baines out wide ready to cross the ball and Jon Champion shouted “ITS HIM!” like he was pointing out a murder suspect to the police!

For my last two games before leaving I tried the Copa Libertadores mode, whereas the main menu’s in the normal game modes are dark backgrounds with pictures of Messi and your team in ML mode the Copa Libertadores is bright and warm, a white background with an orange/red swirl through the middle of the screen and of course some south american music to accompany this.

I had to try my idol’s team from PES’ past Roberto Carlos and Corinthians and you are greeted with a nice cut scene before going into the draw.

Before kick off the change in atmosphere is apparent, it is bright with confetti streaming down, flares in the stands, different advertisement boards and the crows chanting natively.

Once you kick off I felt as if I was in a carnival so proceeded to play it that way using tricks, one-two passing and generally just treating it like an exhibition, my loving moment came however when I was awarded a free kick, I said to Steve I hope it defaults to Carlos…and it did, standing in his own familiar pose took his massive run up and I hit in the corner but the keeper managed to palm it away, whether it was the lower stats of the players it just felt a joy to play and a nice light hearted alternative to the scrap of the Master League where I went 5 games without a win!

I never tried online because there wouldn’t have been anyone to play against so I never ventured onto any menu’s on that side, I did look at the PES shop and looked at some serious and also rather amusing additions to the stadiums from Konami days of old.

There was a couple of small niggles I pointed out, which happened twice was when crossing the ball the cursor selected my man at the back post, but the man that was AI controlled at the front post headed the ball on its own accord, also another slight niggle which happened twice in 17 or so games was an underpowered slightly floaty shot which felt as if the keeper would have had more than enough time to reach actually travelled in the goal, these were not in any way game breaking but I thought I should mention amid all the positivity as you may be thinking I have taken a bung!

Oh and a quick edit, penalties are the same as last year, so it looks like no change for those that hated them, I pointed them to Steve and he quickly sighed “I know”.


To be honest I wasn’t as excited going into the playtest as I could have been, partly due to the MLO beta which I thought provided me with a sufficient overview of what this years game was about and I could have easily waited for the demo which I knew wouldn’t be far away.

What did literally shock me though was how far advanced the final code was compared to the beta, I did not expect them to have the time to achieve what they did, fixing literally every issue I had, I was even happy with the responsiveness of the player dribbling once I mastered this in the beta so I thought that was the way it was going to be but they totally improved that too, now if you press to turn you don’t need to plan it one step ahead, it is instant.

I can honestly say if PES was the game you loved four years ago and walked away (understandably) then this is the game to bring you back, it will demand your patience as always, you will know the amount of dedication to be become good at the game.

The acid test will be in two months time on the forums, are we all still enjoying it, is it too easy once mastered, is there any obvious exploits etc.

If you left the game after losing faith in the series this is the one to bring you back in, give it a chance.



  1. trunker says:

    Great write up, held up against the MLO impressions this is hugely reassuring, stuff like the hollywood ball to split the D, the camera pan fail, defending and shooting, in my MLO feedback I caps locked my complaint about the stumbling animation being over exaggerated – so glad to read that was not necessary 😀 -“totally fixed”?!!! that’s awesome

    “keepers terrific!” best news ever, really encouraged cos I read the MLO impressions and totally agreed so the contrast with this is just clear to see.

    demo can’t come soon enough – good stuff

  2. amz_ali says:

    ur a very nice person ah ur teh best on my twitter 🙂 and i love eevry bit of this (Y)

  3. E_Leg says:

    Is the UEFA Europa League a seperate mode this year?

  4. David says:

    Is the Bug where the Defenders stuck on the Goal Line when the Keeper was out of the Goal fixed? Please answer.

  5. Rogan says:

    Will you be able to change clubs?

  6. fhd says:

    please let there be chelsea fc Licensed

  7. juice10 says:

    Quality review. PES sounds promising. You say true 360 movement but from what ive been hearing PES still doesn’t have it apart from when controlling star players. Is this something Konami changed for the final build?

    I still think it will be Fifa’s year. If only there were no licencing issues and both games could just be judged on gameplay.

    • pesevolves says:

      It felt like 360 movement to me, I am asking others who have played if they can confirm too, I had the Blue Samurai game on the wii and that had 360 movement and this feels like the same angles used, like I said whether it was was just because the PS3 sticks are more lose to than the xbox sticks which I played the beta on I am not sure, but compared to the beta the control felt much more loose, I will be on the demo on Wednesday like the rest of you PS+ users so will try out then and if wrong I apologise 🙂

  8. Diwakar says:

    First of all thanks for such a great write up. And I wanna ask if fouls are given now for handling the ball or not?

  9. jotape says:

    Great review! Even though I never lost faith in PES series, I’m a huge fan of the old times and been very disappointed with the last 4, 5 releases.

    This review cheered me up a lot! Thanks mate!
    I’m also eager to taste the Libertadores atmosphere. I’m from Brazil, so I’m used to watch Libertadores as much as Champions League, and I can say that they have very different atmospheres. As said by Diego Lugano, as soon as he arrived at Fenerbahce for his first season there: “Champions League is a glamurous tournament, with the best teams and the best players in the world, Libertadores is war, blood and tears”
    Not to mention the difference in the crowd atmospheres from South America to Europe. I’ve never been in an european stadium, but just by watching by the tv I can say it’s almost the opposite from here.
    I’m glad to see that they gave attention to this kind of detail.

    I’m just curious… Can you play a south-american Master League? With a national championship, national cup and Libertadores, having the chance to face a big european team in the World Club Cup in the end of the year? Or just the traditional Uefa tournaments along with a league of your choice?

    • pesevolves says:

      I didn’t see the South AMerican teams in ML mode, but I just went straight for Merseyside Blue, just a note, the flares in the stands and confetti appear when then teams are coming out and lining up, I did not see flares in the actual playing time.

  10. Miro_Klose says:

    what´s about the referees? and the advantage rule? thx.

    • pesevolves says:

      They give away a load of fouls, especially with me trying to use the new defending system, I also did not see a situation from my knowledge where the ref could have played the rule, so cannot answer that one truthfully.

  11. ISVRaDa says:

    Really nice preview 🙂

    Waiting the demo…

  12. Pingback: PES 2011 - Diskussionsthread | DISKUSSION | UMFRAGEN - Seite 43 - PES DOWNTOWN - Die Pro Evolution Soccer Foren

  13. Jimmy says:

    Hi…is Bilyaletdinovs Face licenced?

  14. Pingback: Top Posts —

  15. jabsin says:

    very nice review

    change the goalkeeper motion?

  16. JAMi3 says:

    Hey, great write up, really can’t wait to play this game. Was just wondering, as a fellow Evertonian which players had preset faces and are they good? Do they have the new signings such as Gueye, Beckford and Joao Silva?

    • pesevolves says:

      Thanks, Beckford was in but the rest weren’t yet, I believe they usally are upto date when you update the game online at release though.
      Pretty much every major player was licensed at Everton, think Jags was still generic though as was Hibbo, but Rodwell is good this year and is Bily, Baines, Arteta, Cahill, Saha, Jonny, Howard.
      In short, you should be very pleased.

  17. shava08 says:

    Great news on the presets! 😀
    Have you noticed any other russian players with new or improved preset faces… beside bilya? 😉
    I really hope Dzagoev has one!

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  19. pesWe says:

    can you still pass the whole team with a player like quaresma, cristiano or messi??

    • pesevolves says:

      I didn’t try it to be honest, dribbling is alot better and possibly easier because of all the new angles you have but the game never gave me anything cheap, I am sure when the great players have alot of time with the game you will see alot of good runs.

  20. pesWe says:

    i have a question, is the ML a separate mode from MLO, or there is only MLO?? i know its a stupid question but have to know that

  21. CactusJack says:

    Terrific preview! You said your concern was the game was too easy;
    Did you find the AI more aggressive this time round or are they still ping-ponging
    like PES2010? Are they actually attacking?

    Also even though you’re good, did you notice a step up in difficulty when you pumped
    up the settings?


    • pesevolves says:

      For me Regular level was too easy, but it might be because I hammered the beta, on professional they were much more a challenge, I think 0-0 was my most common result to be honest, attacking wise I had to watch a couple of goals the AI scored as they were excellent, one was a through pass to the forward, he actually did feint to wrong foot the defender and slide it past the oncoming keeper, if you are playing the demo I think a lot of people will be watching the replays loads as you notice the smaller details that way.

  22. Tuananh says:

    thanks for the great review ! 🙂

    – Does the ball physic look real? In the beta, I think the ball is a little bit weighty. I fell that ball is “pulled back” when made a through ball (if you know what i mean)
    – header is as easy as last year?
    – non-star players have true 360 movement?

    • pesevolves says:

      No problem 🙂

      I know what you mean by the ball in the beta, moving superfast then slowing down, on this the speed of the ball from being kicked seems to have been reduced slightly making it look less on a string
      I scored a couple of headers with Cahill but that is what he does, otherwise hard to say, the AI scored a bullet header from a corner against me though.
      The movement feels 360 for everyone as far as I could tell, I will try in the demo tomorrow, would be interested in peoples thoughts after playing the demo and the beta,

  23. Paul says:

    Great Preview! I have really high hopes for this year.

    I bought Fifa last year and ditched it after 3 days, can’t wait to play a on form PES again.

  24. jabsin says:

    LATEST BUILD = demo??

    please answers

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