The revelation that Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D would find a home in Europe during the 3DS's launch period was no surprise to some, but the major part it played in Nintendo's conference showed the two companies obviously have big plans for the game's role in the 3DS launch. Our hands-on time with the world's first 3D football game left us with mixed feelings, however.
For starters, let's deal with the good: this is a genuine Pro Evolution experience, with licensed players, teams and the Champions League, and the series' famous Master League mode that utilises StreetPass to pit team against team while on the move.
Players are well-detailed and animate extremely well, and the presentation is, as always, excellent. Player control using the Circle Pad is far superior to using the D-Pad as it allows 360º movement, essential for tight dribbles and crucial interceptions, and the button layout will be familiar to anyone who's played a previous Pro Evo game with the option to customise buttons as you see fit.
The biggest addition to the game for this new 3D version is the dynamic Player View camera, a mode that tracks the currently controlled player to maximise the 3D's impact. When attacking forward this viewpoint was fluid and engaging as play moved down the pitch, but when defending it became disorienting as the camera rotated around the players as you tried to track the ball. Perhaps with time and experience it will feel more natural, but our initial reaction was mixed. Although it wasn't available in this demo, there is a standard television-style view available for players who prefer a traditional perspective on things.
The other disappointment comes in the lack of online play for the game, a shame as this feature has been incorporated in previous Pro Evolution titles on the Nintendo DS. There's a decent range of local wireless play modes however, including the aforementioned StreetPass Master League mode, but gamers looking to face off against football fans around the world will be disappointed.