Game Review

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

A decent first touch

While the 3DS launch line-up is full of old territory being retrodden, Konami's got itself a bona fide first: the world's first three-dimensional football game. Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D makes a decent run at goal but sadly fluffs its chances in the dying minutes.

For starters, the game is disappointingly feature-light: there's no training mode and no online play, although the local wireless and StreetPass modes are welcome additions, but more about them later. The game is mostly a solo pursuit then, with exhibition, Champions League and Master League play modes to sink your teeth into, as well as the ability to edit team names and player attributes, though disappointingly there's no way to create your own player or team from scratch.

When you take your team out onto the pitch, it becomes easier to forgive these omissions. Graphically the game is superb: animation is excellent, player likenesses are well crafted and it runs at a slick pace overall, though there are noticeable frame rate drops during goal celebrations. The default Player View camera shows off the 3D nicely, spinning around the pitch to track the player you're controlling, but while it looks nice in full attacking flow it leaves a lot to be desired in defensive mode, feeling like a first step into 3D that we may not see again. There are four other camera settings, all of which work far better, so it's worth changing the option to your liking.

Sound is generally good too, with some pleasingly clear and realistic commentary accompanying the action, though we would have liked a bit more of it. Crowd cheers, boos and whistles are all present as you'd expect, and the menu music is appropriately menu music.

The Pro Evo series is renowned for its realism and depth of control, and this 3DS version is no exception. Artificial intelligence is good on both sides, with players making clever runs and defences organising themselves well. Konami have managed to cram most of the advanced controls into the tiny 3DS cartridge, with skill moves, one-two passing, complex set pieces and more, although the lack of a training mode is felt here. The game handles well, although it's worth pointing out that despite the Circle Pad's 360º control, players in Pro Evo prefer to stick to 8 directions.

There's no doubting the game's quality on the pitch, but what it really needed is more to do. The Champions League is accurate, but there are no general League or Cup competitions to take part in, so you'll spend most of your time in Master League mode. Here you take control of a team and aim to dominate over several seasons in a vaguely player-manager style, but again it's lacking: there's no specific training for players for example, meaning all you can do is attempt to sell or sign players — during the right in-game period, that is — and play the next match. This mode makes use of StreetPass to play out matches using your Master League team, opening up new teams and players, if that tickles your fancy.


Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D nails the on-pitch action but lets itself down with a limited feature set. If you absolutely have to have a kick about in 3D this is currently your only option as the world's first 3D football game, but be aware of all the missteps such a title carries with it.

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User Comments (15)



Kid_A said:

Sheesh, another bummer. There's definitely a case of launch-title-itis going on, it seems. Generally solid games let down by a lack of content appears to be the running theme.



Nani-ka said:

Damn... was thinking about taking this as my second title...
Guess I'll have to wait for Zelda, Kid Icarus and Mario =P



6ch6ris6 said:

hm i didnt found any camera options while i was testing it in a store.

i think i will wait till 2012. maybe that version will be better.



Mars said:

I think this title should score a 7, at minimum, considering its fundamentals are intact. IMO, it's one of the best 3DS launch titles.



SilverBaretta said:

Hmm, it does seem like the gameplay is all there and pretty solid, but once again, there isn't a lot to it. Nice review, James.



Retro_on_theGo said:

My cousin loves football games so I bet he would like this. The 3D would make him forget about no multiplayer. I'd rather hold out for a better game though.



jkgatling said:

I will get this anyway, seems like a solid game thats good for taking with you, I can live without online multiplayer, since there seems to be local multiplayer (?) i'd rather play that anyway...



James said:

@Billy-Beauts Not a huge football fan but I've reviewed plenty of other football games in the past — Real Football DSiWare x 2, Academy of Champions, FIFA World Cup 2010 and Pro Evo 2008 on Wii — so I have got some experience in football games

Like I say in the review, this is a good game of football, but the asking price is just too high considering the amount of content, that's all.




Super Monkey Ball and Pilotwings lacked content but are still superb games. This had no "evolution" over previous annually updated titles. The 3D replays are awesome though. I don't own, but have played it. Thinks its about a 7/10 tbh.

Good review by James



James said:

I think we'll see an update of this much sooner than any other launch title, so it's worth bearing in mind PES 2012 will likely outstrip this. Give me more to do Konami and I'll gladly give the next game a higher score!



Weskerb said:

I have PES 2011 on the psp and I've read in other reviews that this game is the same, but with 3D obviously and not all the same game modes.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as what we grew to love on the PS2, unlike PES on the HD consoles, which has evolved into something different. For people who really enjoyed PES on the PS2 and really got into the Master League game mode ( which is too addictive for one's own good), I don't think they can't go wrong with this. It's a very solid game of football, and though it only got a 6/10 wouldn't you say it's the best football game on a handheld that money can buy?



jerryo said:

This sounds like a great game. everywhere i read that controls are solid likeness great, graphics and animation awesome.. what if we can't play online or able to create our own team from scratch? does this justify a 6? I would think about 7.5

Edit after buying and playing the game:
there are ways to rename players and teams. there are camera options. (the naming of menu features is horrible) and lack of online is not a problem. BUT the features overall aren't that great. The AI of the home team is not the smartest i've seen; makes the game quite tough to play, and combined with the staple crappy menus and iOS graphics quality, as well as the commentators being a tad boring, repetitive, make a 6 quite justified.

I remember EA's FIFA when DS had come out being of higher quality. with better music and snappier more fun gameplay.



Supremeist said:

Not a big soccer fan, or a soccer 'game' fan either, so a definite pass.

Good review though.

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