Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Adam Riley 25.03.2011 8

Review for Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D on Nintendo 3DS

The Pro Evolution Soccer series has been the No. 2 selling football release for many years now, but launching on Nintendo 3DS gives it an open playing field with FIFA 3D only mooted by retailers at the moment, pending an official announcement from Electronic Arts. According to the producers of Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, this is the first time the series has ever graced the launch of a system, which is a technicality as Konami’s football history shows that International Superstar Soccer 2 landed at the beginning of the GameCube’s life in Europe. However, the difference comes in the form of the teams that worked on the duo of football-related arcade simulations.

Pro Evolution Soccer has remained a veritable piece of classy software for many years now, usurping the excellent International Superstar Soccer titles from Major A to the point where Konami decided to retire that initial brand and focus on what had been seen as the underdog back in the days of the PlayStation. Other than the Wii efforts that introduced the superb motion control mechanic whereby off-the-ball footballers could be directed using the Wii Remote’s Infra-Red pointer to literally draw their path for strategic runs, the other home console iterations have retained a strong sense of familiarity that has kept fans satiated for more than a decade. What has Konami brought to the table for Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, though?

To start with, the basics of every other entry are back, albeit in a somewhat stripped down fashion. Those picking up Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D must realise from the off that this will remain one of the strongest football releases until the inevitable 2012 edition later in the year, but it lacks any online multiplayer (despite Pro Evolution Soccer 6 on DS including such a feature), and certainly gives off the air of being Pro Evolution Soccer Lite, with no training modes, for instance, and particular elements appearing to not be quite as ironed out as you would imagine; slowdown can rear its ugly head during some camera positions and the way the lower touch-screen is used is hardly user-friendly to say the least (having on-the-fly tactics, the radar and player data all crammed into tiny areas of the screen makes viewing anything clearly quite awkward).

Screenshot for Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D on Nintendo 3DS

Never fear, though, as the close controls, fancy player moves, atmospheric crowd chants, strong soundtrack with fully licensed songs, UEFA Champions League branding, in-depth commentary from Jon Champion and coverage from Jim Beglin, as well as the highly detailed visuals with stunning real-life facial recreation, are all present and correct. The Circle Pad works delightfully with the action as well, giving an advantage over the two versions that appeared on the Nintendo DS immediately, yet there are times when the controls in general can feel slightly cramped when trying to pull off every single special step-over, one-two pass, and piece of trickery assigned to numerous button press and Circle Pad pushes combined. The main draw of this new version, however, is not particularly how it plays so similar to its home console big brothers, but is definitely more about how the introduction of 3D, whilst not an obligatory feature, is without a shadow of a doubt the key reason for at least giving this tweaked arcade football title a try.

Rather than keep the bog-standard camera views of old, Konami has attempted to craft specific viewpoints for Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D that are hoped to take full advantage of the Nintendo 3DS’ parallax image trickery that adds a whole new level of depth to a tried-and-tested formula. The default option is the much-talked about ‘Player Cam,’ which has never been a popular choice to begin with, and works to a degree here, yet still does not quite give the best viewing angle required for accurate passing and defending. The over-the-shoulder start-up camera position looks stunningly impressive from a 3D point of view, but results in a considerable amount of spinning as the camera continuously attempts to re-position itself around to the back of the current player when switching from one team-mate to another, something that can lead to terrible headaches in the long-term, as well as cheap goals from the opposition. It inadvertently adds to the difficulty level, yet not in a challenging manner, more the fact that it is tough to defend once the ball has been lost, meaning close attention must be made to the radar on the lower screen that is in itself frustrating due to being even tinier than in past releases.

Screenshot for Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D on Nintendo 3DS

The other four camera positions included are ‘Normal Close,’ which brings the view far too close to the action so that barely anything else can be seen unless right in your personal space; ‘Vertical Wide,’ which conveys a superb sense of 3D, and always has your team playing towards the top of the screen in both the first and second half as it would have been nigh on impossible to shoot without pure guesswork otherwise; ‘Wide,’ is the perfect view that most players are familiar with and will naturally want to revert to. 3D does not really add much to this particular viewpoint, but for anyone feeling rather uncomfortable with ‘new’ styles, as many did with the changes for the Wii versions, this touch of ‘safety’ will definitely appeal. Finally, there is ‘Vertical Close’ that looks fantastic and shows off the impressively detailed character models, all with the intricately mapped faces that look amazingly similar to their real-life counterparts (unlike FIFA’s hideous monsters). However, the action is far too close most of the time, making any defending actions very difficult and invites some slowdown in when too many players appear on the screen at once.

On the gameplay side, a large sector of the video game football community began to criticise Pro Evolution Soccer in recent years for not changing its spots, so Konami brought in a more realistic ball control, passing and shooting. Whereas in the past even the most wayward of balls would magically stick to another team member’s foot like some mystery magnetic force was at play, in recent years the game has relied on the user accurately directing passes and aiming shots with a great degree of accuracy. What happened when these changes were implemented? There was uproar from Pro Evolution Soccer veterans, claiming the controls were now too loose. Anyone a little unsure about this 3D version should know that the ball-control skill of players remains loose to an extent, and when that next dead-cert in front of goal shot becomes a near-miss for the tenth time, it is not the game’s fault, it is that of the player. The 3DS Circle Pad gives a high level of player control, so there are no excuses for embarrassing mistakes after some practice.

Screenshot for Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D on Nintendo 3DS

In the end, the more you play Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, the more you become absorbed in the fun factor of Konami’s classy series, and enthusiasts will eagerly snap up the chance to use the edit function to update any incorrectly named players, teams, leagues and even stadia. Content-wise, there are six stadia to play in, ten leagues to participate in, 60 national clubs to choose from, and 170 league clubs available (ranging from England, France, Italy, Holland, Spain and a batch of hand-picked teams from elsewhere in the world). The Exhibition mode allows for a quick one-player match, Champions League is the normal European cup run, and the Master League permits the building of your own personal team that can later be registered via StreetPass so that players can have matches against each other, only finding out the results later at home.

Be it the creation of your team in StreetPass on the Master League, playing through the five difficulty levels on offer, or getting to grips with the superbly realistic motions of players, the impressive quick player switching and amazing visuals, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D may have let some down due to its lack of online features or four-player wireless play, but it will definitely keep Nintendo 3DS owners eager for some football action more than happy. The only fear is that people sinking money into this 2011 version are going to be somewhat stung if, as predicted, Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 3D comes out towards the end of the year.

Screenshot for Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D is definitely a good start for the series, and plays a highly enjoyable game of football. However, some slowdown, missing options and other minor drawbacks highlight that perhaps a bit more care and attention would have made this a far better product. Football fans desperate for some 3DS sports action will find a game that plays as well as its big brothers, yet must be warned that this is definitely akin to a ‘light’ edition.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (4 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Any footy fans pick this up alongside their 3DS? It plays a really good game, but just seems a bit stripped down to make it a launch title.

Hasn't stopped me having great fun with it, though, and it's miles better than the two DS versions.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

its a good game but did need more stuff

Uroboros Locke said:
its a good game but did need more stuff

Exactly - when I first started playing, I was SO disappointed. It was only after several hours of working through the Champions League and Master League that I really started to enjoy myself properly since there are no football alternatives available on 3DS right now.

I know FIFA 3D is coming, but we don't have any details on it yet, nor a confirmed release date, so PES3D is pretty damn good considering its the only game out there at the moment. Just think, we could have had Real Football from Gameloft... Smilie

( Edited 26.03.2011 01:08 by jesusraz )

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
George (guest) 26.03.2011#4

I thought the actual gameplay was very good; on the DS version, I found that players didn't always run in exactly the right directions. However, thanks to the new analogue stick (forgotten its name - thumb pad or something like that?) controlling players is much easier and much more precise.

I do agree with everyone about the lack of features though.

It's still one of the better launch titles in my opinion though. It'll keep me going until Mario Kart, Paper Mario, OoT 3D and Skyward Sword come out though.

You're very right. I liked the two DS games, but there were extremely limited. I always felt Konami should have just ported something like ISS '98 from the N64 across...that would have been better.

Totally agree that it's one of the better launch games, despite the lack of features. There is still enough to play around with for a couple of months until Zelda, Steel Diver, Dead or Alive, etc arrive in Europe. I'm quite looking forward to James Noir's Hollywood Crimes as well. I have Rabbids for review, which is a pretty decent platform game to look out for, by the way...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
Rafay (guest) 27.03.2011#6

So should I buy it or not? My decision is in your hands Smilie

AdamC3 (guest) 27.03.2011#7

Find it for £20-25 if possible and then if you can live without online matches and the fact that two-player multiplayer requires two cartridges, then definitely buy it, or else you'll be footy starved until later in the year, with no guarantee that FIFA 3D will be any good.

Anyone that buys this, be sure to let us know your thoughts on the game Smilie It'd be good to get some wide ranging feedback Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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