Football doesn’t seem like a very complicated sport. Yet, anybody who follows the game religiously will insist there is a lot more going on inside (and on top of) Wayne Rooney’s head than you might think. Hard as that is to believe.
The original Android edition of PES 2011 suffered from the absence of this complexity, with a very basic control scheme and simplistic gameplay contributing to a metaphorical wayward pass or two. It’s good, then, to see Konami address these issues in this Xperia Play version of its popular footballing franchise, even if a few other imperfections remain.
On the mode again
It's a football game. You all know how that works by now. PES 2011's game modes cover friendlies, training, international cup tournaments, the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League competitions, and all the rest.
PES 2011 doesn't add any fluff or mess with the accepted norms of the genre. It keeps the managerial side of things confined to making substitutions or deciding formation, rather than clipping on a Manager mode like a lot of its competitors.
Although this might be viewed as a missing feature, it’s entirely forgivable, in fact, since the game’s main focus is getting you onto the pitch a.s.a.p. and offering some refined footballing action. In this respect, it puts on a good performance. Most of the time.
All about control
The controls have been expanded to include a load more moves, so that they almost exactly mirror the layout of the console versions'. When attacking, the X button produces a short pass, Circle fires off a long pass, Square generates a shot, and R1 makes you sprint.
There are also options to feign a shot or pull off a backheel pass via the correct combination of buttons. These moves are understandably a little difficult to pull off at first, but with practice they work just fine. In defence it’s a little simpler, with the X button used to apply pressure, Circle to deliver a slide tackle, and L1 to switch between players.
Even though the control scheme has, therefore, been enhanced in the transition to Xperia Play, the slow, plodding nature of the original Android release remains: your players are not always immediately responsive to your instructions, with the touchpad and D-pad both feeling sluggish.
What’s worse is that your own team-mates have this horrible habit of getting in the way and contributing to your ceding possession of the ball. Last line of defence On top of that, the automatic switching between players in defence can be inaccurate at times, often selecting players who are further away from the ball than others.
These complaints aside, PES 2011 is still among the better football titles on Xperia Play. It’s a lot prettier and more mechanically sound than competitors like Real Football 2011 HD.
It can seem a bit stupid and slow on occasions, but at the end of the day it performs well on the field. Like Mr Rooney.