PREVIEW: Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3DS (Nintendo 3DS)

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Much like the Wii versions, PES’ debut on the 3DS sees Konami commendably make full use of the console’s unique features.

Pitched as the first ever 3D footy game, Konami appear to have taken a note out of Sky TV’s book.

The satellite broadcaster uses different camera angles for its 3D TV broadcasts of the beautiful game than those used for its standard broadcasts to make better use of the extra dimension. Konami are using a similar tactic for Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3DS with the game featuring an over your player’s shoulder viewpoint for the action rather than the de rigueur, side-on-and- slightly above view that most footy gamers will be accustomed to. There’s a strong whiff of FIFA’s recent “Be a Pro” modes about the proceedings.

After playing through an exhibition match demo between Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, we came away thinking that while there’s no doubt the 3D effect coupled with the new angle certainly adds a certain level of extra immersion, the viewpoint does bring with it some problems.

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When with the ball at your feet it all feels great. You’re closer to the action and it does feel somewhat more exciting as you bear down on goal. Through-balls and long distance shots really benefit as you feel yourself willing them to reach their intended target in the distance.

However, when not in control of the ball, you’re also ultimately not in control of which way the camera faces, meaning if your opponent starts pinging balls around quickly, or floats a ball over your defence, it’s very easy to lose your bearings.

The tight player-cam makes awareness of where other players are difficult too.There was no HUD or an option for a player radar display that we could see. It makes sense not to have one on the main screen to keep the action clean, but the lower touchscreen wasn’t in use during the demo, which seems an oversight as it would be ideal for this usage.

It’s particularly frustrating when you’re in possession and you’re looking to spread the play. Hopefully this won’t be an issue when the game is eventually released as the game otherwise impressed.

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While some PES purists will be against the lightening pace of matches, we quite liked the breakneck Premiership tempo of games that were definitely up a notch from regular PES standards.

Graphically, the game acts as a pretty decent calling card for Nintendo’s new plaything. Player likenesses were top draw, with the likes of lanky Gerard Pique and short-arse magician Lionel Messi being immediately recognisable.

From what we can gather there’s somewhat surprisingly no online option on offer, leaving multiplayer functionality to one-on-one local wireless matches.

We are, however, promised that the finished game will give players the option of taking control of 60 National and 170 club sides, along with a range of different tournaments and leagues to take part in.

Click here for more Nintendo 3DS launch coverage

Gerald Lynch