Any PES fan from years ago knows that this game has somewhat dramatically dipped since the next gen (ok PES6 was ok, but it still wasn't the massive improvement we expected/wanted). I am one of these, played it since the PS1 days and probably on SEGA if ISS was anything to do with it.
I can remember the amount of hours spent after school meticulously playing through Master League season after season, just so I could make the ultimate team after starting with rubbish, bar of course Castillo, Minanda (Miranda - the names always seem to change slightly) and perhaps Ivarov the GK, how I remember these names I don't know. Think they are just embedded in my subconscious mind from the amount of game hours spent.
Therefore, it's been like a divorce in the last few years where I've unfortunately had to switch sides to FIFA (which has undoubtedly got better) though I still felt obliged to purchase Pro Evo each year.
There's something that FIFA doesn't have and that's the uniqueness of each individual game, each match feels the same, a sunny, bland, drab game (unless you're in a licensed stadium) then you guessed it, a one-on-one goal in the bottom corner after holding the through ball button (this still happens in 11) and I do play it on the highest level.
Therefore, it was to my amazement that reviewers were genuinely liking PES this year. Though 10 did make some improvements it was still lacking a bit. This year is completely different. It's the first PES since PES6 where I actually enjoy playing it and want to continue playing it.
It's finally caught my imagination again, those late minute goals, cracking completely off the cuff goals, then of course the time the AI will bang one in to win 1-0 when you've been dominating all game, even 0-0's can be interesting on this!
The passing is excellent far better than FIFA's as you can actually lose possession on this with fair ease if you misplace passes.
Why the 4 star? I still don't think it's the best it can be and I think it can be improved in some aspects. I'm not talking about licensing/commentary, that never used to bother me years ago so why should it now? I think from the old days even the player names weren't right in the EPL so at least that's there! A few hours in edit mode will sort out all of those problems if you really are that bothered anyway. It's more the keepers being really dumb at times still, they used to be solid back on the original PES at least until PES3 from memory. Also, the animations do look slightly unpolished and unrealistic at times.
I think with a bit of refinement next year this really could be the game that is generally felt as the best footie game on offer again. I thought ever since FIFA went on top they'd ruin it, especially when they'd add features like finesse shots and make a celebration, then make a team celebration, I mean, really that's more key to a football game than improving the gameplay?!
I do own FIFA, I do own Pro. Personally I think Pro Evo nicks it this year simply due to it's individuality in games. No game seems the same, the game is hard (which is good), no more long runs through the team.
Well done to Konami, let's just hope they build on this next year and don't go the way they did with 2008.