A Continuing Evolution - Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 - Xbox 360 - www.GameInformer.com
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Pro Evolution Soccer 2011

A Continuing Evolution

One of the undeniable strengths of EA’s FIFA franchise is its use of licenses. Pro Evolution doesn’t have all the leagues, players, and teams of its competitor (even though it has teams like Manchester United and the UEFA Champions League), but never have I felt like it mattered so little. Perhaps out of necessity, this year’s title offers such a complete experience that I don’t dwell as much on what it doesn’t have as much as what it does so well. Instead of being bummed that it doesn’t have Chelsea, I suggest you grab the controller, break a few ankles with some skill moves, revel in the glory you’ve earned on the pitch, and manage your team to the top.

Pro Evolution isn’t perfect in its gameplay and modes, but after a few years of not being able to adjust to the next-gen changeover, the series is finally coming on strong. The Master League returns with a more intuitive interface, the usual transfers, domestic cups, and UEFA Europa/Champions League. Also, unlike FIFA, this game includes week-to-week form for players and the ability to grow them the way you see fit via earned points. I also like that Pro Evo has a youth system, although it’s disappointing that you don’t really play reserve games – you merely sign the best players to your main team. If you want more of the up-and-comer experience, play the Be a Champion mode, where you try to break into the starting lineup. It’s also the only mode in the game that lets you play appearances for your national squad.

This year the Master League also goes online, letting you sign players off the transfer list with currency earned for playing others online. Like most online modes, you can’t avoid some questionable tactics, and it shouldn’t be too hard for players to create a stacked team even if they lose a bunch. There also isn’t player development, so this online mode is more of a nicety than a necessity for you to experience.

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