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Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 Review

The beautiful game gets some enhancements

We love it when developers listen to criticism. Most of the time it doesn't happen. People complain that a game's missing a feature or there's a problem with an element of the control system and come the sequel nothing's been done about it. It's almost a case of "well, we can't be bothered fixing it, so deal with it." Not so with Konami and Pro Evolution Soccer 2009. Every single aspect of last year's game that we had a problem with has been fixed. It's one of the most impressive yearly updates we've seen in a sports game.

So what exactly's new? First and foremost, the control system has undergone a much-needed revamp. Whereas last year's PES was clearly an experimental (and mostly successful) attempt at using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to play a football game, this year the controls have been refined to provide a much better experience, particularly when defending.

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Good Ball Control

The problem we had last year was that while using the Remote's pointer for attacking play felt like a huge step forward for football gaming, it felt like defending had taken a similarly huge step back. You could no longer control defenders; only point at them and hope they put a tackle in. This year you can fully control defenders with the analogue stick on the Nunchuk, giving you much more control when it comes to taking on opposing players.

The control improvements aren't limited to defending though. There are also a couple of minor improvements to attacking play. Most notable of these is the ability to now shoot exactly where you want by pointing at the goal and pressing the B button. Naturally, it's not quite as simple as that. The accuracy of the shot depends on your player's shooting ability - but at least you can choose what side of the goal to aim for now; ideal for easily slipping it past the keeper instead of shouting in frustration when your player whacks it straight at him.

Ironically, perhaps the most important control change for us is the addition of Classic Controller support. Much as we love playing the game with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk sometimes we just crave some proper, traditional PES action. Last year this wasn't possible but now every single game mode can be played using the Classic Controller. Ironically, this makes the Wii version of PES 09 the best way of playing PES traditionally this generation, because the Classic Controller's D-pad is

sturdy and comfortable, unlike other consoles' control pads.

So that's the controls sorted but how can they be put to use? Not only does PES have the usual Match, League and Cup modes from the previous edition of the game as well as a modified version of the addictive Champions Road mode (in which you can now build up your team's clubhouse as you progress through the leagues), there's also a new, fully licensed Champions League mode. To all extents and purposes this is really just another tournament with a bit of a makeover to make it look like the Champions League broadcasts you see on TV, but it's still quite exhilarating to hear that music as your players walk onto the pitch.

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A League Of Its Own

Most important of all however is the Nintendo debut of the famous Master League mode. It's basically a player-manager mode where you choose a team filled with no-hopers who are struggling at the bottom division and try to turn them into champions. You do this by winning matches, which in turn earns you points. You can then use these points to buy better players, or can obviously sell your old players for points. There's no better feeling than breaking the bank to buy your first 'proper' player (even if he's someone a bit cheap and past it like Dean Windass), then scoring a goal with them in their debut. We've had some pretty epic Master League campaigns in PES over the years on PS2 (one in particular going as far as the 2032-33 season!) and it's just as addictive on the Wii. To put it simply, PES 2009 has regained Konami the football crown after FIFA '09 All-Play nicked it from under their noses last year. Every niggle and omission from last year's game has been accounted for and dealt with and we really can't think of anything more (other than more licensed teams) that could have been improved on. Online multiplayer is still present, the Edit mode is full and complete this time, players can download the latest transfer information to keep the game up-to-date and there's a nifty co-op mode where one player uses the Remote while the other uses a Classic Controller. It's rare that we say this, but even if you have last year's version of the game this is worth getting anyway. Well done Konami.

Comments

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  1. moomin_jr Monday 30th Mar 2009 at 12:19

    I'm so getting this in a couple of months. Nearly picked up 08 cheap, but wanted to see if this was going to be a lot better - and it sounds like it was worth waiting for, especially with classic controller support - it means my mates who don't have a Wii can still give me a game without having to adjust to a massively different control scheme. Might even use a pad myself sometimes :wink:
    Good to see another serious effort on Wii - and did I hear right that there are dowloadable team updates? If so, that's immense :D

  2. ultra_slb Monday 30th Mar 2009 at 12:25

    We have a nice fight going on here, every Fifa - Pes that comes out is the best football game on wii. Keep it up both of you and we will have two massive, almost perfect football games on Wii in two or three years.

  3. 02hollandj Monday 30th Mar 2009 at 12:37

    although its clearly a great game,i dont get why you havent mentioned the games terrible graphics in your review,i mean theres no real improvement over the ps2 version and that version wasnt a looker either

  4. ChrisONM Monday 30th Mar 2009 at 13:34

    although its clearly a great game,i dont get why you havent mentioned the games terrible graphics in your review,i mean theres no real improvement over the ps2 version and that version wasnt a looker either


    To be fair though, what are you expecting? It still looks better than the Wii version of FIFA 09 in my opinion. If you're expecting it to look like a 360 game then you're going to be disappointed every time. As it is, it looks perfectly acceptable.

  5. Colonel-Austin Monday 30th Mar 2009 at 14:12

    Just to clarify... 7% dropped for not having licenced teams? Harsh.

  6. ChrisONM Monday 30th Mar 2009 at 14:58

    Just to clarify... 7% dropped for not having licenced teams? Harsh.


    That's not the only negative. It's not like if it had licenced teams it'd get 100%.

  7. clarkie123 Monday 30th Mar 2009 at 15:46

    Just to clarify... 7% dropped for not having licenced teams? Harsh.


    No, there are plenty of games that get all +'s, but they don't get 100%

  8. fasttony2006 Monday 30th Mar 2009 at 15:49

    the game is fantastic but you realy forgot to mention about the very badly flawed online is i mean i played 4 games online free match good connection started playing i was up my opponents end going take a shot then next thing we were down my box and my opponent scored very glitchy but is online with the friend codes better??i started a forum today looking for pes09 friend codes but yes its a fantastic game.

  9. fanboy Monday 30th Mar 2009 at 18:05

    To be fair to the reviewers they cant really say much about the online cos theres nobody on it while they are playing the pre release version.

  10. Colonel-Austin Monday 30th Mar 2009 at 20:44

    Just to clarify... 7% dropped for not having licenced teams? Harsh.


    That's not the only negative. It's not like if it had licenced teams it'd get 100%.

    Thing is, you've only quoted that as the only problem with the game, surely meaning that it would gte 100%? or are you saying, you were never going to give it 100% anyway? Or at least not as good as Brawl, Galaxy etc and thus it scores 93/95 giving 98%?

    I've confused myslef there. As I'm borderline getting the game or not, could you point out the other negatives of the game?

  11. promaster Monday 30th Mar 2009 at 21:54

    Just to clarify... 7% dropped for not having licenced teams? Harsh.


    That's not the only negative. It's not like if it had licenced teams it'd get 100%.

    Thing is, you've only quoted that as the only problem with the game, surely meaning that it would gte 100%? or are you saying, you were never going to give it 100% anyway? Or at least not as good as Brawl, Galaxy etc and thus it scores 93/95 giving 98%?

    I've confused myslef there. As I'm borderline getting the game or not, could you point out the other negatives of the game?

    Another negative is that it does not have all the modes that the ps3 and xbox360 version has like become a legend which is basically fifas be a pro.

  12. fasttony2006 Tuesday 31st Mar 2009 at 00:31

    To be fair to the reviewers they cant really say much about the online cos theres nobody on it while they are playing the pre release version.

    thanks man never realy thought about it that way

  13. ChrisONM Tuesday 31st Mar 2009 at 09:02

    Just to clarify... 7% dropped for not having licenced teams? Harsh.


    That's not the only negative. It's not like if it had licenced teams it'd get 100%.

    Thing is, you've only quoted that as the only problem with the game, surely meaning that it would gte 100%? or are you saying, you were never going to give it 100% anyway? Or at least not as good as Brawl, Galaxy etc and thus it scores 93/95 giving 98%?

    I've confused myslef there. As I'm borderline getting the game or not, could you point out the other negatives of the game?


    Basically, no game gets 100% because there's no such thing as a perfect game. The lack of licences does make Pro Evo feel less "complete" than FIFA, but it's still more fun to play in my opinion (and that's the important thing). There are other niggles: nothing worth mentioning in the magazine (because I only have so much space on there so I want to use it to write about the more important stuff) but they're there.

    Simply put mate, the five "plus and minus" points at the end aren't calculated to get the final score. It's not like if we gave it five pluses it'd get 100%. They're just a quick guide to the five most important good and bad points.

  14. Malmo Tuesday 31st Mar 2009 at 17:55

    Sounds excellent, sadly it's been released far too late for me though. I just can't jsutify the price tag on a second football game when Fifa 09 on the PS3 is as good as it is... If it came out with with the other versions last year then maybe, but I have no real need for it now.

  15. bik75 Tuesday 31st Mar 2009 at 18:32

    Got this yesterday, if you havent got 08 then this isnt worth getting, but otherwise this is a must buy if you havent got a football game on the wii. The controls are hard to get used to but once you get the grips of things its excellent.

  16. Top Wii Games Wednesday 1st Apr 2009 at 08:33

    I thought PES 2008 was a wicked game. Maybe some people get scared off because it comes across as quite complicated to play. Much like any other game, the more time you dedicate to it, the more you appreciate the game.

    Bit concerned to hear about poor online functions. PES on the Wii is a whole different ball game (excude the pun) when played against human opponents.

  17. 02hollandj Wednesday 1st Apr 2009 at 18:25

    To be fair though, what are you expecting? It still looks better than the Wii version of FIFA 09 in my opinion. If you're expecting it to look like a 360 game then you're going to be disappointed every time. As it is, it looks perfectly acceptable.

    i think you misunderstood me im not annoyed because it doesnt look like a 360 game ,im annoyed because the existing engine can at least be polished with the graphical boost wii has over ps2

  18. Rnald Thursday 2nd Apr 2009 at 16:08


    To be fair though, what are you expecting? It still looks better than the Wii version of FIFA 09 in my opinion. If you're expecting it to look like a 360 game then you're going to be disappointed every time. As it is, it looks perfectly acceptable.

    i think you misunderstood me im not annoyed because it doesnt look like a 360 game ,im annoyed because the existing engine can at least be polished with the graphical boost wii has over ps2

    The 360 version doesnt even have better graphics.

    After playing the 360 version its very hard to believ the wii version wouldget over 60% never mind 90.

  19. angryidol Saturday 4th Apr 2009 at 11:44

    Great game!

    I think the review is pretty much spot on - the online has been vastly improved as well!

    However, the graphics are still very poor indeed and their is just no excuse for this when there are games like Super Mario Galaxy out for the same platform, and add the fact that man united and liverpool are the only licensed premier league teams and its just not good enough. Still worth a purchase though - controls are great

  20. Ad24k Wednesday 1st Jul 2009 at 16:33

    I've played PES and FIFA, and i think pes does has better graphics. But fifa's 8 v 8 is better than that big head thing. I like the shooting better in FIFA aswell.Giving PES 1% more is just taking the mick!

  21. Switzerninmaster Tuesday 31st Aug 2010 at 13:14

    I got PES 08 and thought it was very good, many hours put into Champions Road. Ordering 09 off Amazon right now!

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