Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (EU) Reviews

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    Pro Evolution Soccer 2009: The Review

    Year has gone around quite fast hasn't it? This game has arrived after the average attempt at PES 2008. Konami are hoping to make 2009 a better year, and fix some of the faults from 2008. Stiff competition has been provided from FIFA 09 this year (EA's best FIFA game in a long time) which I really enjoyed. So lets see how PES 2009 compares to it's main rival in the genre of football games. I am reviewing the Xbox 360 version of the game.

    Series History:
    Originally known as International Superstar Soccer (ISS), Konami have been making PES since the late 1990's. With it's fluid gameplay, the series has one many fans around the world. The PES series peaked on the PS2 in the early 21st century. With PES3 arguably the greatest football game ever created, although 4,5 and 6 also gave it some stiff competition. At that time, PES was the greatest football game around, despite not selling as much as it deserved due to EA's licenses and sponsers in the rubbish FIFA games. FIFA has improved a lot on the next generation of consoles, and the gap between these two giants has never been tighter.

    Release Date = 16/10/08
    Price = Has been seen for around 40 - 45 euros in some stores (£25 - £30).
    Produced by Konami.
    Live = Yes, up to 4 players online.
    Downloadable Content = None yet, the game is only out.

    So it begins..:
    Another season is underway, this years version of the game goes back to the roots of the old PES games while adding a new exciting mode, Become a Legend. First impressions are always vital on a title like PES, the menus are not to pretty to look at. Colourful but slightly daunting at first, it will take you a while to learn your way around them. So I start my first game, Manchester United vs Liverpool on regular. No better match than a game against the old enemy. I immediately look at the stadiums on offer, it's not Old Trafford. There are a few licensed stadiums and I choose Wembley. It looks amazing. The crowds may not be spectacular, I don't recognise any chants but the graphics have been toned up a good bit this year. The player models look sleek, and well put together. So begins the game, I lose a goal after just 10 minutes, Torres beats the offside trap and slides the ball under Van Der Sar. The goalkeepers seem to have improved, catching a few crosses when under pressure, unlike last year. I begin to get to grips with the gamplay mechanics, which are fast and fluid. Ronaldo gets the ball out of his feet and crosses for Tevez to head home. The second half begins and I score another two goals. The game finishes. I win 3-1. I really have to admit I am impressed with how the game plays, and its presentation on match day was first class.
    After playing a few more games I get better at one-two's, quick passes and fast wingers. You really need a brain to play this game, no two goals will be to alike. One thing I am disappointed with is the commentary. Mark Lawrenson has the most boring voice in football, and it won't be long before you turn your television volume down or listen to some music while playing the game.

    Become A Legend:
    A new mode has been added to the game, Become a Legend. Similar to FIFA's Become a Pro mode. You start off as a 17 year old prodigy at a youth club. You will be offered a contract at a club and have to work your way up from there. You will train with your club, try to get onto the bench and then play well as a sub to secure a first team place. If you play well enough then your country may come calling for you. I really have enjoyed this mode up to date, you have to get into good positions to receive the ball. The better your team, the better chance you have of scoring a goal and playing well. Poor teams will hopelessly punt the ball up the pitch, while better sides will maintain possession much easier. I struggled at Sunderland, scoring 2 goals all season but have since moved to Newcastle where it seems easier to get in good positions and receive better passes. Your stats go up after every game, slowly. So you start off quite poor. I recommend trying to boost your speed and power stats before any other ones. You can also take your hero online, and play in a team with 3 other legends. This works much better than 10 vs 10 on FIFA because not everyone on your team is greedy and they don't all try to run forward. The AI may make some silly decisions but the human players really add a new dimension of fun to it.
    Master league is still present of course, nothing added to it. One thing that is back is the edit mode. For some crazy reason this went missing in PES 2008 but it is back in all of its glory in 2009. You can edit team badges, players and tactics, all down to the smallest detail.
    A new mode this year is the UEFA Champions League which is 100% licensed and a real coop for Konami. The authentic experience is helped by the music and the whole competition is played like it is in real life. This mode really adds to the lifespan of the game, along with the usual variety of leagues and cups.
    There is of course online, which has been greatly improved since the lag fest in 2008. You can now actually play a game against a real opponent with only the odd bit of lag. The servers are being maintained from 16/10/08 - 23/10/08 so some unexplained downtime may occur, I honestly cannot understand why this couldn't have been done before the game comes out but that is just the luck of the draw.

    Other Thoughts:
    One thing that bugged me in this game was the lack of licenses. Why can Konami not reward their loyal fans and secure more licenses for clubs and stadiums? Manchester United and Liverpool are the only licensed teams in the English Premiership. Funny names remain, my personal favourite being Stoke City known as "The Potteries". Serie A and the French League are still there to be played along with the AF so I guess you will be spending some time in edit mode for more reasons than above.
    The transfers aren't updated, I think this is quite pathetic. FIFA came out at the start of the month and has transfers that PES 2009 doesn't. Hopefully we will get a patch that will fix this. Why isn't Berbatov at Old Trafford yet? That transfer happened 7 weeks before the game out. Robinho still remains a Real Madrid player while Pavlychenko is absent from the Spurs team.
    The achievements aren't overally stunning in this game either. No doubt they will keep you playing longer than FIFA 09's achievements but they are more or less the same as last years, apart from the Become a Legend ones and UEFA Champions League one. It is widely believed that the UEFA Champions League Debut achievement worth 10G is glitched, making it only possibly to attain 990 gamerscore in this game. Hopefully a patch will come out The online achievements are alright, if a little time consuming. Winning 15/20 ranked matches will be tough for anyone. The Become a Legend achievements are also quite time consuming, but very rewarding. There are 49 working achievements in this game, worth 990 gamerscore. Konami have promised a patch with updated Spanish licenses in early November, lets hope they add this glitched achievement to their agenda.

    Final Thoughts:
    This game destroys FIFA on gameplay alone, but without the licenses and updated transfers, many gamers will be tempted by EA's offering which is very good itself. However, I have always been one to admire good gameplay mechanics so that is why I choose PES over FIFA. Yes, Konami may have been lazy but I can get over it, so PES 2009 is a huge improvement over 2008. Like any game, it has it's faults but has more good points to it than bad points. Konami scores a goal this year, maybe a lucky one off the post but PES 2009 is still a solid, if unspectacular game in the series. Roll on 2010.

    Gameplay = 9/10
    Graphics = 9/10
    Sound = 4/10
    Lifespan = 10/10
    Achievements = 7/10
    Overall = 74%
    4 stars

    Thanks for reading guys, I am still experimenting with my favoured review format. Constructive comments are more than welcome. :)

    Mark (GT: MARK20008)
    Showing all 4 comments.
    mwallace31Good Read.
    Posted by mwallace31 On 10 Apr 09 at 22:50
    ERIKDOTCOMNice. I've always enjoyed soccer, (Yes, I live in the U.S.) but I've never been interested in the games. Judging by your review, I might want to try this out.
    Posted by ERIKDOTCOM On 27 Jun 09 at 04:13
    Ginn0rzAchievements 7/10? I beg to differ... The All Titles achievement, National Teams AND Ultimate Player in one retail? Ridiculous. :(
    Posted by Ginn0rz On 14 Sep 10 at 10:49
    Nice review, it would be good to know how many of the achievments are unobtainable since the servers are shut off.
    I know all the network ones but any others? like do you get any titles online etc etc
    Posted on 27 May 12 at 10:02