PES 2009

PES 2009 Review for Wii

On: WiiXbox 360PS3PCPS2PSP

Complete overhaul of the successful football series.

Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
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Overrated?
Overrated?

Overrated?

When PES 2008 was released on the Wii early last year, it showed up the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions like a younger brother beating his older brothers in a penalty shoot-out. As the supposedly "next-gen" versions faltered the Wii version, with its initially mind-bending pull and drag pointing mechanic, provided a degree of control fans of the series weren't perhaps ready for. With PES 2009 on Wii, Konami has consolidated the game's position, offering a small number of refinements that for some Wii PES 2008 owners won't justify a purchase, but for newcomers will represent the ultimate virtual football experience.

Veteran Wii PES players will find the controls perfectly agreeable; the hard work was done getting to grips with last year's effort. Newcomers, though, will have to embark on what amounts to a complete rethink. At its most basic, you point at a player with the Wii Remote to give him an instruction and shoot by swinging the Nunchuck.

Pointing at a player and pressing the A button will "grab" him. You can then drag him to another part of the pitch by moving the Wii Remote. You can control "on the ball" players by pointing and pressing A on the grass ahead of them, although using the Nunchuck control stick for movement is easier. Pointing at a player and pressing B passes - a simple control but its importance can't be overstated. You've never been able to pinpoint exactly who you're passing to at all times in Pro Evolution Soccer. You can in PES on Wii.

As mentioned, PES 2009 on Wii is about little improvements here and there rather than revolutionary back to the drawing board mechanics. You can now shoot more accurately by pointing at part of the goal and pressing B, providing a greater level of control over shooting than any game in the Pro Evolution Soccer series has ever had. Defending, which is still incredibly difficult, is more a case of gently ushering your players to get the ball rather than directly controlling their actions. Slide tackling is still governed by swinging the Nunchuck, and intercepting the ball (by asking your player to look out for passes with the d-pad) is still virtually impossible. However, you can now get your players to try and win the ball by holding the Z button. While this does make you feel like you've got more of a chance of stopping attacks, you're still, ultimately, at the mercy of the AI and where your defenders are positioned. And the "clear the ball lottery" from the last game remains: to clear the ball, say from a cross, you simply shake the Nunchuck. A small dot will appear over the player's head signalling he has the clear command programmed into his skull. Then the lottery kicks in. If he heads or kicks the ball clear, great. But more often than not he won't, especially if you're up against a team with good attacking players.

Would Messi twist up Premier League defences?

Would Messi twist up Premier League defences?

Because of the difficulty in stopping attacks, of simply getting the ball off your opponent in general, PES 2009 on Wii feels at times more like a game of basketball than football, with most attacks ending up in a shot. Once your attack is over it's your opponent's turn to attack. Rinse and repeat. So many goals can be scored in your average 10 minute half match that scores shoot off beyond the stratosphere. Against the computer on anything but the hardest difficulty level, expect to win generously. If PES 2009 proves anything, it's that Konami hasn't quite worked out to defend.

Ultimately, though, and somewhat ironically given the Wii's reputation as the home of accessible, mainstream gaming, PES 2009 plays a more complicated game of football than the 360 and PS3 versions and, as a result, it simulates the team play aspect of football better than anything that's gone before. This, for some, means PES on Wii will be too hard. One-touch passing, one-twos, all the advanced stuff that's so simple on the non-Nintendo console versions, is made harder here because you have to think about not only where your passes are supposed to go, but the runs your players are making. Put simply, being in control of everything is great, but it won't be everyone's cup of tea.

Perhaps aware of this fact, Konami has implemented a new "traditional" control scheme that allows you to play the game with the Wii Remote on its side or with the Classic Controller. This makes PES 2009 on Wii feel a lot like it does on Xbox 360 and PS3. It's a strange thing to do, but it's a nice option to have, especially if you own the Wii and nothing else, and reckon playing the game the way it was designed to be played would give you an embolism.

Beyond the control tweaks it's as you were. The addition of the UEFA Champions League license is, as it was in the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, disappointing because not every team in this year's competition is officially licensed (the Champions League spell is broken somewhat when Manchester United play North London). You can play online, as you could before, Master League rears its ugly head once again, and the curious role-playing meta game that is the Champions Road returns from the last game too.

Better than Gerrard?

Better than Gerrard?

The graphics haven't been improved, nor the music or the embarrassing commentary (a PES tradition). In fact, you might say the game's positively ugly, reminiscent of early Pro Evolution Soccer efforts on the PS2. The crowd's laughable, as are the player faces; we know for a fact the console can do better than this. Oh, and the Wii Remote cursor still inhibits your ability to see what's going on, especially when using the widest camera angle.

Criminally, the January transfers haven't been included, despite the fact that the game is out nearly two months after the window closed. So Robbie Keane is still at Liverpool when he should be at Spurs (oh sorry, North East London). This, frankly, is just lazy, and is something Wii owners will have to put up with if they haven't got their console hooked up to the internet. Sure you can spend hours making everything right in the edit mode, but that's not what we'd call a fun game of football.

PES 2009 on Wii doesn't do enough to justify a purchase if you've got last year's effort. Crucially, attacking is still miles better than defending, despite the control tweaks (something we hope Konami sorts out for the next game). However, if you've become disillusioned with PES on 360 or PS3, the Wii version's a great alternative. It's not better than FIFA 09 next-gen, and it'll take a bit of getting used to, but with time and effort you'll find it the most rewarding virtual game of football around.

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8 Comments

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charles's Avatar

charles

can i download this for free?
Posted 21:01 on 27 March 2009
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee

Konami are notoriously difficult to deal with. When Xleague was running their TV tournaments, they were not allowed to televise PES. Which basically meant they couldn't run leagues, which in turn meant that anybody interested in competing would instead have to play, and therefore buy, FIFA instead. I never understood this reluctance to have what is essentially free advertising.

With FIFA beating PES in terms of sales every release, you would think Konami would try a little harder.
Posted 16:42 on 27 March 2009
zzyzx's Avatar

zzyzx@ wyp100

You're welcome, wyp. Thanks for the response.

Looking back at my comment, it reads unnecessarily combative. I apologize if it came across that way. I'm quite sure we've never met - I really wasn't trying to be hostile toward you.

Cheers,
z

edit: If we want to blame anyone, it should probably be Konami. On one of IGN's recent podcasts, a nintendo editor said that trying to get pre-release details on PES2009 from Konami was like beating one's head against a brick wall. Konami just refused to give them anything.

Which makes *no* sense because (1) IGN liked the first PES for Wii, and (2) that website is basically free advertising, anyway. Why would you refuse it? But I digress...

You can count on one hand the number of developers that invest enough time to give multi-platform owners a reason to look at the Wii version of a game. By that measure, Konami deserves some credit (even if they don't seem concerned with marketing the product or managing the game's reception).
Posted 15:09 on 27 March 2009
Rickitis's Avatar

Rickitis

The 2008 version was £7.99 on Gameplay.co.uk the other day, since this sounds so similar it might be worth a look, although I think the price has gone up since...
Posted 11:36 on 27 March 2009
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee

Kudos for updating the review. Far too few sites take this position, and videogamer.com is all the better for actually listening to and involving the community. However :

Quote:
Pointing at a player and pressing B passes - a simple control but its importance can't be understated.

Surely that should read 'overstated'?
Posted 11:25 on 27 March 2009
wyp100's Avatar

wyp100

@ zzyzx

Thanks for the heads-up - there was no update available at the time of testing. Review updated.
Posted 11:10 on 27 March 2009
mea03wjb's Avatar

mea03wjb

"Master League rears it's ugly head" ??

An opportunity to build a team from scratch, recruit players and develop a team full of your favourite players? Probably the most popular aspect of Pro Evo titles since its creation way back when.

It seems some people have forgotten why true football fans forget FIFA years ago and moved to Pro Evo - for the playability, depth, tactics and most importantly fun that only these titles could supply.

If you want to score goals from 50 yards, buy FIFA, if you want to beat players with 'tricks' rarely if ever used in reality, buy FIFA, if you like pretty pictures of footballers faces rather than in-depth gameplay, buy FIFA - if you want a real football title buy Pro Evo.
Posted 11:03 on 27 March 2009
zzyzx's Avatar

zzyzx

The reviewer is incorrect about January transfers. As explained in the game's manual, Konami has made a roster update available for PES 2009 on Wii. In fact, the first thing that happens when you play "wifi" mode for the first time is that the game prompts you to download the most recent roster update. Either the reviewer did not test the game's online modes or Konami hasn't made the update public in all countries.

I live in the states, and it was available upon release (March 17). I'm sure Konami will make it available in other areas as the game "officially" releases.

I have no quarrel with the rest of the review. Personally, I'd rate the game 9-6-6, with an overall score in mid-upper 8 range - but this review seems fair. It's just a shame about the misinformation.
Posted 18:25 on 26 March 2009

Game Stats

PES 2009
8
Out of 10
PES 2009
  • Unparalleled control
  • Online play
  • Jan transfers left out
  • Horrible graphics
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 27/03/2009
Platforms: Wii , Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC , PS2 , PSP
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Sports
No. Players: 1-8
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 2,376 1
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