PES 2009

PES 2009 Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PCWiiPS2PSP

Complete overhaul of the successful football series.

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7Out of 10
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PES is back, but how does it compare to FIFA 09?
PES is back, but how does it compare to FIFA 09?

PES is back, but how does it compare to FIFA 09?

Perhaps, if EA hadn't upped its game so considerably in the last two years, we wouldn't notice the deficiencies in Konami's PES football engine. We'd still be enjoying it oblivious to the harsh reality that all PES fans are going to have to brave like a shot to the face on a cold winters day: PES feels as if it's out of ideas. There. We've said it.

PES 2009 is undoubtedly better than last year's disappointing effort. And yet it's got a lower review score. But how can that be? It runs smoother, there's no slowdown whatsoever on either the 360 or the PS3 version (check out our HD video comparison of the two games here), and, finally, online play actually works with no teleporting, hardly any lag and an impressively speedy quick match option (with two versus two support, no less).

Have we lost our minds? No. Of course we haven't. The reason why PES 2009 is being given a harsher time of it this year is because of the quality of its bitter rival. FIFA 09 is so good, not only from a graphical point of view, but from a basic gameplay point of view, that playing PES 2009 after a FIFA 09 session makes you realise that, actually, there's not much about Konami's game that couldn't be achieved on the PS2.

Player animation is rotten. Players run about with their arms pumping back and forth as if they're robot men. The eight way movement is as wooden as ever. The passing and shooting animations are archaic. The commentary is delivered with as much quality as an episode of Hollyoaks. The soundtrack has been cribbed from a wedding DJ's vinyl collection. The player faces look silly. A magical barrier surrounds the throw-in taker. Keepers take forever to distribute the ball. Having speedy wingers cross the ball in for headed or volleyed goals is an overpowered strategy. Month old transfers have been ignored. Half the teams have made up names and games often descend into hilarious pinball battles as the ball whizzes about as if a cat's plaything (one goal we scored against a friend - where a shot slowly rebounded off the post, onto the keeper's shoulder and into the net, had us crying tears of laughter).

The game plays similarly to last year's disappointing effort

The game plays similarly to last year's disappointing effort

None of these criticisms will surprise PES fans. This is the way PES has played for a good few years now, and this is the way it plays once again. We've forgiven PES these deficiencies in the past because, well, FIFA was no alternative. But now it is. In fact it's better. It's impossible to ignore. PES doesn't play a real game of football any more, as it once proudly proclaimed from the terraces. It plays something else, something different.

Admittedly there are some areas where Konami is clearly trying. The Be A Legend mode is at first glance a complete rip off of FIFA's Be A Pro mode, but those in the know will be aware that it's actually the Western implementation of Winning Eleven's Fantasista mode, a feature that's been running for longer than FIFA's alternative. Here, you create a 17-year-old player (you can scan in your face via Web Cam if you fancy it) and bid to become captain of your country. You start out, however, playing for the wonderfully named Babilayna CF versus Athletic Club Salsabie, but you're being watched by a number of scouts from top clubs. After the game you're offered a contract at a top club (no matter how bad your performance you're picked up). We were offered terms with three clubs, but Man City (sans Robinho of course, this is PES after all) seemed like the best bet. From there, you need to impress during training matches to make the bench, and then make an impression when brought on as a substitute. It's an interesting mode to mess about with, and we have to admit that it's something that we can see a lot of players pumping many hours into, especially if they're bored of the now tired Master League, which once again makes an appearance without any significant changes. That you can take your created Legend online is an added bonus. But, ultimately, we can't see the mode replacing the traditional one on one PES match.

The addition of the Champions League license sounds a lot better than it actually is. You'd think that Konami's securing of the best club competition in world football would mean PES 2009 would have the official license for all of this year's participating teams, but it doesn't. Only a select number of clubs are officially licensed, once again. Disappointingly Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC are the only officially licensed Premier League teams on offer. The illusion that you're playing a real Champions League game is shattered somewhat when Manchester United are going up against London FC. Yes there's now a full edit mode, which means that those of you with the time and inclination can right all those transfer wrongs (of which there are many - Shevchenko is still at Chelsea and Berbatov is still at Spurs, for example), and correct all the club names, but really it's a pain in the arse we shouldn't have to suffer.

Online play works, which is great, and there's still a great feeling when you score a cracker.

Online play works, which is great, and there's still a great feeling when you score a cracker.

And yet, despite all of the problems, there's still fun to be had from PES 2009. It's incredibly hard to nail down exactly why this is, but it's there nonetheless. Perhaps it's due to the fact that the pace of the game has been slowed ever so slightly, and that keepers are actually a lot better than in previous versions. Whatever the reason, a screamer from 25 yards is as magic as it always was. It'll still get you up off your seat and screaming your heart out. This just about saves the game from filling our hearts with bitter disappointment. That and the fact that online play actually works, which is absolutely great. PES might be feature light in comparison to FIFA's packed offering, but it still offers a fun game of virtual football. And, inevitably, some people will always prefer PES' gameplay, which is fair enough.

Still, we can't help but feel that there's going to be thousands of PES fans who embrace the power of the dark side this year, on account of the fact that it simply doesn't feel like Konami is putting much effort into the so-called 'next-gen' versions of PES these days. You might even say the PS2 is the lead platform, when you compare the strides forward between Konami and EA's efforts. PES 2009 is a good game, but the times they are changin', and we're afraid that Konami is being left behind. Time for a reboot, Seabass.

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pesfan988's Avatar


fair review imo , i am a die hard pes fan and have been for 8 years , i mean ive bought a 3 fifas (04,06,08) along the way but when i play FIFA 09 i feel i can score too easily and when i play PES 2009 , its more of a challenge to score which makes it more fun for me
Posted 17:10 on 26 June 2009
Dean's Avatar
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I have to agree I was a diehard FIFA fan but I moved to Pro when PES6 came out and I thought 08 was a downgrade, however I think there are some major, major issues with 09.

Online play is awful
The offside is not correct
Refs are too harsh and book everyone
The transfers are a joke
The licensing once again fails
The game play is not smooth enough
Players run like headless chickens

I am very very dissapointed I might switch back to FIFA
Posted 12:57 on 10 February 2009
stivler's Avatar
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I almost agree with the review but.....

THE ON-LINE PLAY IS STILL surprised me that you thought it was ok. It leaves me feeling unsatisfied. I have lost and made friends over years of PES and there was nothing more satisfying than a good one two through ball onto the foot of a diagonaly running forward and a thunderbolt of a shot in the goal off the crossbar. I cant do this on-line at all. I have a 360 and a ps3 and although the ps3 ids slightly better, the game, im so sorry to say, sucks on both platforms. Please sort it out.
Posted 13:07 on 18 January 2009
hunter001's Avatar
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I've play Konami's football games since 1999 and this one is completely crap. PES generation is known for it being a tactical game, not as a pinball game like it is this year. If I wanted to play pinball, I'd play pinball.

Online play sucks majors, seems like konami didn't care about our complaints on '08.

Player motion sucks aswell, they all look retarded when running.

I haven't played FIFA since 2001,I'm thinking about buying it, maybe it's time for many of us to migrate back to FIFA, but if I do, i'll never buy a konami game again!
Posted 15:14 on 27 December 2008
marleyonfags's Avatar
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i diasagree with this review and nearly every comment on here, pro evo 09 is the tits, the gameplay is superb and the players faces look real, fifa is like a boring arcade game that u will give up playing a week after buying it. i rate pro evo 9/10 and recommend it 2 anyone. its the true footballers game, end of!!!
Posted 20:22 on 07 December 2008
Ommet27's Avatar
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So its really bad is it. I was mad into PES 6 online and was addicted but i have never played a game without lag on PES 2008 and i didnt buy 2009 cos i was not too impressed with the constant rising shots!!! Anyone else think the shooting is a bit off, its seems as though they always gradually rise, it looks good when it goes in but just does not happen from distance. So the online play has not been fixed even with the update has it?

Never thought i would ever contemplate FIFA again, last good one was the one with indoor football, great laugh.
Posted 15:21 on 03 December 2008
EX-PESFAN's Avatar
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Just an update. Tried online again after a patch release and update and have to say the players aren't telling porting but the game play is pants!! Can't control the players, defenders and goal-keepers with minds of their own. Going online date 1st Dec. Nearly a month after this game was suppose to be released so wouldn't go holding your breath for Konami to fix this. Pro Evolution 2009 feels like No Evolution 1956.

And back to PES6 it is.

Not happy.
Posted 12:27 on 02 December 2008
gazbjo's Avatar


PES 2009 is the worst I've played for a while. I've been playing PES for 5 years now and bought the new games every year and seriously, this version is murder. So much so that I'm trading it in and going to turn to the dark side and try FIFA. I cant compare it to any of the FIFA series as I've never played any of them before but, for me, PES has got worse rather than better. I dont play online so dont know of any of the gliches with that from the past but I'm seriously fed up with sh*t like playing the computer and, after going a goal up, the computer players become faster, stronger, world beaters even thought they may only be man city! Or the fact that you lose control of players when passing to them, or the keeper having a mind of his own or, and this is my biggest pet hate, trying to click the curser to the nearest player and it goes between every other player than the one you want it to. I could go on and on but whats the point? Konami dont give a sh*t, if they did they'd have listened to the people who play the game and done something about it. Instead, they've tweaked bits here and there and changed the aesthetics but, in my opinion, they're going backwards. Time to try something new!!
Posted 02:28 on 01 December 2008
Ryan's Avatar
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Me and my housemate bought PES2009 because we played the demo was quite brilliant. I must point out that we bought it more-or-less solely for the online play - playing AI these days seems pretty old-fashioned.

Anyway, suffice to say we were completely and utterly disappointed. The fact we bought it for online play and it lagged so badly is a massive let down and I would go as far as to say Konami well and truly ripped us off on this one. It's like being sold a DVD only to find out it was shot on a DV camera in the cinema.

We took the game back and got our money back. PES2009 for the XBOX is a massive waste of time.

p.s. It had nothing to do with my connection. We have the fastest connection possible for our area.

On the other hand regarding the FIFA09 demo, I really didn't like it at first and thought it was incredibly slow and heavy. But after a while I got used to it and started to like it. But then again I'm not a big games user so I wouldn't buy it.

PES is the better game, but online play completely ruins it.
Posted 13:39 on 25 November 2008
veron4's Avatar


Have to agree with EX-PESFAN. I fell in love with PES 6, playing on-line because it was\is a super game I counted down the days until they released PES 2008 but how on earth Konami let that game go into production leaves me baffled. Off-line was OK but I buy games for my 360 to play on-line but with the lags on PES 2008 I felt Konami had ripped me off but I was prepared to give them one more chance. I have downloaded PES and FIFA demos and preferred PES slightly but then I read that the lags are still present in PES 2009 which is a joke! FIFA is meant to be quality on-line so I will be spending my money on FIFA all my mates have switched already and are raving about FIFA on-line.

I still play PES 6 but I am afraid I am moving to FIFA and may never come back to PES ever again.

Posted 19:00 on 24 November 2008
Masi's Avatar
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PES2009 is more superior offline. Better and more challenging AI.

FIFA 09 is more superior online. Better and more rewarding online experience.

So both games have their pros and cons. None of the games are crap. Its a matter of personal taste. But I prefer PES as it's gameplay is still superior.
Posted 02:12 on 19 November 2008
Anonymous's Avatar
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ex-pro fan wrote at 08:33 on 18 October 2008

ughh this is just NOT good enough plays more like mario soccer....the player movement is terrible and im not going to buy it this year cos i cant keep supporting this ish when they just keep comin with half assed attempts.....i dislike the whole interface of the game also....the transfers are terrible who wants to have to sit there and update all the transfers thats what i bought 09 for not to have 08 teams..i dont see y they cant do what fifa does and have an online squad patch you can download....this is trash and i been waitin so long for it to come out....i dont like fifa either cos it plays way too structured and i dont like the over exagerrated momentum the players carry...but pro lost this year and they lost in a huge way because last years wasnt good enough i still played it all the way up untill 09 came out and ill probably go back to it...cos the players move like robots the way they toe punt the ball when passin is hilarious and looks horrible and they all run like a bunch of 30+ ronaldos....its like 11 ronaldos vs 11 gaza's and thats reallynot what i wanted to see out of pro...

Who is this guy??? whats the deal with that comment mate. learn how to use full stops/period depending on where you're from. It reads like you're a mental.
Posted 11:01 on 16 November 2008
benjai's Avatar
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I'm living in Ca, US. Can anyone tell me more about the online play of PES2009? PES2008 is unaccptable! Does 2009 online play getting better? or getting improve, but still not playable? hope someone can give me more information about it, thx!
Posted 10:02 on 16 November 2008
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I don't think there is any soccer game developer with high quality and serious ambition to be the best of all left on this planet anymore.I have lost my patience to buy soccer will be in vain to give those lazy people who always offer us half done game more time and chance.why don't we stop playing their products(EA and KONAMI) from now on until they give us what we deserve to get ? right away
Posted 11:44 on 12 November 2008
lilrayman's Avatar


I think I might be missing here, but having not played FIFA for the past 6 years, I decided to try the demo and found it really dull and boring compared to the Pro Demo... that was enough for me to stay with Pro for the next year... I dont really care about the licences, I just wanna play a mean game of football and thats what Pro gives...
Posted 10:40 on 06 November 2008

Game Stats

PES 2009
Out of 10
PES 2009
  • Plays a fun, often hilarious game of football
  • Online play works
  • Dated visuals
  • Feels out of ideas
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 17/10/2008
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC , Wii , PS2 , PSP
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Sports
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 3,628 18
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