Pro Evolution Soccer 2009

Jason Cook

As you sometimes madly point and click all over the field, the game sometimes takes on a somewhat manic feel, but it also feels like a live-action game of chess with you in control of all the pieces.

Publisher: Konami
Genres: Sports, Multimedia
Price: $39.99
Multimedia: Pro Evolution Soccer 2009
Platforms: Wii (reviewed), Playstation 2, Playstation 3, XBox 360, PC, PSP
Number of players: 1-4
ESRB rating: Everyone
Developer: Konami
US release date: 2009-03
Developer website

While soccer may never catch on as much here as it has internationally, one thing that is for sure is that the game industry at least has the sport figured out. EA's FIFA series had probably it's best iteration late last year with the release of FIFA '09. The Winning Eleven series – long regarded as the best and most consistent soccer video game series, however, is no more in the U.S., morphing instead into the Pro Evolution Soccer in 2008.

After spending some time with PES 2009, it becomes abundantly clear that soccer games and the Wii are a perfect match. While still good on the 360 and PS3, the control that the player has over all 11 players on the pitch when playing on the Wii is unparalleled and almost doesn't even feel like the same game when played on other systems. The Wii version of PES 09 was released in mid-March, some five months after releases on those other platforms. This delay is forgivable when one considers the title's overhauled controls and various other gameplay tweaks. The point and click system Konami has implemented shows a lot of promise, not only for this game but for those that could follow it, be those games sports or otherwise.

This new system works something like this: you don't so much take on the role of one (or many) of the 11 footballers so much as you command all of them. By clicking on a player, you can click to a point on the pitch and he will run there. Or you can drag the remote, and he will sprint. Similarly, on defense you can click on an opponent and your player will man-up on him. As you sometimes madly point and click all over the field, the game sometimes takes on a somewhat manic feel, but it also feels like a live-action game of chess with you in control of all the pieces. The great thing about the control scheme is the level of actual control that it gives to the player. You can pass exactly where you want to (be it in front of or directly to a player) easily. This level of control is marked improvement over “this button is pass, and it's going to the closest guy” system that has been known to frustrate many a hardcore football fan. However, while the game's tutorial does an okay job of explaining and showing you how to perform such commands in the game, unfortunately, it can also at times be overwhelming and sometimes unnecessarily so. A simple give-and-go requires too many presses and holds to be intuitive at least for casual players.

For the most part though, PES '09 controls great, yet the presentation leaves a lot to be desired. Playing far too much into the Wii's kid-friendly reputation, PES decided to go with a look that is a poor match with the depth of the game itself. For example, when subbing in a player during a game, the players are represented with big heads akin to bobble head dolls. Why, you ask? I have no idea. It looks foolish and has no clear purpose. I am not saying that the game has to be deadly serious, but I don't know how much of the PES demographic will be entertained by Ronaldinho sporting a huge noggin. Other weaknesses include that some of the set-up menus in the game are rather convoluted, requiring multiple clicks and some backtracking to get the settings right.

PES '09 may not have the sleekest presentation, but it makes up for that with a myriad of modes and gameplay tweaks. From the traditional exhibition mode, to UEFA Champions League, to cup games, to online and dynasty modes, there is more than enough variety to keep players coming back even if they likely won't play all of them. On top of that, ther game offers team editing, playable Miis in exhibition games, and teams spanning the various leagues across the globe, including MLS.

The game's online mode is particularly well done and an example of how future Wii games should execute internet play. There's a chat interface where you can select “good luck!” and various other canned responses. It's rudimentary, but it works while the player waits for Wii speak to integrate with their entire catalog. Also, as you can on Xbox Live, you can avoid players, friend them, and play online with your friends locally. If it weren't for some dirty cheaters -- using un-tackleable goalies capable of streaking down the field causing the ball warp around -- the online would be very enjoyable.

Although the name has changed, the result is the same -- Pro Evolution Soccer continues Winning Eleven's strong track record with this year's version. It shows that soccer games have found a home on the Wii and you'll have a hard time going back to more traditional soccer games after diving into this. If you are a soccer fan and lover of the FIFA games, this is a definite buy. If you have grown tired of traditional soccer games, than this is a must-buy now. If you own a Wii and have interest in the “beautiful game” than by all means rent this. It's one of the more unique and solid sports titles out there.


In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.