Pro Evolution Soccer 2009

There are very few things that get a seasoned football fanatic excited – the start of the new season, a win against your bitter rivals and the latest release of Pro Evolution Soccer.

By fishdalf, Posted 27 Dec 2008

There are very few things that get a seasoned football fanatic excited – the start of the new season, a win against your bitter rivals and the latest release of Pro Evolution Soccer.

However, it hasn’t been as big an occasion as perhaps fans were hoping for over the last few years as Konami doesn’t seem to be able to shrug off many of the bad habits that have plagued the series for a long while now. Last years offering was a huge disappointment by anyone’s standards, suffering from horrendous frame rate issues anytime the ball got near either teams goal, the editing mode had been stripped bare and the online mode wasn’t even worth mentioning. Then of course you have the Master League mode which never really seems to change much at all, in fact the biggest addition the series has seen over the past few years is the inclusion of annoying advertisements that serve to hinder you as you play.

So what have Konami done about it this time around? Well, quite a bit actually, with many directly comparing it to Pro Evolution Soccer 5 which has a slower and more realistic feel about it. The goalkeepers have seen an improvement, gone are the days where they parry the ball directly in front of them, allowing for a simple tap-in. As is the ability to embarrass full backs by running a quick winger down the flanks, in fact the defence as a whole feels more controlled and balanced. The passing has also been given a slight revamp in the shape of a new manual passing system, one that actually lets you switch to the player receiving the ball, giving you far better control over what you want your team to do.

I suppose the big question was whether or not Konami could finally obtain that crucial Premier League license that has eluded them thus far – not. Unfortunately Fifa is still paying the big bucks and money usually does the talking when licensing is concerned. They did manage to pick up two big English names in Liverpool and Manchester United; it’s just a shame you have to play against the likes of London FC and Merseyside Blue. To add insult to injury they’ve also lost the rights to La Liga, although an update became available in November that licensed up to eleven Spanish clubs. Still, it feels like they’re going backwards at times, especially when you consider that North America is still waiting for said update.

In the light of their poor efforts it had never been more important for them to get the editing mode right, because that’s were most die-hard fans usually spend their time. They’ve brought the pixel paint tool back, granting you the ability to edit unofficial team badges, so that’s a good start. Last year you were forced to use their default designs, making it more than a little confusing for those who didn’t play the game on a regular basis. They’ve also expanded on their image import system that was incorporated last year, now instead of being restricted to adding 8 images to the game you’re now able to add 40, allowing for the creation of more accurate kits. Perhaps the biggest shock in editing terms was the announcement that you’re now able to add your own football chants to the game, something that would have most football fans salivating. Now Liverpool and Celtic supporters alike are able to listen as a rousing chorus of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is belted from the stands.

Graphically the game looks great, from the LED advertising boards that litter stadiums, to how the grass wears as the game progresses. The players have never looked more life-like either, you only have to take one glance at Cristiano Ronaldo to see how much time and effort they’ve put into getting his look right. There are also other more subtle changes thrown in that fans of the beautiful game will appreciate, such as the addition of the Portuguese maestro’s trademark free kick. It’s also pleasing to know that the game suffers from very little, if any slowdown at all, both in the gameplay and during replays.

In terms of the gameplay itself, not only does it have a slower feel as previously stated but the ball physics seem to have improved too, with shots and passes carrying a little more weight behind them. So now zipping a 40-yard cross from one side of the pitch to the other isn’t as certain as it once was, pushing players to build up their attacks in a more realistic fashion. The way you implement tricks has also changed, with the majority now requiring intricate movements of your D-pad, making things less complicated for the user. Tackling has also been improved; now the length of time you hold down the button will directly determine how much pressure you put on the attacker.

There is still no real change to the Master League, only small intricacies to the way transfers are negotiated. They have thrown in a totally new mode called ‘Become a Legend’ though, which is an idea taken from Fifa, who in turn stole it off Konami in the first place. Here you take control of a single player and play as them throughout their career, the ultimate goal being to improve your stats and eventually become a legend of the game. You are also able to take your created player online, allowing multiple people to get together and compile full teams to play against computer controlled counterparts. EA’s offering allows for full-on human v human encounters, but Konami’s appears to offer a little more in terms of what you are actually able to do, so I guess only time will tell who excels and truly makes this mode their own.

Konami themselves have stated that this is only a stepping stone to bigger and brighter thing’s for their much-loved franchise and that 2010 is where they are really looking to take the lead in the ongoing race for football supremacy. However, Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 shows a lot of promise as a game in itself, adding and improving upon just enough stuff to make it at least worthy of a look-in.

The big question on everybody’s lips is what changes will they be looking to make in the future and will they have enough time to do it in. Here’s what I would personally like to see, and I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing at least some of these things will soon become reality:

- A more realistic gaming experience. That means a proper offside system where they take into account whether the player standing in an offside position is actually in possession of the ball. I want a handball system implicated, as that is now a huge part of the modern game. I’d like that stupid yellow indicator that tells you where the ball is going to land gone, or at least the option to switch it off. I want to be safe in the knowledge that if I bring in a second player to put pressure on the opponent that he isn’t going to slide in recklessly and cost me a penalty.

- Better editing options. There should be a lot more attributes available to you, such as separate values for crossing and long passing. Players like Steven Gerrard may be fantastic at spraying 40 yard passes down the pitch, but his crosses aren’t always on the money. I’d like more slots for team editing, so I can create all the missing European teams as well as lower leagues such as the English Championship. It would also be nice to lengthen the amount of time your chants play for; it gets tiring having to listen to the same 30 seconds of audio replaying throughout a match. Also the chants should be ongoing and not restart when the ball goes out of play. Another thing I have a major problem with in terms of editing are the player stats, some of them are way off the mark. There were rumors not so long back that Konami were looking to team up with the guys at Football Manager in order to create a more accurate player database but sadly that never came to fruition.

- A completely revamped Master League mode. I’m not talking about a slightly different way of buying players here; I’m talking about a complete overhaul. I want to buy players with real money, not points. I want to be able to take control of international teams as well as clubs. I want to be fired when I’m not doing well and have job offers laid out in front of me when I am. I want a way of charting my progress through management, with how many trophies I’ve won, and a whole host of other stats I can browse through at my leisure. I want the Champions League to be incorporated into it so I don’t have to exit and enter the mode separately every time I want to play in the competition. I want proper leagues laid out, so I start in League 1 or 2 and then eventually progress to the Premier League. I don’t want some random mix of clubs mashed together in fake leagues that mean absolutely nothing to me.

- A regular update system. Let’s put aside the fact that the first time they tried to provide us with any sort of an update they failed spectacularly, but even after they fixed the bugs and it let you patch the game it was out of date from day one, forcing you to fill in the gaps yourself. Then if you consider all the transfers that have happened since then, and the fact that we probably won’t be seeing a January transfer window update, it turns the whole affair into one tedious struggle to keep your game current.

This is just a small sample of the many things’ I’d like changed, and I’m sure you could add a plethora of others yourself. Let’s just hope Konami listen this year and take on board what a large majority of their fans have been crying out for now for quite some time, because if they’re not careful they could find themselves in a relegation battle.

Craig Bryan, NoobFeed

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  • avatar RON

    i've never been a big fan of Pro Evo, but i can asure that this game is going to improve a lot in the next few releases. specially if they improve the facts that you've mentioned.

    Even though I believe that FIFA 09 is much better compared to these two, Pro Evo won't take much time to reach the standard EA has set for FIFA.

    and, i'll definitely check out Pro Evo 2010 + i'm really looking forward to see what EA does to keep 'em as the market leader in near future.

    Posted Feb 13, 2009
  • Very nice article fishdalf. I'm a big fan of PES as well, the game is very realistic and better than FIFA, however it lacks of shiny presentation and layout.

    Posted Feb 14, 2009
  • I've read this article before. On a news paper I suppose. Yes! I've read this article on one of our national dailies. It was almost a year ago, even before NoobFeed started :o


    Very nice article fishdalf. I don't play soccer too much but I can see that PES is making good progress every year and I agree with what ILIAS has said.

    Posted May 13, 2009
  • THIS article, are you sure?

    Posted May 14, 2009
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