Even though last year’s Pro Evo had strange teleporting issues when it came to multiplayer, I still persevered with it for 12 months. Now 2009’s out, it’s time to put that one aside and see if this one improves on last year’s effort. The good news is online is now smoother to play but does have some brand new issues. More about that later, but first, what’s the single player like.
The first thing you’ll notice is the menus are all bright and Wii-like. And good news for me, Liverpool finally get to be in the game without being called Merseyside Red. They’ve also got the Champions League license which I find enjoyable – playing as my favourite team it’s fun trying to get through the group stages then get to the finals over home and away matches. The problem is, once you do it, you probably won’t want to play this mode again.
Master League mode is back and looking a bit tired year after year and they’ve got a new mode called Become A Legend. It would be easy to say they’ve just copied Fifa’s Be A Pro mode but actually this mode has been available in Japan’s game for a couple of years now. In it you can create a player and even scan in your face, then play in a position, getting scouted if you’re good or told to sit on the bench if your form dips. It’s ok but my main gripe is no instant feedback in how you’re doing unlike Fifa’s mode. It’s also not as dynamic. The camera doesn’t zoom in when you get close and go all Burnout Paradise on you.
Gameplay has been worked on from scratch and it does actually show. Although Mark Lawrenson’s commentary is as dull as dishwater, some of the player models are very impressive and the ball and the players do behave differently.
Things have been slowed down a touch and now sprinting doesn’t launch you into turbo mode past slower defenders. Players also have more momentum so can sometimes overshoot the ball and get in each other’s way. It’s realistic but actually just serves to frustrate and slow down the fluidity of the game.
When online you can play 2 vs 2 if you like and take your created player online to mix it with the pros in Legends Mode. Thankfully you can now select servers to connect to and see the connection before you start to help prevent lag. Even though there’s no terrible lag, on the 360 at least, the game does currently suffer from tearing right across the middle of the pitch – it’s if you’re playing it on a PC.
In all PES 2009 does offer another fun footy outing, it’s just that Fifa 09 this year has so much more to give and that extra polish. That means for the first time ever, Fifa outscores Pro Evo. The 2009 outing of PES gets 8 out of 10.