|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Konami||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 11, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Online play allows gamers who prefer the PES take on soccer over EA's FIFA titles to play likeminded gamers online. Those who were disappointed in last year's online offering from PES may not be thrilled with this year's, as it continues to offer somewhat limited capabilities for a 2009 offering. Online, gamers will only be able to partake in on-on-one exhibition matches in five or ten-minute lengths. Whereas full-team online sports games have been made extremely popular in 2008, PES 09 doesn't offer anything of the sort, nor does it offer any other mini-games or match types. Next-gen consoles offer four-player online play for PES 09, though such variety is disappointingly left out for the PS2 and PSP. It's unfortunate that the online features of PES 09 are simply not up-to-date with what is to be expected this year.
Even with the abundance of new features and capabilities, overall, 09 feels very similar to past PES titles. Commentary by John Champion and Mark Lawrenson still remains as dull as ever with vague descriptions of what is actually happening onscreen that can and are used in any number of situations. Player movements and stadium sound effects feel as though they haven't been changed in years. Animations of refs carding a player and celebrations after a scored goal are reused from past years. The same sequences of replays are shown after a half or at the end of a game, from the exact same camera angles. Any fan of the series will be overcome with an uneasy feeling of familiarity, as 09 feels far too unchanged from recent installments.
While Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 doesn't stray from the beaten path solidified by the series, earning its reputation of a great soccer simulation, those who own recent installments are not given enough reason to purchase this year's offering. The inclusion of a few new features looks impressive when listed on the back cover, though they are anything but when actually put to use. It's unfortunate for a series of games that I have always enjoyed playing.
CCC Freelance Writer