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Ball-Kicking Video Game Review: Pro Evolution Soccer '09

by Reverend_Danger   May 11, 2009 at 1:00PM  |  Views: 205

It's no big secret that sports game developers approach the Wii differently than other consoles, typically forgoing depth in order to appeal to the system's perceived casual audience. Motion-sensing controls are emphasized above all else, and detailed team management options, strong AI, and in-depth customization features are often left lingering on the sidelines. Pro Evolution Soccer 2009, Konami's second soccer release on Wii, is notable for not skimping out on the options sports fans crave. It’s a substantial improvement over its predecessor, and easily ranks as one of the top sports games on the system.

While the presentation has seen few gains, great strides have been made in the game's design, with the developers introducing both the UEFA Champions League and Master League options. The former lets you either follow the format of Europe's tournament or participate in a free match, while the latter offers franchise-style play that lets you manage a custom or an existing team throughout an endless number of seasons. Of course, you can still create individual matches, participate in a single league, vie for a tournament cup, and try to turn a weak team into a powerhouse by completing match objectives and acquiring star players in the addictive, enhanced Champions Road mode.

Also new this year is a robust editing feature that lets you tweak everything from team uniforms and player attributes to stadium and league names. Other highlights include the ability to save replays, download roster updates, and play a match with a colorful team of Miis. Online support is another step up from last year's game, with greater customization, improved matchmaking, and smoother overall play. You can challenge someone on your friends list or find a random opponent by selecting the free match option. 

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No matter which mode you select, the depth offered by PES 2009 is astounding, and it's hard to imagine anyone remotely interested in soccer feeling disappointed with the available options.

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