UK REVIEW–Although Pro Evolution Soccer fans bought last year’s game in droves, it was unfortunately an all-time low for the series on the Xbox 360. Poor graphics, dreadful presentation, and basic online play failed to make the most of the hardware, and it was a step back in gameplay terms. Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 doesn’t completely redress the balance, but it’s a step in the right direction, with new game modes, an improved editor, and even a Champions League licence. Additionally, this is a more enjoyable game to play thanks to its slower pace, more responsive control system, and simple passing mechanic. Unfortunately these are only small fixes, and though there’s a solid game at the core, it’s one that still fails to keep up with the times.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 continues the series’ accessible and deep gameplay. A couple of key changes bring the gameplay back toward Pro Evo 6, which should make fans of the series feel right at home. The overall pace has been reduced this year, and the ball feels heavier, both of which mean that it’s easier than ever to link passes. The game is also incredibly fluid when you’re trying to link together through-balls and crosses, and moving the ball around generally feels more natural and instinctive than before. However, football is an unpredictable game, and this is something that Pro Evo 2009 really struggles to capture. Part of this is down to the animation system, which lets players change direction quickly but looks outdated and overly procedural. Run a player down the wing and you’ll see his animation routine repeating over and over, and though a fast player can outrun a slower one, there’s no real sense of physical tussling in midfield. This year’s players bounce off of goalposts and one another, but famous players such as Rooney and Ronaldinho have none of their other defining physical qualities.