Football, Soccer, Futbol, the beautiful game has many names but the simulation genre has long been dominated by Konami’s masterfully crafted Pro Evolution series. Last year’s Wii version introduced motion controls in a way that complimented the action without ever seeming gimmicky or forced. The 2009 iteration of the series keeps the general tone intact but adds several layers to the game play.
Defense has gotten an overhaul as double-teams can be executed seamlessly and cutoff routes can be drawn with the Wii Remote. There are definitely tons of control options and ways to manipulate your team that just aren’t available in the other versions. Newcomers have nothing to worry about thanks to a robust training mode that introduces the Wii Remote control style. That being said, the controls are at times extremely complex. Using the left stick to control players while drawing passing lanes can become overwhelming to those not accustomed to multi-tasking.
Luckily you can choose to play the traditional way with the Classic Controller if you so desire. With this control scheme, the game plays almost identical to the other versions. Passing, shooting, and crosses are all mapped to familiar buttons.
Pro Evoluton Soccer 2009 also ups the ante in terms of presentation. Formation can be controlled and adjusted by dragging and dropping Mii representations of your favorite soccer stars to specified areas of the pitch. You can also step onto the virtual pitch by using your very own Miis. Despite the goofiness, it still plays surprisingly well.
The menus have also been redone and are brighter and more attractive to look at than anything in previous games. The developers also go the extra mile, presenting a hand-drawn version of the manager in the Franchise and Training modes. It doesn’t seem like a big deal at first, but when you spend a lot of time with a game it’s nice to feel that the developers did the same.
Graphically Pro Evolution Wii looks similar to a PS2 game, so those looking for super-realistic models are not going to find them. This may be a turn-off, especially in light of the amazing animations and facial textures present in other sports games. If you are tired of recycled game play mechanics and just want to experience a downright fun soccer experience, Pro Evolution 2009 for Wii will deliver that and more.
Version Reviewed: Wii