Football hasn't been NGamer's friend lately. The teams we support are all embroiled in relegation scraps, so chances are that someone is going to be weeping into their scarf come the final day of the season. Which makes the arrival of the new Pro Evo all the more timely, as we can escape into a lovely fantasy football world where an edited Plymouth Argyle side can hammer AC Milan 8-0 in a cup quarter final. This, friends, is the beautiful game.
Glancing back at our review of last year's game, which we loved and heaped 89% of praise upon, we discover that the few niggles we did have are ironed out in the 2009 offering. If you were a fan of 2008, there are sufficient advances both on and off the pitch to merit splashing your cash. Let's take a look at the ones on the pitch first.
Defence has greatly improved. You've now got full control over your player's movement and timing when going in for a challenge, unlike last year's somewhat random point-click-and-hope semi-automatic affair. You can still bring in a second, AI-controlled player to close down an opponent, though.
Goals goals goals
In front of goal, you can now use the remote to direct where you want to shoot, which is very tough to get to grips with but ultimately more rewarding than the timed nunchuk-shake (which is still part of the control set-up). The incredibly detailed training camp tutorials are a must for getting your head around the system or you'll be firing blanks for ages.
The rest of the on-pitch action plays very much as before, which is fine by us. However, it's a very different game if you elect to use the newly implemented Classic Controller option. Do this and you've essentially got yourself the game that has been doing the rounds on PS2 for years.
In terms of options, this is a far beefier package. We've waxed lyrical about the Master League so often we're even boring ourselves, but suffice to say its inclusion here is great after last year's mysterious absence.
There's more meat to the Champions Road mode, too, where you're given tasks to complete that will improve your club house and suchlike in addition to winning new players. There's a full edit mode as well, meaning you can cheekily change all the rubbish names to the real ones and sort the kits out too.
While many licences are still absent, the jewel in the crown of this year's PES is a fully fledged Champions League mode. Sadly, not a competition any of our teams will be enjoying next season.
Buy PES: Play
FC Konami deliver another excellent game of football. The additions and on-pitch improvements mean this is well worth forking out for. The lads done good.