Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 PSP
Published by: Konami
Developed by: Konami
Release Date: Out Now
It seems hard to believe there was once a time when the Pro Evolution Soccer series was confined to one format. Just a few years ago you had to own a PlayStation 2 if you wanted to play the best football game on the market but for the last few years you've been able to play the latest in the series on a variety of formats. Even handheld consoles have not been forgotten and the game has been the best football game you can purchase on the PSP for at least the last couple of years. Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 is the best game in the series to arrive on the PSP so far but it's not a major improvement on last year's game.
The modes on offer in PES 2009 are: Match, Become A Legend, Master League, World Tour, League, Cup, Wireless (for Infrastructure and Ad Hoc multiplayer games), Training and Edit. If you've played PES 2009 on one of the other formats you've probably already noticed that the officially licensed UEFA Champions League mode is missing from the PSP version and that's a real shame. The new mode this time around is the Become A Legend mode which enables you to create your own player and take him through a virtual career. Other than that the game isn't a lot different from last year's PES 2008 aside from the updated teams and kits and the licensed Liverpool and Man United teams.
With the other modes in the game being practically unchanged from last year's game, the single mode of interest in PES 2009 is the Become A Legend mode. You'll begin by creating your player and choosing their nationality, a league in which to start your career and your position before getting to tinker with their attribute ratings. With this done you'll get to play a match with a team you've never heard of, before getting to sign a contract with one of the teams who are interested in your services. Whilst it's certainly a good mode it's hampered by an awful camera that does its level best to disorientate you. You can't even switch to a traditional camera angle so you're stuck with a view that's far too close to the player. To make it worse it spins round when you get the ball and turns round to head for your opponents goal which is rather jarring.
Graphically the game hasn't changed a lot from PES 2008, with the exception of the new team kits of course. This isn't really a problem as PES 2008 was a good looking game and the same can be said for PES 2009. The game has taken on the rather grotesque menu artwork that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game had which is a little unfortunate. Load times are still on the long side and it takes around a minute for a match to load up (at least it does on an original PSP). The frame rate is absolutely fine and it was great to see how smooth the game plays. There aren't as many camera angles available in the PSP version of PES 2009 but I had no problems whatsoever with those that have been included (with the exception of the one used in Become A Legend mode).
PES 2009 won't give deaf gamers any problems. Whilst the Xbox 360 version we've looked at had match commentary, the PSP barely has any at all. There are a few comments made when a goal is scored but that's about it. All of the other information in the game is displayed visually either through the use of text, numbers or icons. In the World Tour mode for instance, all of the scenario objectives are shown in text so you'll know what you need to do in each of the games you play. All of the information in the Become A Legend mode is also shown visually. A yellow line will highlight when you're offside or not and the cursor above your player's head will flash when you request a pass.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 manages to surpass last year's PES 2008 by way of offering smoother performance during games and supporting Infrastructure as well as Ad Hoc wireless play meaning you'll have more of a chance of experiencing multiplayer games this year. Whilst the Become A Legend mode is a good addition, the poor camera makes it frustrating and most will prefer to play the modes that have returned from last year. All things considered then, PES 2009 is another fine addition to the handheld's catalogue of football games and the best Pro Evolution Soccer title to arrive on the PSP so far.