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Football Fanzone: PES 2009 game review

  • Story Highlights
  • CNN Football Fanzone reviews Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2009
  • PES 2009 is little changed from previous incarnations in the series
  • Reviewer: While flawed, PES 2009 is still good fun in offline two-player mode
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By Neale Graham
For CNN
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (PES) has a tough task on its hands. Not only does FIFA look good, it plays well too -- and gameplay was always the area where PES had the edge.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is the cover star of Pro Evolution Soccer 2009.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is the cover star of Pro Evolution Soccer 2009.

If you've played a PES game before you'll know what to expect, which is both a plus and a minus, depending on your point of view.

The ball pings around nicely, the weight of pass remains just about right and long passes are much improved. It mostly feels like a game of computer football should.

The game plays fast and given shots from distance almost never fly in, scoring is still a challenge and goals still get you punching the air.

For a series that's always short on official team and league licenses -- leading to silly-sounding approximations of players' names (Ryan Gills anyone?) and daft team titles -- PES gains the UEFA Champions League, which is a small coup.

Read our FIFA 09 review here.

Game modes are much the same as before, including the venerable Master League, but the new addition of Be A Legend, where you try to take one player to the top, does not feel finished.

The graphics are serviceable, with some player likenesses uncanny and others way off. The sound is no better than average and the commentary remains hit and miss. And it's not unfair to say the game menus and their annoying and repetitive music are badly in need of a revamp.

Online play is not great and given the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are built for broadband multiplayer, PES is lagging -- literally.

Football Fanzone
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You might say the game needs revolution rather than evolution and for next season's release publishers Konami must up their game.

Nevertheless, PES' reputation is built on a fun offline two-player experience and nothing has changed there.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 might not be cutting-edge in its presentation and options, but you still can't beat a 10-minute match with a mate beside on you on the sofa.

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