I’m a fairly recent convert to the Winning Eleven/Pro Evolution Soccer series, but there are people, some of whom I know personally, who are absolutely fanatical about this series and will buy every version regardless of how minor the tweaks and improvements are. What should be noted it that these tweaks for WE9 are minor, and I know that this is something that EA are endlessly criticised for in their annually updated games, but the difference is that here they’re refining what is already the closest thing to real football in game form, not fixing a broken game. Nobody objects to annual updates on principle (I don’t, at least), but people do object when the game doesn’t actually get any better.
Token EA bash out of the way, this is everything you love about the series. The flow of the game is still impeccable and has been improved with a slightly more liberal implementation of the advantage rule – now a borderline foul will be allowed to slide (ROFL) if the victim’s team retains possession. It’s a tiny detail, but it means fewer interruptions to play which is always a good thing when you want to play instead of waiting for the set play to be set up.
That’s the single biggest change that I noticed, but I’m only someone who came into the series with PES3 and all but skipped PES4. I’m sure that someone who put in hundreds of hours could reel off lists of tweaks (I’ve been told that the goalkeepers are less inept, but I’ve still seen some pretty nasty blunders). All I can tell you is that it’s a fantastic game and just brilliant if you have some friends to play against in the same room. It has network play for Japanese players but you can’t beat the feeling of being next to the person you just slipped a shot past.
Something that’s definitely intriguing but will have to wait until I can get my hands on Ubiquitous Edition, the PSP version, is that one of the options in the main options menu is a PSP linkup, and going into it prompts you to connect your PSP with its version of WE9 in PS2 connection mode. Chances are it won’t be anything more interesting than the ability to share data between console and portable versions, but as far as I know this marks the first time that a PSP game will be able to connect to the PS2 by USB, and the ability to continue the league that you’ve been working through at home when you go on holiday is undeniably very cool.
Well worth getting then, and I’ll hopefully put together a full review when I get the English version.