Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 PSP Review

Whilst the current generation versions of Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 are looking a little over the hill, on the PSP this is obviously much less of a problem. The game itself may have changed little from the handheld version of last year, although there’s enough new modes and options to encourage the upgrade.

I can only wonder as to why – despite purchasing the rights to the licence – the UEFA Champions League is absent from this version. If I was to speculate, UMD space restrictions would perhaps come to mind, although perhaps there’s some other reason for it being left out. There’s still time for its inclusion on the PSP (in some form or another) from next year and beyond, as Konami have the licence to the competition for another few years yet.

Pro Evolution Soccer on the PSP continues to impress, this year, whilst lacking the Champions League, the new Become a Legend mode is intact along with the Master League, cup and league competitions, ad-hoc play, the PSP exclusive World Tour challenge mode, the edit mode (which allows those who are bothered, to correct all the team and player names and whatnot that have been held back by Konami’s lack of licences) and the inclusion of online play.

Become a Legend is very similar to the console versions, you create a player (choosing from either a striker or midfield position, as nobody likes defending apparently), sign a contract with a team and then aim towards getting a regular first team spot with the club that you represent, eventually receiving transfer offers from bigger and better clubs. Life begins as a mere benchwarmer (you can speed matches up whilst you are a spectator if you are eager to play), although you’ll have to get off your backside and play some football if your AI manger decides to bring you on, in order to prove your talents. There’s no inter-squad matches on this version which isn’t exactly a crying matter, what’s worse is that the default Become a Legend camera swings around too much and is a little too close to the action, though it’s also possible to switch to the normal camera view. Both cameras are functional enough, although none of them are completely ideal, having their own strengths and weaknesses. The mode may be slimmed down in a few areas but with most of the major elements in place we should all be grateful.

The other big addition is the arrival of online play, although in my own experience I have encountered a lot of lag and by lag I mean real nasty lag, the kind that is still playing catch up to first half kick off when you reach second half kick off, this is an exaggeration of massive proportions perhaps, but it’s certainly far from as smooth as it should be. I’ve also seen rare smooth games and that’s what Konami’s series has always been about, a smooth game of football.

The game itself is basically unchanged, offering the fast paced and responsive gameplay that the series is renowned for, but Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 on the PSP has some new modes that fans will appreciate. The online mode may be struggling at the moment, although the Become a Legend mode can be engrossing at times as your player grows in talent and you start getting the big boys interested in you. If you’re looking for a completely different game over last year’s then you’ll be disappointed, if new modes and a few tweaks will suffice then you’ve probably already made the upgrade.