While the Xbox 360 and PS3 are relatively similar in terms of power and how games are developed for them, Nintendo’s Wii is a completely different beast, requiring a entirely separate approach when games are developed.
The same applies to Konami’s long-running Pro Evolution Soccer series. For its 2008 edition, the publisher held off releasing the Wii version until the following spring in order to give the game the time required to get the most out of Nintendo’s unique console. It was released to favourable reviews and sold well, prompting Konami to continue this more careful focus on future iterations.
For PES 2009, the publisher’s PES Team has built on the success of its 2008 predecessor, finely tuning the game’s mechanics and controls to the Wii’s specifications in order to provide the ultimate football experience for the console’s demographic.
“PES 2009 for Wii continues the innovative stance of its predecessor, and adds a wealth of new elements, so our hopes for this game are very high,” says PES Team leader Jon Murphy.
“Last year’s game demonstrated that the series can still surprise, and this year’s game offers massive leaps in virtually every area.”
As with any Wii game, control is key. By now developers have largely got to grips with how the Wii Remote and Nunchuk can be used, but there is still room for improvement. As a result, PES 2009 on Wii will boast no less than three control methods, with the principle one being the intuitive ‘point and drag’ control scheme from last year’s game.
This interface has now been enhanced, making it more instinctive to defend and shoot in the middle of tense matches. Players use the Nunchuk or Remote to control the player currently in possession of the ball, while simultaneously selecting the footballer they wish to pass to, or direct them into a new area for a safer pass.
“Players will have total control, simple as that,” says Murphy. “We have listened to feedback about last year’s game and taken the point and click system forward. As a result, shooting, passing and tackling have been targeted, and are now easier to effect and contribute to the flow of the game much more.”
While this will suit many Wii gamers, other control options have also been introduced in order to cater for a wider audience. Players can now use the Classic Controller or Wii Remote held sideways to control PES 2009, offering more traditional PES controls by allocating the various chips, shots and balls to individual buttons on each controller.
These new systems become particularly useful in co-operative mode. As two players take to the pitch side-by-side, one uses the standard point and click setup while the other uses a Classic Controller or Wii Remote. The second player can then direct the other players on the pitch, setting up easier passes and shots for the first player.
The additional control schemes also expand the target audience of the games beyond hardcore gaming football fans.
“The introduction of a new ‘classic’ control system that uses either the retro joypad or a Wii Remote means that PES 2009 can be played in two ways: one for the ardent fans and one for the novice,” Murphy explains. “Both offer all the control you would expect from a PES game, but within two very different control systems.”
NEW TO THE PITCH
Two key inclusions are the new single player modes. Firstly, the UEFA Champions mode now allows fans to work their way through the popular European football club competition.
Secondly, the new Master League mode challenges players to take a lowly team from bottom of the league to championship glory by hiring key talent and employing the best tactics in each match they play.
Gameplay options from the 2008 version also make a return, but have undergone several improvements.
The Champions Road mode has also been expanded. This is an incentive-based scenario in which players are presented with a series of individual challenges, such as scoring a hat-trick or stringing multiple passes together.
Success yields cash bonuses, which can be invested in improving their chosen club’s facilities, with everything from oxygen capsules to private jets available for purchase, all of which will entice better players to the team.
The game’s online mode has also been improved, catering for up to eight players facing off against each other in two teams of four across two consoles. Alternatively, friends can enjoy four-player matches offline, even using their Mii avatars on the pitch.
“With its stunning brand recognition, and awareness of the quality of the Wii game high from last year’s version, retail can expect a strong seller,” says Murphy. “New elements such as Champions League, the new control elements and Master League will make PES 2009 for Wii one of Spring’s big hitters.”