Does authenticity matter?1) The game modes are better
‘Be A Pro’ mode, which allows you to play as an individual player in any position on the pitch(apart from goalkeeper) was brilliant in FIFA 08, but this year it has evolved into an even better experience, thanks to the smooth-running 10 vs 10 online play. When you get a group of like-minded individuals together, it's absolutely brilliant – arguably the finest game mode to have ever graced a football game.
Konami has attempted to copy, extremely poorly, FIFA’s ‘Be A Pro Mode’, with its own watered-down version, ‘Become a Legend, but it doesn’t really compare.
Not only does it have far less options on the pitch to ‘Be A Pro’, for example, you can’t play as a defender, or prompt your team-mate to pass or shoot, it’s 2 vs 2 online component makes a mockery of the word ‘team-work’ - which is essentially what the game mode is all about – by making us use text chat instead of voice comms. The 1990’s it ain’t!
Yeah, yeah, you can argue that you can muck around in PES 2009’s in-depth edit mode all day long, crafting together a team that resembles those in the real-world, but for me, it’s a waste of time, I want to be playing football right from the off.
So, Konami has made strides this year with a clutch of new licenses, but you’ve still got the likes of West Midlands Village (you wouldn’t believe how much that annoys Aston Villa fans) and London FC, in the, supposedly authentic, UEFA Champions League game mode.
PES 2009 has got an authentic recreated version of the likes of the Stadio Olimpico di Torino and Wembley stadium, which certainly adds a degree of authenticity, but FIFA boasts, by far, a more authentic game, with player models that actually look like their real-life counterparts, real team names, real kits, real players and real leagues.
This includes graphics, audio and menu design. Navigating through the wealth of options in FIFA 09 is a breeze thanks to a slick, stream-lined menu system that simply requires a nudge of the thumbstick. As a result, you can get into an online match, check the leaderboards or jump into manager mode with little effort.
The garish pop-art style menu of PES hurts my eyes. You can jump into a game easily enough, unless it’s online where you’ll have to choose a lobby and then hunt around for a decent connection, but generally it all feels like I’ve somehow got stuck in a time-warp. There’s no real pazaz or style.
Both games offer some great music off the pitch, but on the pitch FIFA comes up trumps with fan chants that follow the pattern of the game. PES 2009’s audio looping and constant 'ssssssssssssh' noise that sounds like you’ve got your TV tuned into a channel with no signal, just grates on me.
Graphically, FIFA has the edge again this year with accurate player models and stunning entrance scenes.