Elsewhere, changes are subtle and occasionally rather basic, or still lacking. Free-kicks now involve pointing to the left or right of the keeper and swinging the nunchuk (likewise, goalkeepers can opt for left or right), with player skill determining success or failure. But things like corners and diagonal runs into the box are still too generous, with a disproportionate number of headed goals and low drives nestling in the bottom corner, and nothing much seems to have been done about this. Playing as my beloved Liverpool, with Torres or Gerrard marauding from the right, scores quickly ballooned into absurdity (or perhaps not on the last two weeks' evidence - can I get away with that?), and while I couldn't bring myself to test it out, I was grimly aware of Manchester United's success rate once the ball entered the box in the air and all I could do was flap the nunchuk and hope the instruction to clear would see Carragher or Skrtel prevail against Ronaldo for once.
While it's less of an issue away from the statistical willy-waving of the modern next-gen PES and FIFA battle, it's also a shame that a football game released in late March isn't up to date on transfers, with Robbie Keane, for instance, still knocking them in for Liverpool (or not). The addition of the Champions League and Master League goes some way to making up for this, along with last year's Champions Road, but a game apparently designed for patient, relatively hardcore football gamers who want to master exciting, dynamic team play, it's a bit of a letdown. The Nintendo WFC page in-game has a download option for acquiring new data, but there's nothing available at the time of writing. Updates will be a prerequisite for playing online though, and overwrite Edit Mode changes.
Fortunately, if things don't go your way with the new control scheme, you can at least resort to playing PES the old way, as Konami has included a traditional option that brings PES 2009 closer to the other console versions using the classic controller or sideways Wiimote. It means you're playing a competent, increasingly antiquated regular football game, but a good one nonetheless. You can also continue to play against friends online, and what lag there is doesn't really interfere too much with your sense of control using the pointer system. Support for four players per system is welcome too, so you can all delight in beating Barcelona, the Ryu and Ken of PES games, together.
Overall, viewed in a broader context than simply its Wii competition, Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 is still second best to the excellent FIFA 09 on PS3 and 360, but while I certainly wouldn't make it my only football game, it's still sufficiently different that it complements EA's game and transcends the many competitive disadvantages PES 2009 faces on those consoles. Given the learning curve, some will continue to side with EA and Activision's assertion that Wii games shouldn't be made this way, but the difference here is that Konami's wilfully obscure controls unlock things about the sport that a traditional control system cannot, and for that reason PES 2009 for Wii comes strongly recommended. There's still a fair bit for Konami to sort out, and if you're still happily enjoying the first PES Wii game you might wonder if you need this one at all, but if you like the sound of the things that have changed then you have your answer.
8 / 10