FIFA 09 is decent enough to keep you busy for a long time, but its shortcomings keep this game from becoming intriguing.

User Rating: 6.5 | FIFA 09: All-Play WII
For years, the annual FIFA game has been an obligatory addition to the library of any console. While the series managed to gain some ground on the Pro Evolution Soccer games, however, FIFA's Wii debut was all but satisfactory. The developers made a decent attempt at implementing Wii controls, but the lack of an ability to play with more traditional controls made FIFA 08 for the Wii feel incomplete.

This problem has been addressed, however, in All-Play, the Wii version of FIFA 09. Players now have the ability to experiment with various control types. While the option to control the game with the Wiimote and the Nunchuck is by no means broken, more fanatic players will generally opt for the Gamecube or Classic Controller to assist them in becoming the world's most successful football trainer. The Wiimote tends to refuse to register shots well, and the addition of motion controls really adds little to the gameplay in general. Waving around a remote control is quite literally a large step away from shooting a ball, and the essential point of motion controls is making the gameplay experience more believable.

Apart from a broad selection of input methods, All-Play has some other extras in store to compensate for the Wii's lack of technical power. The new Footii mode, for example, is an arcade spin-off from the football gameplay we're used to, and lets gamers play as themselves, or as the Mii representations of football stars such as Ronaldinho and Franck Ribéry, in a quirky 8 vs. 8 football match. The Miis can also be used for some mini games, such as table football, practising free kicks, and similar objectives. All of these games are nicely done, but they fail to provide the title with a considerable amount of extra depth, which is why you'll quickly turn back to the 'real' thing after having explored the aforementioned modes.

Luckily for football fans, FIFA 09: All-Play does everything necessary you would expect from a football game. The very deep manager mode is back, as well as situational challenges which can be played to unlock some extras. The on-field gameplay itself is as solid as ever. The Wii version, however, has a new element that makes the game a bit more interesting: the advantage meter. As you pass around the ball more without it being stolen by the opposition, the meter will rise, as if the team builds up more confidence. A full meter will enable your players to run faster and shoot more precisely. It may be a bit too arcade-like for purists, but it does add a whole new dimension to the gameplay, as the choice between passing the ball or going in solo is now more difficult than ever.

Naturally, EA didn't add all these new features because they like Wii owners so much. They are meant to compensate for All-Play's obviously inferior looks compared to the 360 and PS3 versions of FIFA 09. From a graphical point of view, this game looks quite poor, even with the near inevitable suffix 'for a Wii game' attached to it. The player models look way too basic, and some of the movements don't look natural at all.

Soundwise, this game is not as bad, but there still are some things that need drastic improvement. The Dutch commentary is downright dreadful (yours truly is from Holland), and you can only switch to English commentary by altering the language settings of the Wii system itself, which is especially tedious. A lot of the commentary is imprecise and buggy as well, seeing as the commentators will regularly refer to penalties and fouls that did not take place on the field at all.

This unpolished impression only becomes greater when you attempt to go online. The connection is often dodgy, and it's not seldom that, while loading an online match, you get an error message, causing you to have to find an online opponent all over again. It's clear that this is the fault of the game rather than the connection of individual users, seeing as similar errors occur much more scarcely in other Wii online games such as Mario Kart Wii and The Conduit.

But despite of its shortcomings, FIFA 09: All-Play is a reasonable option for Wii owners who would like to play a few matches of football without necessarily having to resort to mastering potentially awkward motion controls. Some fun new additions such as the advantage meter and the all-new Footii mode succeed in stretching this game's lifespan for a bit, but they aren't elements that break or make this game. The game itself is decent enough to keep you occupied for many bored moments to come, even if it is a bit too superficial on the long run. The faulty online mode and a few technical shortcomings, however, keep this game from becoming really intriguing. The manager mode may last for 15 seasons, but the gameplay itself is probably a little too monotonous to keep things interesting for such a long time.