Winning Eleven 6
Score: 9.0 / 10
the series first started Japanese and European gamers have enjoyed
Winning Eleven for its ability to so accurately recreate pro soccer.
There have been plenty of other franchises to come along, but
Konamiís game of electronic footy has easily become the benchmark to
which all challengers are compared.
Now, for the first time in years the game has made its way to
North American shores (the last time we saw this being in the form of
International Superstar Soccer on the PSX).
Thereís a bit of a learning curve to this beast that may be a
bit daunting for some, but if you put in a few hours to get a handle on
the gameís play mechanics what youíll find is a very rewarding
Getting started with some regular matches is a good idea in Winning Eleven 6 (WE6) simply to get a handle on the controls and overall flow of the game. The biggest stumbling block will come in getting used to the power gauges when passing and shooting. This is used in place of having each button having a different level of strength of passing and one all-encompassing shoot button like many other titles in the genre tend to cling to. Firstly there are three types of passes: short pass, through pass, and lobbing/centering passes. Having this level of control adds so much to the game, making it feel far more realistic as players are given far more strategic options in how they can move the ball up the field. But going back to the power gauges, when a player initially hits one of the pass buttons or the shoot button the gauge quickly begins to fill up. Hitting the same button again releases the ball at a velocity relative to how full the gauge is. In terms of passing it doesnít take long to get used to this, but when it comes to shooting on the goal thereís adjusting will likely take longer. This is largely due to the fact that once you get into shooting range of the opponentís goal the defenders will really start coming after you so stress comes into play, often resulting in botched shots that send the ball
soaring over the net. Once players have cooler heads and are more accustomed to dealing with defenders it becomes easier to line up shots and actually get them on target.
When on defense things are a lot more straightforward with the standard mix of putting pressure on opponents and running in for a sliding tackle. WE6 is, however, far less forgiving on missed tackles to take the ball. Unless itís a very mild grazing expect to get at least a yellow card, and
if you totally
take out the opponent kiss your defender goodbye because the ref is
likely going to treat him to a red card.
Itís a very nice, far more realistic approach to defense that
encourages finesse and learning to play with subtly and not trying to
pummel the other team into submission.
into a game it also becomes apparent very quickly that the AI is damn
good. They really move the
ball down the field well on offense, and on defense they know how to put
pressure on players and clog up routes for passing.
Expect to spend a good amount of time in the mid-field waiting
for an opportunity to push toward the goal just like a real game.
And once you get down there the AI will really put on the
pressure, making it a real challenge to get into the box for a
reasonably reliable clean shot. WE6
definitely is not a game of run and gun, youíll have to be patient and
know when to strike, not just constantly push up the field and shoot
wildly hoping that the ball gets in the net.
all of this on-screen is a mixed bag, however.
The animation of the players is top-notch, staying very smooth
the whole time. But the
overall detail of the player models and the stadiums is lacking when
compared to the likes of the FIFA series or SEGA Soccer Slam.
Overall, the visual presentation of WE6 is still easy on the
eyes, but itís by no means at the top of the heap.
sound does fair a bit better though.
The crowd sound is respectable, though not nearly as team
specific as the FIFA series and the music during menu screens is a nice
mix of electronic tunes. The
announcers, though, need some work.
More accurately they need more to say.
It doesnít take long to run through the selection of comments
they can make in game before players have cycled through all of them.
On the plus side, players can choose the disposition of the
announcers determining whether theyíre pro home team, pro visitors,
neutral, and so forth. Despite
this, it would have been nice to see them saying more while the game is
being played. They do a
nice job of playing good cop/bad cop, but they arenít too wordy about
are plenty of game modes for players to sink their teeth into as well,
including Match, Cup, League, Master League, Training, and Edit.
Also there is plenty of tweaking available to players who want to
adjust their teamsí appearance, field formations, and so forth.
The variety of play modes and level of customization will keep
most gamers that like to get into the nitty-gritty very happy.
does a wonderful job of providing gamers with a very true to form soccer
simulation. If youíre
looking for a title that makes every effort to step away from the arcade
style soccer games currently inhabiting store shelves in North America
you can do no wrong going with this game.
It takes some time to get used to but it is well worth the
effort. A fantastic game.
(May 4, 2003)
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