Winning Eleven 6 International Review (PS2)
There are a few titles in the gaming community that are as good as advertised. When the talk about WE6 (orginal Japanese release) and WE6:FE hit many sports forums, few thought the game was nearly as good as advertised. The critics were silenced when the game released and even though soccer gaming fans are few and far between WE6 ranks as one of the best titles of the year.
The game has stayed true to it’s roots ever since it was released for the Playstation. The game has many standard modes to play. It will let you play a season with international teams, it will let you set-up any tournament you want. And it includes a master league mode where you build your team up through good play buying and selling international and club stars to move your team up from the lower divisions.
Where the game falls short and this is inexcusable for any game released for the next generations titles is that there are a limited amount of teams. For most in the U.S., it’s not a big deal if you only have the biggest clubs and most of the international teams. But when other games can put in more clubs and even leagues then the question for Konami is, Why can’t Winning Eleven X have league or even more clubs. The other missing part of WE6 is league play. You get the Master League but that’s taking the best teams around the world.
I guess that’s the strength of the game where it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t have every team or player and gamers are still satisfied with the game.
I’m going to take a little lenience from the normal review. Most gamers have not played a Winning Eleven title. And there’s a few die-hards that import the game every chance they get. Instead of just giving you a basic run down of what WE6’s gameplay is like, I’m going to do it from the stance that many have only experienced “FIFA” soccer.
The first and most important thing about the game that makes it the best playing soccer title is the amount of variety in the game. Goals never seem to develop the same way. That’s important when most EA Sports’ titles have the money “score”. Where a certain set of events usually lead to a score. WE6 doesn’t have any of that or it’s well hidden that even experienced players don’t see it.
The reason for the variety is the fact that there is a definite variance between good plays and great players. I’m not going to go as far to say that Zidane plays like Zidane in the game but for the most part great players can get more scoring opportunities. And the abilities of players are set up in a way to make players weaknesses show. For example, when you start your Master League, you might want to pick up Babaginda. He’s a speedy mid-fielder. He’s lightning on the pitch but when you try and tee one up with him, more often than not, you get a weak offline shot. Where as a player like Viera isn’t as quick but has a deadly foot and not to mention is a wall, in the middle. I think most of this comes with the “correct” attributes for players. You might disagree with some of the ratings but when the detail is enough to make players have “bad” feet you know you have a good game.
The other part that makes WE6:I a cut above is the “unknown” factor. Once again diehards will probably win more often than not, but the game isn’t one of those games that when you figure it out, it’s all over.
Some other things that the game gets right is mid-field play and defending. All too often, football titles think the way to make a game exciting is by abusing the slide tackle. In WE6, it makes no qualms about not letting you get away with that. The only tackle that gets abused is the shoulder tackle but then again that’s just football.
The game isn’t the “newest” version that is available. What difference does that make? WE6: Final Evolution was released late last year. WE6:I is really more of a port of the European Pro Evolution Soccer 2 that was released in QTR 3. That means that you aren’t getting the latest or the greatest version of the WE series.
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO
One of the complaints that many gamers, this side of the pond, have is that it doesn’t have the best looking graphics or animations. Well I couldn’t disagree more. EA Sports makes its living off mo-capped moves and face scans. That’s fine if you only play a game for it’s graphics. WE6:I goes one-up in functional graphics. Far too often in other titles you get set into a mo-capped move and have to watch, often to horror, while it finishes out. This game has a different approach in that the players seem to react to the ball. Not a big deal when we talk about graphics, right? When players make adjustments to the ball and the animations are representative of that then, you know you have a world-class title.
The commentary and stadium sounds are a little poor. Once again this comes from a port of the European version. I’ll just say this about the commentary – it’s in English. After playing the Japanese version of the game it’s nice to hear a language I understand but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. The Japanese version was energetic and encompassing, while the commentary here is just “there”.
I could live with sub-par commentary if the crowd chants were good. Well they aren’t. You play in a lifeless stadium with a crowd that rarely gets excited or sings. That might not mean much to U.S. gamers but let’s just say a real footie game has more atmosphere then one could imagine.
It’s the game many gamers have been waiting for but Konami needs to spend some valuable time with this title to push it over the edge. If it’s one the best playing sports titles made how does it not stack up? For starters Konami is acting like EA Sports in a different way. Instead of relying on graphics and frills, Konami is putting all it’s eggs in the gameplay basket. They figure that if they improve that and leave other parts a bit lacking people will still enjoy it. I suppose that’s not that bad and we can almost count on great playing games down the line. The whole soccer gaming universe lives and breathes tournaments, leagues and team soccer. WE6 offers two out of three with great gameplay. That’s enough for right now, but they need to add more teams and season play to move Winning Eleven to the next level.