Winning Eleven 7


posted 3/22/2004 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
When it comes to sports we Americans tend to be on top of our game. We have a wealth of resources at our disposal so it’s no coincidence that we have the potential to win and dominate every single game on the face of the planet. However there has been one sport that has eluded the clutches of American dominance for the past century and that’s soccer. Thankfully a strong showing by the Americans at the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan helped inject the populous with a sort of footy fever and now the frenzy is in a full fever pitch.

My attachment to Konami’s Winning Eleven goes quite a long ways, back to the Super Nintendo days to be exact. I remember how I used to stay up late at night with my cousins and play Perfect Eleven for hours on end. It was an amazing game and although it was in Japanese, the language barrier didn’t prevent me from enjoying the action. I haven’t revisited the franchise for about six or seven years and I was stunned by the changes, to say the least. In previous years I have become accustomed to the simplistic gameplay of the FIFA and World Tour Soccer franchises but those games are amateur-like in comparison. In short, once you go to Winning Eleven you’ll never want to go back.

There are a number of gameplay modes available; there’s the standard exhibition mode which allows you to pick two teams for some friendly head-to-head action, a tournament mode which allows you to setup a tourney, a League Mode, Cup Mode and the dynasty-like Master Cup Mode. Although there are a number of modes at your disposal you’ll probably spend the bulk of your time in the Master Cup Mode. In it you’ll create a team and then turn them into the next Manchester United. You’ll negotiate contracts, sign players and train your players so that they can compete with the big boys. In addition to these competitive modes you’ll get a pretty in-depth tutorial mode which teaches you the various commands and gameplay elements. If this is your first exposure to the series you should make this your first stop as you’ll be overwhelmed if you try to jump right into the game.

You’ve probably seen those Dodge commercials with the tagline “It’s not more than you need, it’s just more than you thought you did.” And that’s strictly the case with Winning Eleven 7. Before you put the disc into the drive you probably didn’t realize think about having four different types of crosses at your disposal but after having them you won’t be able to live your life without ‘em. You have full control over what happens on the pitch and while it seems cluttered at first, it’s actually much more intuitive than the system that EA Sports’ FIFA series of games employs. You’ll be able to perform the usual assortment of shots, crosses, lobs, passes and slide tackles but the game takes it a step further. While most games have through passes WE7 utilizes the right stick to allow you to pass to any position that you’d like. So let’s say you want to slightly lead that striker but you don’t want to use the automatic through pass. Then you can hold down the right thumbstick and slightly lead him through the defenders instead of relying on the game’s passing mechanism.

Once you’re ready to hit the pitch you’ll discover the most realistic recreation of the sport that we’ve ever seen. It takes the elements that other titles can perform acceptable and kicks them up a notch. In order to do well in this game you really need to have a firm understanding of the sport. Teamwork is the key here and the first person that figures out how to utilize it properly is no doubt going to be the victor. Yes, you have an arsenal of jukes and jives at your disposable but you also have 10 defenders to contend with. Forget about going coast-to-coast here like you could do in FIFA because if it’s not in the real game it’s not in Winning Eleven 7 either. Likewise the ball physics are some of the most realistic that we’ve seen as well. Although the game does have a problem when it comes to recreating the floating nature of clearing passes (they don’t seem to float in the air long enough) it still does an excellent job of portraying lifelike ball physics.
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