World Tour Soccer 2003

Review

posted 3/1/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
There are two words that can bring any avid gamers to his or her knees, 989 Sports, but recently something has happened. NFL Gameday wasn’t actually that bad, NBA Shootout was pretty damn good and from nowhere, World Tour Soccer took the gaming world by storm. Suddenly, 989 Sports was looking like a contender again.

This year’s franchise successfully builds on the momentum from last year’s edition, giving gamers more of what made the original so appealing. It’s much deeper thanks to the career mode, it’s little prettier thanks to some cleaned up visuals and it’s more entertaining, thanks to some essential gameplay tweaks. All of this combines to form a game that may not be the best soccer game on the market, but a good one nonetheless.

When the game begins there are some problems that are very symbolic of how the rest of the game plays. You see, the game is plagued by some extremely long load times. Nearly every single facet of the game comes with a long wait time, starting up the game, starting a match, navigating between menus, in-match battles between refs and players, everything. There are some serious problems here, I would really like to see a more sleek and streamlined game next time around.

Thankfully the game does a pretty good job of recreating the game of soccer when you hit the pitch. Most of the tactics and techniques that help you succeed in the real game of soccer are pretty useful here. That means that the emphasis is heavily placed on team play as opposed to ball-hogging. Sure guys like Ronaldo might be able to create plays and score off of their own dribbles every once in awhile but if you follow the sport, you’ll realize that it’s the cohesive teams that have the most success. World Tour Soccer follows this mantra, essentially forcing you to use nearly every player on the pitch in order to create a scoring opportunity.

Probably every single team you could think of has been included in this title. All of the world’s most renowned leagues, such as the Premier League, make an appearance here alongside other lesser known leagues, such as the MLS. What’s nice is you can match up teams from different leagues against each other, want to see how the LA Galaxy fares against Manchester United? Or how about that dream match up of Iraq vs. Iran? Go ahead and play around to your heart’s content.

There are plenty of modes to cut your teeth on, your usual exhibition, season and tournament modes and this year’s highlight, the career mode. Career mode is probably where you’ll spend the majority of your time. This mode puts you in charge of an up and coming school with a rather weak soccer program. You’ll have to work hard to turn it around into a perennial powerhouse. It’s incredibly deep and will be pure joy for anyone who is a fan of the footy.
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