World Soccer: Winning Eleven 6 International
By: Matt C. on April 12, 2003
As you can tell by the title, World Soccer: Winning Eleven 6 International is certainly not a new franchise, but this is the first time the game has officially been released in North America. Soccer is obviously the most popular sport on the planet, yet Americans still have not embraced it as much as other countries have. Of course, some Americans are true soccer fanatics and after much begging and pleading, they have managed to persuade Konami to bring Winning Eleven 6 to the U.S.
Calling Winning Eleven 6 the best soccer game currently on the market is a bold statement, but is it really true? Yes, after playing a couple matches, you will quickly discover why this game has sold millions upon millions of copies worldwide. The thing that makes WE6 so incredible is the realistic and convincing gameplay, yet goals are not overly difficult to score (assuming you don't select the hardest difficulty). To make matters even better, there is also plenty of depth and replay value due to the generous selection of game modes and options.
Arguably, the most important aspect of a sports video game are the controls. Luckily, Winning Eleven 6 excels in this department with very responsive and precise controls. Selected players always do what you tell him to do and I have not noticed any delays after button presses. The game gives you such a stunning amount of moves to execute on any given situation that it may take a whole day or two just to memorize them all.
For example, you can do various short passes, long passes, through passes, and one-two passes. Passing is super easy because all you have to do is move the d-pad (or analog stick) in the general direction of the player you want to deliver the ball to and press one of the three "pass buttons". If you want more control over your passes, the right analog stick can be used to execute manual passes in any direction you wish.
Shooting the ball takes a while to get used to because holding the "square" button too long will cause your player to blast the ball way over the net. However, after some practice, shooting the ball should become very natural. I really like how you can pass the ball and immediately have your teammate attempt to shoot it into the goal once it gets near him. Head, volley, and loop shots are also possible if you time your button presses correctly.
While on defense, the X and Square buttons are used to apply pressure to your opponents and the circle button is used for slide tackles. You can make the goalkeeper move out of the goalmouth by simply pressing triangle. In addition, it is possible to change team strategies and formations on the fly, which is pretty cool.
Winning Eleven 6 features six gameplay modes -- including match mode (exhibition mode), league mode, cup mode, master league mode (franchise mode), training mode, and edit mode (create a team, player, etc). Most of the modes are straightforward, so I won't go into much detail about them, but the franchise mode (or master league mode as it is called in the game) is definitely worth mentioning. Here, you can recruit players to form a team (via the negotiation screen), pay player salaries, view your team history log, train promising players and more. In order to acquire players and such, you need points, which are earned by winning games.
On top of superior gameplay, Winning Eleven 6 provides some very pleasing visuals. Player models look great and their animations simply rock. I have not noticed any jerky movements in-between animations, which is obviously a good thing. The ball physics are equally good as it bounces around the field and off of players' feet, chests, and heads. As for the crowds, they are "cardboard cutouts" like in every sports title, but they look nice from a distance as they hold flags from their favorite teams up into the air.
One thing I really like are the replays, which are presented in a televised fashion after each goal. I also like the fact that you can move the camera around on your own despite being quite common in most sports video games.
The two-man commentary is well done, but both men usually end up saying the same crap over and over again. Winning Eleven 6 needs some improvement in this department.
To be honest, before playing WE6, I considered soccer to be one of my least favorite sports to play or watch. I certainly didn't hate it and I already knew the rules of the game, but watching it or even playing it in real-life does not interest me. However, after spending an entire week with Winning Eleven 6 International, I can truly say that I have a new personal respect for the game of soccer.
Anyway, to get to the point, WE6 really is the best soccer game out there. The Europeans and Japanese were right about this bad boy. The only disappointment is the lack of Network Adaptor support. Other than that, Winning Eleven 6 is a game that anyone even remotely interested in soccer can enjoy.