Last year here in the US we were lucky enough for Konami to bring out its very popular soccer (football everywhere else) title here to the States. With Winning Eleven 6 it brought forth soccer gameplay that was truly solid in all aspects of the game. Although I didn’t think it was possible, Konami has improved in many areas over its predecessor. Now we have Winning Eleven 7, an excellent soccer title for your PS2.
Soccer titles aren’t all the craze like they are in Europe, which is probably one of the reasons it took Konami so long to bring their excellent soccer title over here to the States. Soccer fans in States have grown quite used to soccer titles, and good ones at that - like EA Sports’s FIFA series and World Tour Soccer franchise from 989 Sports. It will take much for a newcomer like the Winning Eleven series to make a splash in the market. Konami has done this with WE6, and now with the latest installment, has totally left the other trailing in its wake.
For those of you who haven’t played last year’s version, you probably need to know that this is a pure simulation title. Unlike both FIFA and World Tour Soccer, this is a title that strives at truly simulating the game of soccer, so you won’t find those high scoring games all the time. Goals are much harder to come by, but not entirely impossible for those who have mastered all that this title has to offer.
One of the pluses for Winning Eleven 7 for not having licensed teams means they can spend more time on creating game modes, and that is exactly what they did with Winning Eleven 7 because there are just a ton of game modes. The modes include Match Mode, League Mode, Cup Mode, Master League Mode, and Training League Mode. With all of these different game types that are available there is so much replay value that goes into Winning Eleven 7 that many times it’s really hard to figure out where to start in the game. All of these leagues are very much customizable and therefore you can really make it any type of tournament you want.
Of course Winning Eleven 7 is just as much a single player title as it is a multiplayer game, and that’s where WE7 comes through very nicely. Although we are truly wishing they had placed an online mode (praying for one in WE8), the multiplayer portion of the game is great. Of course like all the game modes you can easily customize the game and this makes for one fun game.
The game has a totally new graphical engine, and you know I will get into more detail in about how the game looks in the Graphics section, but this does have a pretty significant impact on the gameplay. I went back and played WE6 to see if I could find what the developers did to improve upon last year’s version and it is very clear that the new graphical engine allows you to make a lot quicker decisions which created the ability to make a lot quicker cuts that really are quite useful in the game.
Of course the game is still very strategically heavy, which means that you will be spending a lot of time setting up plays in order to try and get a goal. It mimics the realism of the real game, where you have to take the time to pass the ball all over the field to exploit the gaps left by the opponent. I can’t believe how much time it takes to set up these plays and scoring is a lot harder then it sounds. The typical game scores are normally right along the line of a real-life soccer game. This is a plus because the games start becoming very fierce and truly easy to get into.
For those of you, who are looking for a huge upgrade to the gameplay system, you won’t find it in WE7. The game does improve upon a ton of little things, but besides that there isn’t anything major about the game that you’re going to be able to see. Is this a bad thing? No, not at all, if it’s not broken don’t fix it. So they just cleaned up some of the rough edges and made improvement upon an already great gameplay engine. Works for me.
For the casual gamer, you probably won’t notice a big difference in the game’s graphics, but if you have played WE6 for a while you will definitely see a noticeable variations in the way the animation is as well as the detail plays out in this latest version of the series.
Now let’s get one thing straight, WE7 still has plenty of room to grow into this new engine but this was a good start. First off the level of detail could definitely be better; the level of detail is just not up to par with other soccer titles such as EA’s FIFA series. The animation on the other hand is where I can see most of the improvements. Players can now take much quicker and sharper cuts and the movement has become a lot more precise then they were in last year’s version.
Overall the graphics are showing signs of becoming great, but for now they are just above average, and on the verge of breaking out of there shell. I would predict that in WE8 we will see a game that graphically gives FIFA a run for its money.
Winning Eleven 7 has some of the best simulation (if not the best) soccer gameplay around. For you soccer enthusiasts you will be right at home with WE7 because it provides great solid gameplay along with pure simulation goodness. As I played WE7, both the single and multiplayer portions of the game, it is just a ton of fun to play, and truly does a lot of thing right, so there isn’t anything to complain about.
If you have WE6 I don’t know if I can give you the nod to go run out and buy WE7, there isn’t enough of a reason to go out and purchase this one. For those of you who don’t own it yet, I would tell you to run out and buy it now, it’s the best soccer simulation on the market today.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.