When we think of Sports here in America, we think of football, baseball and probably basketball, but outside of those sports the viewing public doesn’t seem to put a whole lot of interest into any other of the others sports out there. Well when we look at Sports in a global scale, we can easily see that soccer (or football, for the purists) is by far the most popular sport around, and one that is regarded as life in some parts of the world. Well today we are checking out one of the more popular soccer video games from Konami in the Winning Eleven franchise, which has been known for it’s high quality simulation style of the sport that has the hardcore soccer fans coming back every year for more. So the big question this year is how does Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 do on the Xbox 360? Read our full review to find out!
One of the things that has always surprised me about the Winning Eleven franchise is it’s pace, which for the most part is relatively on the slow side, just like the actual sport of soccer. However from my experience in the industry, I have always been under the impression that players like a more up beat, in your face experience, however they have time and time again proved me wrong by the high number of people who come out and play these games each year. Now I was curious also to see how the transition to the next generation of consoles would go for Konami and their Winning Eleven franchise.
So let’s get into our discussion on the game, which we will begin by just briefly hitting some of the main modes and then get into the actual gameplay of the game. The main mode of Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 is the Master League, which is just another fancy name for a franchise mode. This is where you can start off as a team, and build them up by trading players, working on your lineup, and then of course winning matches. The game doesn’t throw an overwhelming amount of depth into the Master League, but it does do enough in terms of keeping you interested and make you come back for more.
Another big mode that I think fans are going to really dig into is the online play, which made its first appearance a year ago on the Xbox. It took a while for Konami to bring online play to the series, and now on the Xbox 360 we are seeing it back in action in a very slimmed out form. The amount of depth in the online play is rather disappointing, with just ranked and unranked matches to choose from and some rather bland leaderboards. The actual online play itself however is very smooth and just proves how great this game could be in the future if the developers put more content online.
So let’s change gears a bit and go more into the gameplay of Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer 2007. Much like previous games , 2007 takes a very simulation style approach on the Xbox 360, which for some may not be their favorite idea, but for fans of the franchise it definitely stays true to its tried and winning formula. What is interesting about the gameplay of this game however is that it doesn’t really change that much in comparison to the last generation of Winning Eleven titles. The mechanics are a little more refined, with more animation and what I felt to be a bit more versatility when moving around the field. The game still runs at a very slow pace, however and like most soccer games in real life doesn’t create one big scoring fest. The average game in Winning Eleven 2007 will probably only have a few goals at most.
The best attribute of this game has to be the great AI in the game, which makes for one of the best parts of the game and makes the whole experience a strong one on the Xbox 360. The computer makes some really smart moves throughout, and on the higher difficulty levels can offer some pretty challenging experience for even the most hardcore of fans. Also the game works in a well enough fashion to really make the entire experience one of the most life like soccer experiences around.
The final product of Winning Eleven for the Xbox 360 is a good effort, but one that still has room for improvement in many areas. First off the game is pretty slim in terms of modes, both online and offline, even though the gameplay remains as solid as previous installments of the series. If you have enjoyed the past Winning Eleven games, this game will continue to impress on the Xbox 360.
What was by far the most disappointing attribute of this game was the visuals, which left you with a rather bland soccer experience. The character models are the first culprit in the experience, which contain a lot of the same models used over and over again. What’s unfortunate about this is that most of the character models lack any sort of life, and thus at times look like walking zombies. Also the stadiums although at times nice, for the most part lack the enthusiasm and power that true soccer stadiums grant around the world.
What is interesting about this game is that even with poor visuals, you still have a game that is arguably the best simulation soccer experience on the market. There is still no one better at making a true soccer game then Konami. The AI in this game is superb, making for some of the most lifelike and true to form soccer experiences around. If only they had added more depth and better visuals, this could have really been at the top of the soccer game industry.
Luckily for Konami, the lackluster visuals don’t detract much from the massively solid gameplay, as we still are given an experience that manages to continue to take the series in the right direction. Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 is not the outing I think many fans were hoping for on its first effort on the Xbox 360, but I think with further titles we will get to that sweet spot for Konami and their Winning Eleven franchise.
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.