previews\ Feb 4, 2004 at 7:00 pm

World Tour Soccer 2005 - PS2 - Preview

Soccer, as it is known to those in the United States, or football (to the rest of the world) is a game that requires great skill, finesse, athleticism and intelligence. This is not a game that is about crushing the ball with each touch, or having constant blazing speed.


As such, when it comes to translating the game to the video game market, if done correctly, it can be a thing of beauty. If not, it can be a laborious undertaking.


989 Sports sent GameZone a preview version of its upcoming PlayStation2 title World Tour Soccer 2005. From all accounts, while the game is option rich, and sports some solid animation, this is a title that is a long way from being the ideal soccer game.


Why? Well, the game has some problems, even with penalties turned on, in distinguishing a primary infraction such as offsides. But more about that in a moment.


The game is a dream when it comes to the number of teams available. You can play out in cup, league, season, career or challenge mode. The game is designed for online play and even has an exhibition setting. There are more than 900 international and league teams, with 18,700 players and a nice array of stadiums.


Setting up a game is relatively simple. You can adjust your lineups, select weather conditions, and even manage your team, making roster changes, signing new players and setting formations.


The game succeeds with some very nice graphical animations. Chest and foot traps look very good, and touch passes are well done. The game starts to have some problems, though, in response time from controller input to realizing the commands in-game.


A striker is on a run from the outside and as he approaches the end touchline, you try to cut him across toward the net. But try as you might to change direction, he just keeps going forward, and dribbles the ball out the end of the field, surrendering up the goal kick. While some of the control elements are intuitive, others are not. Ripping that shot to the low corners seems to work well for the AI opposition, but it is rather tricky to realize that. The shot hot button will auto revert to a soft high floating kick, which the keeper will casually knock aside.


As the ball is coming done on a kick by the keeper, the game will automatically select the nearest defender, but you cannot move him to challenge for the ball, which mostly means that the opposing team will receive it.


In one instance, a long pass found an opposing forward standing a good 10 yards behind the last defender. In the real game, the assistant referee (otherwise known as the AR – the sideline official) would have been waving that flag frantically. Not on this occasion - no call and that resulted in a rather effortless-looking goal.


Some of the special effects of the game were well done.


The audio had a solid musical score, but the announcing was not fully integrated into this game in the build received.


World Tour Soccer 2005 is slated for release in April, and granted this was only a preview build, but this is a game that needs some work if it hopes to compete with other titles on the market. Yes, 989 will guarantee that the title has solid online support, but if the general game play is not that, this title will falter before hitting the competitive pitch.



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