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.