Winning Eleven 9

Any footie fans out there? I’ve only recently gotten interested in soccer, due to some hardcore New England Revolution fans among my friends. My girlfriend picked this up for me for Valentine’s day when she saw me taking an interest in it. I’ve only put a little bit of time into it so far, but some early impressions follow.

Starting with the bad - the menu system is really obtuse, and I was dissapointed that it doesn’t have the kind of customizability that the 2K games have. And of course, there’s the problem of the many unlicensed teams and leagues, but that’s pretty easily fixed with either a few hours with an online guide, or if like me you’ve got an Action Replay Max or similar device, a downloaded option file.

On the pitch, fouls seem to happen very frequently, but I can’t quite say if they’re unfairly stacked against the player. I can say that WE9 suffers from one of my biggest gripes with team-based sports games - your teammates’ AI seems braindead compared to the opposition. In this case, my teammates never seem to get into a good position for a pass, and are very porous on defense. This is in marked contrast to the opposing AI, which is very very solid, in a good way.

Still, it plays a great game of soccer. I haven’t gotten into the whole Master League yet - still trying to get over the learning curve of the game - but in single matches I’ve had a blast. It’s really hard to score, as it should be, and each goal seems unique and worth celebrating. Passing and positioning are key, since only the players with the very best stats will be able to consistently beat defenders without passing to a teammate. This, of course, is where the AI gripes come in, but it’s not so bad that it’s seriously frustrating.

Anyone got it? How’s EA’s FIFA stand up?

How’s EA’s FIFA stand up?

Not a bad series, but definitely inferior to the Winning Eleven titles (aka Pro Evolution Soccer in Europe).


If Winning Eleven is what’s know as Pro Evolution over here, and it’s AI frustrates you, then FIFA will have you pulling your eyes out with pliers.

Pro Evolution is the closest thing to realistic football on a console and it is still miles ahead of EA at the moment in that respect. While it isn’t brilliant, it is at least possible to play something that resembles real life football. If you spend your time trying to run the ball from the halfway line and score a goal then you’ll fail miserably. The Through pass is your friend as is the cross into the box from wide. Maybe I’m reading too much into the AI, but when you start to play a series of Crosses or through passes to certain players they do seem to start to anticipate that kind of move from you in future.

EA is fine if you want slightly flashier graphics, proper team names and leagues, less realistic tactics, team play and scorelines that resemble a basketball match. It is getting better, but still lacks the gameplay imo.

Yep, the only reason I’d ever switch to FIFA is the licenses and a more polished franchise mode. I hear FIFA 06 was actually a step in the right direction, but I’m too used to the WE games now (having played 5 through 8 so far).

The Master League mode is quite solid, though it starts to lose its appeal after a few seasons as former players start getting cycled in with ridiculously unbalanced stats (Zola comes in as a 17-year-old with 95 attack, 12 defense, etc.)… I’d also like to see a streamlined way to get created players into the Master League mode… as it stands, you have to edit an existing player.

I’m waiting to see a copy of WE9 in stores… haven’t seen one yet, but I’ll pick it up sight unseen. They just keep improving.

Go REVS!!!

The licenses aren’t really important to me as a)I’m still pretty new to soccer in general, and b)those crazy folks on the internet put up custom option files that change all the teams and players to the real world equivalents in a big damn hurry. Since WE9 had been out as Pro Evolution Soccer 5 (I think) in Europe for a few months, somebody converted an option file created for that and had it available for download on Day 1 of the release of WE9.

If you do get a chance to play 9, I’d be interested in how it compares to 8. Reading some other message boards I get a sense of disappointment that it’s not that big a step forward.

WOOOOOO! (Where’s that screaming dude image when you need it?)

Oh, I’ll play it, don’t worry about that :) That said, I imagine those disappointed with 9 probably didn’t play 7 before 8. 8 wasn’t that big a leap forward, either (6 to 7 being the biggest leap, I think)… they basically take the existing near-flawless recreation of the sport and make it a bit better