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PS2 Review - 'World Tour Soccer 2006'

by Hank on April 18, 2005 @ 1:06 a.m. PDT

World Tour Soccer 2006, developed exclusively for the PS2 by 989 Sports, features an unprecedented line-up of teams and players from around the globe in order to bring the excitement of the world's most popular sport to the forefront for gamers and soccer fans alike.

Genre: Sports
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: 989 Sports
Release Date: March 22, 2005

When a good game comes out, it tends to make a name for itself, spurring other companies to check it out and figure out how they can make it just a bit better. The competition among games in the soccer genre has been going on for ages, and there is no end in sight. Let's find out where World Tour Soccer 2006 stands …

I would say it's back to the drawing board for the developers, especially after having reviewed several Winning Eleven games. I may have been spoiled because of it, but World Tour Soccer 2006 doesn't even begin to touch the beauty of soccer, and the difference is much more noticeable when you play several hours of WE and then head over to WTS.

Currently, the three main competitors that I know of are WE, FIFA, and World Tour Soccer, with WE being my favorite and WTS being my least.

So why the negativity towards World Tour Soccer? There is certainly more than enough that is amiss in this release; the physics are completely whacked, the graphics are reused, there's almost no feinting control, players appear identical to each other, especially in the lesser-known teams such as Taiwan or Congo, and lastly, the load time is quite long.

The first physics problem that I took issue with involved the identical sprinting speeds of each and every player. A third-string player from the worst league can keep up with a highly skilled player from a first-rate team without even breaking a sweat.

Another problem is that the goalies are almost completely useless, and you are able to score from just about any location on the field. Even the weak-powered shots have a high likelihood of passing a highly skilled goalie, which is especially unrealistic when players shoot from so far out that those shots would never work in a real game. The thing that bothers me the most is ball control and feinting. There is essentially no feinting in the game – well, there is one move, but it's always the same. What happened to the side step, turn around, and all the moves that are crucial for a football match? Not only is it missing, but even when it's executed, it seems quite odd because it doesn't really feel like you have control of the ball. With three different types of tackling and stealing, it makes taking away the ball easier: block, hook, and slide, although. I strongly suggest holding back on the sliding because cards are given out like pennies. Even if something doesn't look like a foul, the referee may give it to you, yellow or red, depending on how unlucky you are.

When the ref hands out these cards, the sequence is identical for every person, unless the team is registered, like England, Brazil, and the U.S., among others. Otherwise, everyone on the team has the same faces so when playing these teams, you can't tell which player got the card unless you personally take control of that character yourself. Because of the ability to rack up fouls left and right, there is actually an ability to draw fouls or intentionally foul. If you play Winning Eleven this can be problematic because it is the same button as it is used to feint, so if you play it enough, you will develop a bad habit of hitting this button, and when you fake dive, it usually will cost you a yellow card unless somehow you can make it seem like the other team is the one who tripped you up, which is, sadly, the best part of the game.

Lastly, what the game really suffered from the extremely long load times. If the game were fun and enjoyable, this would have been bearable, but the physics seem really whacky and the goals don't give you the excitement they do when you score in WE, probably because you don't really need to work for it in World Tour Soccer.

If you can get over all of these downfalls, you can enjoy several modes of play: exhibition match, competitions, options, custom teams, records, and Eye Toy Cameo Creator. Competition is where the main gameplay resides, with the ability to play a new cup, new season, new league, career mode, and lastly, challenge mode. The next few modes are pretty self-explanatory, and within each of these modes, you have the ability to trade and scout new prospects. The Eye Toy Cameo mode is a mode I would have loved to try but was unable to test, but if you are trying to find some use for that accessory, you can add this title to the list.

The sound in the game is probably the best aspect of the title, and it is far better than the soundtrack from WE. EA's FIFA usually has a great musical selection and is quite hard to beat, and I'd rank them with EA's being the best soundtrack, with World Tour Soccer being second and WE in dead-last place.

As for graphics, WE is by far better than WTSin almost every way. In-game graphics aren't bad, if it weren't for the fake running speeds; they all look like they are going at the speed of light. The camera angles in World Tour make playing the game kind of strange, especially during the free kicks and throw-ins. The character graphics aren't bad for the better-named teams, but for the no-names, the models are pretty bad.

Overall, this game is definitely not what I had expected because it's just not very enjoyable. If you are really looking for a good soccer game, I'd personally recommend WE. World Tour Soccer, quite simply, has too many flaws and factors, and I can't bring myself to play this game more than a few times, unless I have to.

Score: 5.1/10

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