6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: World Soccer Winning Eleven 9 International - PlayStation 2 (Video Game)
Winning Eleven 8 made my jaw drop when I first bought it last year. I didn't think Konami could go any better. The graphics were better, the player AI was better, it was all improved and was wondering how they would make it any better for Winning Eleven 9. After picking up WE9 yesterday, I have noticed, they did make it better, in a way that is hard to describe in a mere review.
Where to start in my review of WE9? First off the graphics I think. Now I'll be honest, the graphics haven't improved in any significant way but you can see slight differences. The players looks slightly smoother and more defined but other than that, the graphics haven't changed at all. I doubt Konami could go any better either, if they had gone for the graphics that FIFA currently have, the game would spontaneously combust as soon as you started a match due to all the other stuff Komami have in the game. I really don't think it's a bad thing not having the best graphics, afterall, we Winning Eleven folks prefer gameplay to graphics!
Next, the player AI. This has improved imensely. One thing that did bother me at times in WE8 and previous ones, were the jaggedness of the player runs. They moved rather stifly when they turned and ran and being able to only turn in about 8 different directions was slightly poor. This has all changed. The players move a lot more freely now, in any direction you wish. They turn slower, being more realstic. They adjust their body reaction on how the ball moves. They run more fluently and bounce, not seemingly float with their legs pumping in previous versions. Players jump on other players' shoulders to get the ball from the air. Tustling for the ball has become much more realistic with different varieties involed. The players runs are slightly better, not looking as stiff. Everything you can think of in player AI has improved no end. I feel like I'm watching a real game when Jermain Defoe brings the ball down, back to goal, and needs to shrug off the defender, so as a result he turns well, but slower, but sooooooo much more realisticly. Passing from the players perspective is brilliant. Players adjust their legs and feet to get the best contact on the ball for receiving and playing a pass. Likewise, when shooting, the players have their own natural way of getting their foot to the ball in the best way and the realism in this is great because, as has been mentioned before, you want this to feel like a real game of football. Goalkeepers have improved, and won't watch the ball as it just edges past the post like in WE8. In WE9, they'll dive for everything, even if they know it's wide/over.
Now the gameplay. Slower, but much much more realistic. You can forget easing past players on 2 stars and 3 stars straight away, you need to use moves, or time you sidestep to perfection. This encourages you to move around more and pass more, and with certain players, they will know to get into space and help you out when you're stuck in a corner. It is true, the referee does blow for quite a few things, but you need to time your tackles well and it's very rewarding when you do. The opposition will keep the ball a lot more now, and it'll be harder to get it off them. Forget winning 50-50 balls by just holding R1 and hoping to get there first, the computer is intelligent, and will nick the ball away and it'll be hard to get it back. Likewise, when you yourself have the ball, you need to hold onto it. It's harder to play passes now. You need to time them well, and also place them when you know it's the right time. Through balls are harder but long passes have improved slightly, making it easier to run onto them, but you'll need a quick player up front who can do that.
In other things, the Master League is slightly more in depth, and now, you can play as a normal team with match mode players with their stats normal and not changed just for ML. So Rooney starts 19 and doesn't change to 30 like in previous versions.
A few gripes. This may sound sad, but in WE8, the one thing I loved about it up there with the gameplay, were the nets themselves. They were sooooooo realistic, the most real I've ever seen in a game. I got such a thrill seeing a ball crash into the net and see the net ripple in response to the ball hitting it, but also seeing the ball respond to the net, it it so cool looking and I enjoyed my goals more that way. But in WE9, the nets have taken a slight dive. They are weaker, so the nets bulges a lot more, but unfortunately, the response to the ball is a jagged bulge and it looks horrible. The old FIFA's like 98/99 used to have nets that just bulged in a jagged way to accent the ball, this happens in WE9, on the net stretched unrealistically. It is only where the ball hit's that looks horrible, the net response outside the area hits looks very nice and real. Secondly, and probably more valid, are the crowd. You won't see any crowd in the stadiun when playing a match. Sounds weird, but Konami took it out due to the lag it would cause. In replays and cut scenes (ie, corner, freekicks), the crowd are there. You may not see them during the match, but they are in full song. They are less responsive though. You won't hear an "Oooooooooooooooooh" if the ball just wizzes over or past the post, there's no sound like that unless the keeper saves the ball so it goes wide or over for a corner. They do respond when you win the ball and lose it though, which sounds cool, but they cut out the important parts involving the crowd and this takes a bit out of the game for me.
Overall, this game is brilliant. There's more edit options for everything, an easier menu, and the league, ML, tournaments.etc all go more in depth. Despite a few minor gripes, the game is superb and has improved very much, I greatly recommend buying this game. You'll be addicted for hours at a time like last time out!