Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer 2007
In the year of 2007, most of the combatants fighting to be the one true gamer’s soccer title had fallen in battle. In this era, only two remained and each was at the height of their powers and sparring repeatedly each year. This was, of course, the FIFA franchise and it’s rival PES. In this era, it was perhaps the closest the contest had ever been between the two franchises and Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 was another iteration aiming to knock FIFA off its perch.
This game plays much like the soccer games of this time period such as FIFA 2007. However, this game would market itself much more heavily as a football simulator akin to how Gran Turismo markets itself as a racing sim as opposed to a racing game. It would use realistic tactics and methodical build-up play to bring an experience that does away with the frantic arcade action FIFA provides for a game made specifically with the tactician in mind.
The game series has always had one key drawback preventing it from truly blowing FIFA out of the water and that is its visual presentation. The game has never been able to match the licences that FIFA can provide, leading to team names like Merseyside Red and Man Blue but for the most part, this is something that can be overlooked provided the graphics hit the mark. Sadly though, they fall flat once again with this outing.
The player models for the iconic players are recognisable but as you stray away from these players and teams, you find that you’ll struggle to tell the players apart, especially since the names aren’t accurate as well. It’s a pitfall that the series continues to fall into and it’s a real shame because the game hits the exact same highs as well.
Phoning It In
However, when we say the same highs, we mean exactly the same highs. It seems that Konami hasn’t done an awful lot to push the series on since their last release. The gameplay is as excellent as it has been and still blows FIFA out of the water in terms of detail and depth. The sad fact though, is that there isn’t much that separates it from the last instalment in the series. Small improvements have been made but honestly nothing of note worth harping on about. The modes on offer are very much the same, resting on their laurels, chaining the UI and fine details so it isn’t the exact same experience but it pretty much is just that. Then when it comes to the things that you absolutely need in this title such as the editor that would allow players to rename in-game assets to get around the licencing restrictions, the game has decided to leave these out of the title altogether. Meaning that if you’re not in tune with the idiosyncrasies of the PES series, you’ll feel pretty alienated.
Sound is also an asset that really suffers in this title. Where FIFA always provides a trendy and up to date indie soundtrack, you’ll find that PES in this instance plays generic background music to fill the lulls. It’s a lazy attempt to fill the void that could easily be down to a lack of effort or more trouble with licencing but no matter what the reason, the fans only care about the end result and in this case, it’s poor.
Then on the topic of the commentators, the pitch sounds and the fan noise. All of these are underwhelming in their delivery with many assets being carbon copies of the original games and the atmosphere is often off-kilter with what’s going on during the match.
New but not improved
For those that want to have the same amount of fun as they did in the last outing with slightly more refined graphics, slightly better gameplay and slightly different rosters. Well, here is what you need. However, if you’re like most people and want a game that gives you a vast improvement on the last title, a completely different feel and a compelling reason to buy the next instalment.
Well, you better look toward FIFA 07 on this occasion because this title is a PES title going through the motions.
- Slightly refined gameplay
- Fan favourite modes return
- Visuals better than last game
- Visuals nowhere near the standard of rival titles.
- Omits key functions such as edit mode.
- Sound quality is pitiful
- Nothing new or noteworthy