World League Soccer '98
|a game by||Silicon Dreams Studio|
|Rate this game:|
Big boys Eidos throw their sizeable hat into the footballing ring with the generically named World League Soccer '98. It does exactly what it says on the tin, enabling you to play in a number of world leagues in 1998 and beyond -although it's doubtful whether anyone will have the patience to persevere that long.
World League Soccer '98 flatters to deceive. Initially it appears impressive enough. The presentation is professional -Peter Brackley and Ray Wilkins commentate - and the graphics are crisp. It seems fairly playable and you assume that you'll soon get the hang of it. But over the course of a few days, flaws emerge that begin to grate, eventually escalating into teeth-grinding exasperation. For starters, the tackling system is knackered. There is supposedly a soft tackle option, but this is wholly ineffectual. The only alternative, therefore, is to lunge in with a crunching slide tackle. This gives each match a distinctly 1970s feel, particularly as tackling from behind seems to be openly encouraged, a practice that will not be tolerated at the World Cup but which seems to present no problem to the referees in WLS '98. Free kicks are awarded in a fairly haphazard manner. On the edge of the penalty area, the camera does at least swing round towards the goal, but in any other position little clue is given as to the whereabouts of your players.
Ead The Ball
In its defence, the heading is excellent, as it was in the previous Olympic Soccer. Accurate moves can be instigated with the head, and the angled bullet headers are particularly effective. There is a tendency for over-reliance on them though, and by far the most common goal is a cross from the wing, headed into one of the corners. This isn't always successful though, and can lead to some frantic goalmouth scrambles. But in common with the flawed Actua Soccer 2, shooting from a few yards out is no guarantee of a goal, and a howitzer from outside the area is often a more viable option. One of the most crucial aspects of any football game is the selection of the player to control, or 'player select' as it's known in the trade. The selection is carried out automatically in WLS '98, and it often gets it wrong, particularly when defending. The first rule of football - along with play the way you're facing - is to get goalside, and this doesn't happen in WLS '98. You're left chasing shadows and having to turn away in order to enable a more useful defender to be selected.
World League Soccer '98 does have some excellent features, such as one-twos, drone players and dynamic weather. But ultimately it becomes a case of fighting against the AI and the control system, and the game never really gets going and lacks any real excitement. Which is a shame.