World Soccer Winning Eleven 9
Featuring John Terry and Thierry Henry slapped on the cover, World Soccer: Winning Eleven 9 was the first game in Konami’s soccer series to secure the licenses for premier league top tier teams Chelsea and Arsenal. In 2005, football games were a dime a dozen, but this game managed to stand out, even above the FIFA release at the time. Known as Pro Evolution Soccer 5 in Europe, Konami really upped their game for this release, introducing features like Online Play and snow weather.
So many leagues!
Winning Eleven 9 had six playable leagues, three of which were unlicensed. Konami managed to get the licenses for the Liga Espanola, Eredivisie and Serie A, and for a whole host of clubs across the world. Most notably, they managed to get their hands on the license to use Chelsea and Arsenal, but unfortunately did not manage to license teams like Manchester United (Man Red) and Liverpool (Merseyside Red). They also managed to license a bunch of fan favorite players, like Sol Campbell and Patrick Vera, though they did miss out on some key players like Ruud Van Nistelrooy (known in-game as Von Mistelroum). It’s incredible that the game managed to perform so well without some of these key licenses, and it’s the game's biggest fault.
Play with your friends!
Soccer games are great fun to play locally, even for casual fans of the sport. With Winning Eleven 9, Konami implemented online play, so you could play with your friends from the comfort of your own homes at a moment's notice. This was a great decision on Konami’s part, and really helped catapult the game to new heights. You could finally settle arguments about which team was better from your own couch.
There’s something really great about the control scheme in Winning Eleven 9. Movement is swift and intuitive, and the whole game flows really nicely. A lot of soccer games coming out around the time had very stiff movement, like Rage’s David Beckham Soccer. This felt like a huge improvement for the genre on the platform, and there’s very little that felt off. These tight controls took away from the fact that Konami had failed to nail some big club and player licenses, and made the game a lot more of a rounded product.
World Soccer: Winning Eleven 9 is one of the most loved soccer games of all time, and earnt many awards for its sales figures. This was a time where Konami managed to pull fans away from EA’s powerhouse FIFA franchise, and that is nothing to be scoffed at – especially for a game lacking some key licenses.
- Tight controls.
- Lots of content.
- Online play.
- Lacking some key club and player licenses.