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Jonathan Morris
Jonathan Morris

Game Winning Eleven 7 Ps1 BEST

Speaking of which, it's perhaps regrettable that the age-old problem of the ball running out for throw-ins and corners, when players really look capable of controlling it, still persists - perhaps accentuated by the new playing conditions, but having seen Gilberto do it in rather hilarious fashion on Saturday we're prepared to let it slide. It doesn't affect the game too much - and in any event, throw-ins are a much more organic system this time. Instead of directing the ball to one out of one and a half options, WE7 gives you control of the receiving player and lets you run him into position to receive it. A big improvement.

Game Winning Eleven 7 Ps1

While the shape of the attacking game has changed significantly though, it seems fair to say that the defensive side - at least after the 15 or 20 hours we've dedicated so far - seems quite unrepentant for its sins. Holding a run modifier (R1 or R2) and holding X and square to send the controlled and nearest other defender respectively in chase of the ball is still the most effective way of pressuring players in possession, and holding square for an automated shadow whilst prowling round manually with your controlled player still yields a lot of good results. However closing down set-pieces is still difficult. More movement is permitted on corners, but what we'd like to see is a way of sending a player dashing from the wall on free kicks, or edging forward to test the referee's patience. The punishment for overstepping the mark could be a yellow card - and with referees now fully capable of sending more than three blokes off per side, it's bound to be a good incentive to stop. Speaking of refs, they've finally picked up on handballs and the advantage rule.

Oh and speaking of free kicks and set-pieces, WE7 continues to reward moments of genius, but doesn't just offer them on a plate. Free kicks have actually become more difficult, if you can believe that, and as someone who's invested tens of hours on this very aspect of the game, even I can't hit the target at speed ten times out of ten. The pace of the ball has been lowered slightly for WE7, so it's harder to get a well-directed ball to make a significant impact. It is possible to show off your signature skills a bit more in the centre of the field though, with a new 360-degree spin (you know, the one where Zidane stops the ball with his foot, rolls round the defender and pulls it past with his other foot) mapped to a 360 rotation of the right analogue stick, and there are bound to be other trick moves we haven't discovered yet.

Indeed, it's fair to say there's a lot of the game we haven't really touched on yet - largely thanks to the language barrier. We're told that there are options to control one player for the whole match (ala Namco's PSone title Libero Grande), to influence referee and crowd bias more specifically, to manually control the goalkeeper instead of just having him rush out by holding the triangle button, and to pull up a save-able action replay at any time. We've also yet to get to grips with the WE Shop, at which you'll be able to spend the "WEN" points you earn for every match you play (good news for people like me who pick up WE for a few exhibition matches every day of the year), or the revised Master League, which has been expanded to four geographically distinct divisions to make way for the 64 club teams on offer, including four fully licensed Italian clubs (a sign of things to come according to Konami).

On the whole and no doubt as you can tell, the sheer number of fine details worth acknowledging has well and truly swamped us. WE7 is a very complex beast, and one we won't claim to have covered comprehensively. However, it must be clear to any fan of the series - or football fan in general - that this now much heavier duty simulation is the most accurate recreation of the beautiful game to date. KCET has ironed out problems like players being knocked over all the time, the midfield pinball effect that plagued Pro Evo 2, the lack of fantasy club-versus-country options, and they've made it easier to get past the presentation hullabaloo and straight back to the action, whilst still maintaining the high standards of production that perhaps we expect from sports titles - the only thing we're not 100 per cent onside with yet is the TV interference effect on some of the action replays, but we're bound to warm to it eventually. Otherwise, the now proprietary engine (with RenderWare gone from the equation) has given KCET more license to play with intricate animation, and players are clearly who they are meant to be.

Concerns that we have, and perhaps these are our only real concerns, are that the Japanese version of the game has an awkward stuttering problem on some older PS2s (and, we're told, particularly in widescreen), but Konami has acknowledged the problem and on pain of death promises it will be fixed in Pro Evo 3. And we're also disappointed that the summer's big transfers are not reflected here, with Beckham still a Man United player, and Chelsea's millions still unallocated. However there is a transfer engine and, given the "problems" as they are, it must be clear to everyone reading this that with a bit of tweaking under its belt, Pro Evolution Soccer 3 is set to replace breathing on our list of priorities by the end of this year. GOOOOAAALLL!!!

Two articles (linked to below) touch on the subject of experience behind a game critic. The most recent example is MTV's Stephen Totilo not being adept at basic moves for Street Fighter II, a heralded and historically important game series.

But imagine if a movie critic knew nothing of Annie Hall? Or Raging Bull? Imagine a videogame critic not even knowing how to do the most basic move in fighting games? As long as the critic is forthcoming about it, I don't think any credibility would be lost. writer David Stone brought up the issue of video games requiring active participation, and cited Roger Ebert's limited filmmaking skills, or the lack of pro player experience from most sports broadcasters.

For game criticism to break through the mainstream while maintaining credibility with its core audience, a critic or columnist must be well versed in all genres. Specifically for something like fighting games, Street Fighter II would be a must.

And why not try out some of the more rudimentary moves for that game? Is there no desire to learn? Where is the sense of discovery in mining a hobby's past? Are archaic graphics and gameplay systems that much of a barrier in a critic's responsibility to experience and taste all there could be? A music critic would never bookend his experience with his first album to his last. A proper critic would reach into decades of rich history, to obtain a larger understanding of the industry as well as context.

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