Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: World Tour Soccer 2

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Electronic Theatre ImageBeing a World Cup year, it’s no surprise that the world has gone a little football crazy. Naturally EA have released FIFA: “Insert generic sub title here” to make the most of  the fever but Konami are still taking their once a year approach, with Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2007 not arriving in the UK until the end of the year. So, if you’ve given up on FIFA, and you need to play a football game on the beach in the glorious British summer time, do you still have to rely on the PSP port of Pro Evolution Soccer 5, complete with its horrendous Loading Times? Nope, this summer you can play SONY Computer Entertainment Europe’s London Studio’s World Tour Soccer 2, the sequel to the decent PSP launch title; World Tour Soccer: Challenge Edition – the spiritual successor to the This Is Football series. A real contender for the cup this time around? Or a series destined to remain grasping for third place?

World Tour Soccer 2 is a football game and as such needs little introduction. The game plays from the traditional side-view used by it’s peers and features fully licensed National Teams, although unfortunately no Clubs, Exhibition Matches, and local or online Multi-Player. Like it’s predecessor, World Tour Soccer 2 places an emphasis on stylish play in it’s many Challenge Modes. Passing, scoring goals and successful tackling all earn the player Points, whereas fouls, conceding goals, losing possession and Electronic Theatre Image sloppy tackling incur a Penalty. This time around there are many different Challenge types all built around the Point System. For instance, The Zone rewards skilful play in certain areas of the pitch, Totally Outnumbered reduces the number of members in the player’s team and Shot Clock gives the player only a short amount of time to score a goal from the player’s team’s first touch of the ball.

World Tour Soccer 2 plays very similarly to Pro Evolution Soccer 5 for the PSP in that its buttons are laid-out in almost exactly the same fashion. While in possession of the ball Cross passes, Square shoots toward goal, Circle initiates a long pass and Triangle passes a through ball, while R causes players to sprint. While defending Cross changes player, Square slide tackles and Circle tackles less harshly. As with Pro Evolution Soccer, this Control System works very well for the PSP and makes the game fairly easy to pick-up-and-play, exactly as a handheld game should be.

One of World Tour Soccer 2’s strongest points is it’s solid Single-Player game. Instead of the usual Cup and League options, World Tour Soccer 2 offers the player World Tour Mode and Challenge Mode in which new Challenges become available as the player wins Medals in each Mode. For instance, completing a challenge in World Tour Mode can unlock new Challenges in Challenge Mode and vice-versa. There are also several awards Electronic Theatre Image possible for particularly impressive achievements, such as scoring hat-tricks or over five goals in a match, which should please football loving completists.

Despite it’s great innovations, World Tour Soccer 2 does have it’s issues. Although World Tour Soccer occasionally suffered from over zealous refereeing, World Tour Soccer 2’s officials could only be described as lethargic. Talking from behind and pushing seem to incur little penalisation, something that will certainly cause players to scream the immortal phrase “REFEREE!” at their SONY portables. There are also occasional A.I. glitches, such as the goalies apparent inability to chase a loose ball and infrequent cases of both teams being oblivious to the ball. However, despite their irritation factor, these incidences are not common.

Although SCEE London Studios have made a commendable amount of improvements to the gameplay modes, World Tour Soccer 2 looks no better than it’s predecessor. Considering the PSP has been out for almost a year in Europe , it seems a little sloppy that a First-Party production has not improved it’s visuals since it’s originator. The presentation however is top-notch with easy to use Menus and reasonably detailed players and Electronic Theatre Image stadiums. As with all football games, World Tour Soccer 2’s commentary does get repetitive, but it’s decent for a while and certainly no big problem. World Tour Soccer 2 does however feature some great tunes from the likes of Mylo and somehow, the inclusion of licensed music does give the game some extra credibility.

World Tour Soccer 2 has it’s issues, and the mandatory PSP Loading Times are very present, albeit not to the ridiculous level seen in Pro Evolution Soccer 5, but they are minor when compared to the pick-up-and-play factor and lengthy Single-Player. There is no messing about when it comes Multi-Player either, with the inclusion of wireless online a real plus for football fanatics. SONY also promises Downloadable Content in the future too, including new Challenge Modes, so World Tour Soccer 2 does seem a wise football investment for the long term. So come on, put down Pro Evolution Soccer 5 and give World Tour Soccer 2 a try, because the title of Best Portable Football Game is no longer a foregone conclusion.Electronic Theatre Image

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