Much as I hate the word “banter”, it is an important part of multi-player football games. In Wining Eleven
online there’s no way to convey such thoughts as, “You only sing when you’re winning”, “What a waste of money”, and other clichés. (OK, so perhaps it’s for good that there’s no online communication.) The only way you can really tell the person at the other end that you’re better than them, which is what football is all about (isn’t it?), is by letting the instant replays of your attacks and goals run their full course, because (as ever) only the player whose actions are being replayed can quickly terminate the replays and resume play.
Back in the single-player realm, there are league and cup options. There is also something called the ‘Champion’s Road’ feature, which is Winning Eleven’s
substitute for the absent Master League mode. Champion’s Road is a build-your-own-club-and-make-‘em-champs kind of thing, and there’s something about it (the daftness of ‘winning’ players from teams you defeat in league matches, most obviously) that reminds me of Ultimate Soccer Manager
on the Amiga. I’m, not sure if that’s a good thing, really.
Winning Eleven Play Maker 2008
(to give the Japanese version I’ve been playing its full title) has commentary from the John Motson of Japan, Mr Jon Kabira, who is as emphatic as he always is in Winning Eleven
games. He still likes to scream “Chance da!” at every available opportunity.
The game looks surprisingly modern when played in 480p – quite a bit more detailed than the PS2 version of Pro Evo 2008
– plus it’s a slowdown-free environment, which is always a good sign. You can also use a line-up of Miis for the novelty of it, but such details are as listed in this paragraph really feel like footnotes to the main comment, which is that Winning Eleven
has been reborn thanks to its revolutionary control system.
[b]SPOnG score: 91%
This is a radical redesign of Winning Eleven/Pro Evo, and for the most part it works exceedingly well. Assuming that it’s at least commercially successful enough to merit an update next year, Konami should think about tweaking the defensive controls. But Wiining Eleven is off to a fine start, regardless – it’s a rare example of a third-party being sufficiently clever and bold in its use of Wii controls, and as a result it manages to create a completely new kind of footballing experience that can be immensely satisfying.[/b]