Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy
Feb. 16th 2005

Introduction:Eddie Pope and 4'500 of his closest friends get together to kick around the ball in Konami's soccer masterpiece, World Soccer Winning Eleven 8 International.

The Game:World Soccer Winning Eleven 8 International for the first time is available on the Xbox, and we're delighted to have Konami's best selling soccer franchise onboard. Winning Eleven 8 boats a huge number of teams (136 club, 57 national), great depth and its trademark high standard realism. Winning Eleven 8 is a sports game everyone can enjoy, even if you've never seen a real soccer game on the tele. The difficulty can be adjusted giving novice players and fair chance well being able to become dangerously frustrating on the higher levels.

Of course being in Canada, I know more about hockey. or the lack of hockey then the Euro sport of choice Soccer. If you're new to the game don't worry, soccer isn't too difficult to understand, and the game has a quick pace that can keep anyone interested. These guys can run, and even by just watching a game I can feel exhausted. Winning Eleven 8 offers an extensive Training Mode which is divided into several different sections to help you get on your feet. If you're a pro the training still offers up some good techniques and with the training challenge mode you can simulate situations and test your abilities. The challenge trials go right into specifics like free kicks, defending and ball dribbling. I love the way they touched up this section and made it like a little mini-game. If you spend the time and work through the training you'll have no trouble winning all the big games.

In all great sports games you need an in-depth career mode. Winning Eleven 8's Master League career mode is one of the best I've played in a while. Although it can get a bit confusing if you're not used to the Winning Eleven series. The menu system isn't the best to navigate through or to even look at. Of course once you get used to it things will be allot better, but I think they could drastically improve in a more presentable menu system. They nailed all other aspects of the game down, except this little area.

The career mode really gets in-depth with each player on your team and will update after each game. An interesting twist is in the fact that the players gain experience points which are gauged against with their age. These experience points will increase a player's statistics making the players with the most time on the field the ones which are going to improve and give you that extra advantage. It's always good to try and balance the team out with giving each player equal time, to help them improve. but you'll want to have a few star players which you can rely on. This might sound easier then it is, but fatigue is a factor in the game, so again you have to pay attention at all times. Get used to the trading market because you'll be spending allot of time working out deals to better the team.

The other modes in the game include Match Mode (exhibition), League Mode (control certain league), and Cup Mode (play through tournaments). The cup mode lets you run through a tournament, and is cool if you don't have allot of time to spend with the game. The game definitely offers allot and even if you don't enjoy the overly deep experience of the Master career mode you can find something elsewhere.

Winning Eleven 8 is a great game, even though it doesn't have Posh. It has one Beck, and that will do when you have a game this solid in gameplay. If you like soccer don't overlook Konami's World Soccer Xbox debut.

Graphics & Sound:The overall graphic quality of Winning Eleven 8 is impressive. I was impressed on the level of detail the game provides along with crisp clean textures and life-like character animation. The stadiums, or environments are egregious and they do an excellent job capturing the scale of a real soccer stadium. You'll really notice the deal when you focus in on the replays.. breathtaking. The only downside to the graphics is the ugly, boring, 1980s interface! Besides that minor flaw Winning Eleven 8 really shines through and looks like the real deal on a big screen.

The sound aspect of Winning Eleven 8 isn't as impressive as the graphical department, but I was satisfied enough. The commentary track although a little sparse and repetitive, but it's nice that the had real BBC personalities. The music isn't too catchy, but fills in the background along with the crowd noise adequately enough. It's not that the audio is poor; it just doesn't stand out with a big punch like the graphics.

Innovation:Winning Eleven 8 is an innovative soccer game and has some interesting features. First the I have to mention the extensive training mode, which really helps to keep you motivated with challenges rather than just the normal boring rundown. This section will benefit all skill levels of players and helps players learn the rules of the game.

Secondly and the most impressive innovation is the age effecting experience point system. By adding this touch of realism to game the whole experience seems more personal and real. The idea of the player age factoring in to their ability to learn and improve is brilliant. Young players are eager and quick to learn, while as older players wont gain as much experience and can even loose skills near the end of their career. Just like real life, father time is always chasing your tail.

Last and number three is the priceless replay system! Oh how I love what they have done. After you score a goal its great to go back and gloat to your friends, but it's even better when you can rotate 360 degrees around the play from several different angles and speeds. If that's not enough you can save the plays on the HD from viewing and friendlier humiliation later on. The replay system is implements flawlessly and is a breeze to control.

Mojo:Yea! This is how I like my socca! I really got into Winning Eleven 8 and it could have been because it looked so great and was easy to get into, but underneath I found a really deep and realistic game. The mojo drops like rain on the field and you can't help not to get wet! I love the innovative features in the game and I'm still giggling inside about the replays my friends had to eat when I bragged a little longer than necessary. Winning Eleven 8 has the mojo, so head-butt another ball and play another round of socca!

Lowdown:Winning Eleven 8 has allot to offer in its first Xbox outing and is one of the best soccer games on the market. Winning Eleven 8 will be enjoyable to new fans of the sport and the expert fanatics. The emphasis is on the realism and it shines through in the deep career mode and gameplay mechanics. If you enjoy sports, pick this sucka up! Winning Eleven 8 is a great game, and I'm glad Konami decided to bring it to the Xbox.

Gameplay: 9, Graphics/Sound: 9, Innovation: 9, Mojo: 9. Final: 9

  • Featuring 136 club teams and 57 national teams
  • Official licensed teams from the Italian, Spanish and Dutch leagues
    4,500 of the world's greatest soccer players
  • New moves and tricks including new free kick and penalty kick techniques
  • First-ever on-screen referee for the series, even giving advantage for minor infringements and stepping in to calm things down
  • Enhanced training mode allows beginners to learn the basics of soccer as well as to help returning fans master the vast depth of play
  • Improved Master League, which now has more strategy through player development, aging and injury, and a new 'My Best Eleven ' option so fans can save their greatest teams
  • The most detailed graphics ever seen in the series
    100's of new life-like animations and AI that feels anything but artificial
  • Players look and move just like their real life counterparts and have facial expressions that change with the game situation
  • English and Spanish commentary and Menus

World Soccer:
Winning Eleven 8

Feb. 2005