Tuesday 27 June 2006
Owning a copy of Winning Eleven is a bit like the secret handshake in the Masons. If you chat to someone about footie games, the chances are that you've both played Pro Evo - but the bigger man - the one who proves he's hardcore and 'in the know' - is the one that owns the 'modified' PS2 hardware to play Japanese games and uses it to play the latest Winning Eleven months before the next PES arrives.
This is the next PES... now! But, although there are bags of new features and tweaks to sing about, the latest instalment feels a bit like the round-up part of Match of the Day 2 - you've seen most of it before.
Now don't get us wrong, Winning Eleven 10 is a damn fine footie game but, compared to the way the gameplay has evolved over previous episodes, this doesn't have the same steep learning curve. You don't get the same satisfaction, for example, as you did perfecting a halfway line lob in Winning Eleven 8 - instead WE10 enhances the skills you've already learned by booting out flaws from past seasons.
How so? Well, Konami has dulled the trajectory of chip shots, which makes it easier to dink the ball over stranded keepers (hooray!) and they've honed the dribbling to allow tricky players like Ronaldinho and Henry to hotstep through defences - which you'll agree is long overdue. Even the passing system has been tweaked to allow you a much more varied passage to goal.