The World Football: Winning Eleven (WE) franchise used to be the gold standard of football simulation games until the Fifa series came along and usurped the crown.
Will the new World Football: Winning Eleven 2015 (WE2015) reclaim the throne?
It is kick-off time.
Hardcore WE fans have always claimed that its gameplay is superior to that of the Fifa series. In this respect, WE2015 provides plenty of firepower to back that claim.
Unlike the previous version's slow build-up play, WE2015 is more fluid and your passes no longer take an eternity to reach your teammate.
Whether it is jostling for the ball or trapping a ball, it looks more realistic than ever. The ball can move anywhere, obeying the laws of physics rather than just sticking to your player's feet.
You can immediately feel the difference in the first touch or finishing ability when you play as Gareth Bale rather than Gary Hooper. In terms of realism of player and ball movement, it is finally a match for Fifa 15.
However, the matches are still slower than Fifa 15's. WE15 is like the Italian Serie A - all about movement and tactics - whereas Fifa 15 is like the English Premier League, all about fast and furious action.
This is because WE15 requires a better understanding of formations and tactics. It is less about making that Steven Gerrard-esque cross-field through ball, but more about passing the ball consistently well to create space in certain areas for your teammates to run into. It requires more thought and better reading of the game.
As a result, matches rarely go the way of cricket scores, unless you are playing in the lower difficulties. Most of the time, the scoreline is 1-0 or 2-1 at best.
In terms of graphics, WE15 is great eye candy with beautifully recreated stadia, but only a few, such as the Allianz Arena and the San Siro, are available. Player faces and team jerseys - when licensed - are faithfully reproduced too.
However, WE15 players lack emotion and facial expressions, and have none of the rain and snow weather realism exhibited in Fifa 15.
In addition, the commentary gets repetitive and the music soundtrack is as boring as the menu interface.
Again, the lack of official licences continues to be a major irritant undermining its realism. Manchester United, for example, is the only licensed team in local fans' favourite English Premier League. So, if you are a Chelsea fan, you play as London FC in an uninspiring blue jersey.
WE15 sees the introduction of MyClub, which is similar to Fifa 15's Ultimate Team, where you swop virtual cards of players to form the Ultimate Team.
Unlike in Ultimate Team, which lets you bid and transfer specific players, in WE15, you can only engage agents to sign a player whom you have no choice but to accept. You may be tempted to buy virtual coins to open up more options to sign better players.
Other modes include Master League, where you play as a manager, and Becoming A Legend, where you play as one player trying to ascend to the pinnacle of football. MyClub is where most players will probably play the most.
While WE15's gameplay is a match for Fifa 15's, it still has some way to go to match the Fifa franchise in overall entertainment.
- $63.60 (PlayStation 4, version tested); $42.40 (PlayStation 3); $63.60 (Xbox One)
- Football simulation
This article was first published on Jan 07, 2015.
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