The Winning Eleven series has been around for a while now on consoles, but this game marks its first journey into the land of the Nintendo DS. While it’s nice to be able to take the game with you, it’s not going to be a port of the games you know from your home systems. Unfortunately, the game has to be stripped down to work within the DS’s limitations.
Graphically the game leaves something to be desired. The character models are, for lack of a better way of putting it, really really tiny and just hard to see, which can be said for pretty much anything in the game The DS’s screen is really just too small for a game of this type with this camera angle. The sound is decent; it's basically what you expect from a DS game. The sound effects are basic but passable, and while the sounds of the cheering crowds and players may not be realistic, they get the job done.
The gameplay is solid, as there’s a wide selection of teams and players, and more than enough unlockable players that can be bought through a lottery system with money you win during matches. The alternate uniforms are nice if pointless, because as I said, the models are hard to see so the different colors don’t really mean much. The Wi-Fi multiplayer mode is well thought out but tends to lag, especially when there are a lot of players on the screen. Local Wi-Fi games on the other hand are set up brilliantly and really add something to the game, since playing against the computer gets a tad boring after a while. One feature worth mentioning in the multiplayer is that the game doesn't end if you turn off your DS, which helps to quell my frustration with people who turn off their systems simply to avoid a loss whenever they're losing a game online.
The controls are simple, almost to the point where they make the game harder to play than it should be. The character you control is switched automatically, and while it usually works well it doesn't always happen at the best time. The AI also has issues. It's just not very smart, and sometimes lets you pass the ball to someone near you while not paying attention to the fact that you're sure to intercept the ball if they do it. Fortunately, most of these things would fall under the “annoyance” category and won't really affect the game in any major way.
Even though it has its flaws, the game is still worthwhile and is as well done as can be expected considering the limitations the developers had to deal with on the DS. The game is oversimplified to make it workable on the hardware, and you're not going to get a game that's on par with the console versions, but if you’re looking for a portable soccer game I’d definitely recommend this one.
Posted: 2007-05-16 17:59:01 PST