Review by Da Bomb

"It still holds up against the newest installments"

Football, or 'soccer' as some of you may call it is my favourite sport. And normally, people are disgusted with games that disgrace their favourite sport. At first, I though WLS would be one of those, as I did not bear the FIFA title or EA logo. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. Many have aspired to reach greatness and rival FIFA - the one that spawned many future football games, and this is the only one that has. Put down whatever other game you are playing, and instead switch to WLS...

Graphics
Ever played FIFA '98? Well if you have, then you will personally be able to witness the great graphics of WLS that reign supreme over all other games, including FIFA 98. The players are detailed and bear their most recent logo and jersey additions and/or changes. The stadiums are also quite impressive, albeit not varying enough, but the detail and accuracy is there. There is a slight improvement that could have been redeemed with a little time. The players may look highly realistic form far away, but up close you can see a few problems, most noticeably in the faces. I know it would be hard to make the individual faces for every player out of the whole game, but a little more variety would have been better.
The frame rate is not as impressive as I would have liked, so the animations are a little lacking at times when there is a lot of commotion on screen. This does make the gameplay a little unfair, as you may lose track of what you are doing at a vital moment. This is a little frustrating at times, but not enough be be any real problem.
The crowd is also still a little bit of a disappointment, but they do look better than in FIFA 98 or even FIFA 99. So overall, the graphics are impressive in some ways, but a little lacking in others, so they deserve an 8/10.

Audio
Unfortunately, this is where the problems occur. To star out on a positive note, the commentary is impressive and well done. Good old Peter may not be as recognized or famous as a few other commentators featured in other rival games, but he is teamed up with a good partner and together they deliver a quality piece of work. The two give their own opinions and may make a joke every so often, as they should do. I have tired of older games that feature desultory commentary with no real heart or expression, but in WLS the two commentators have great chemistry together and a recognizable familiarity between them. My one real problem with the commentary that totally ruined it for me: these fake names used for the players are used in the commentary, so you can never get a real good feel that you are actually in the game.
That, I am sorry to say, the the brightest point of this section. The music is not half bad, but cannot compete against Blur and other bands that were recruited by FIFA. There also could have been a lot more variety between the very few songs featured. The sound is also flawed in some ways. Imagine the sound of a heavy beach ball being kicked, and that is the sound of a football being kicked. This is a little odd, and again worsens that out-of-reality feel.
Overall, the commentary is outstanding, though with a major problem,while the other aspects of the audio are flawed, so the sound gets a 6/10.

Gameplay
WLS basically offers what FIFA does, as domestic leagues, friendlies and others are featured, which makes it vary a lot. What WLS does not have is an automatic targeting system, so you have to aim each shot. This can be good and bad, and allows for gameplay not usually experienced in today's football games.
Unfortunately, the gameplay was sometimes a little slow sometimes and wrecked the experience slightly, but other than that, it was extremely fun to play. The controls were very simple and though there was a shortage of moves you could do because of this (eg. dummies, step overs), but for beginners it was ideal. This in itself also strayaed from the FIFA formula.
Do not get me wrong, it may not be the best idea to stray from the great ways of FIFA, the series that outshone the rest, but this game was mainly so good due to its different gameplay - it was not just a FIFA clone.
The idea of realism was also implemented, so players foul, cheat and act the way that they would usually do - a nice addition to an already strong game. Unfortunately, he players still feel like clones, which really makes you wonder what team you are actually on. Sure, they may look different and may have subtle differences in their attributes, but they feel exactly the same.
That disappointment was overcome by the beginner and arcade-player friendly, which gets a 7/10.

Replayability
There are many game modes to use, but seeing as the players feel like clones, you may as well just be playing with the same team in a different competition. There is only 1 cheat that I have found that will liven the game up, and all it does is change the fake names of the players to the real ones. So unfortunately, the replayability may be a little low.

Overall
WLS 98 is incredibly fun to play and uses the playstation's power to nearly its full capabilities, but it does have several flaws and a lack of replayability that do not make it worthy of a 10. If you do not have any other football/soccer games, then this is worthy of a rental, but otherwise, stick to the more recent installments.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 08/16/03


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