PSP REVIEW: WORLD TOUR SOCCER 06

It's the perfect game to take on the go if you've got that World Cup fever. by Darwin C.

June 30, 2006 - It would only be natural to assume that World Tour Soccer 2006 for the PSP would be a portable port of the game of the same name that was released for the PS2. While the PS2 version was certainly worth forsaking, the PSP version shows that the developers are paying attention to their market. As far as soccer games goes, this is one of the best for the PSP, simply because it embraces the system and accepts its limitations. This isn't a sim, in the vein of Winning Eleven or FIFA. This is pure, arcade fun that still manages to offer up enough of a challenge for veteran sports fans while remaining very accessible to casual gamers.

World Tour Soccer 06 screenshot

Think of World Tour Soccer 2006 as the official soccer game for those with short attention spans. There are some 11 different modes, all of which offer quick bursts of intense entertainment. It may lack depth in the control department but there are so many different challenges, modes and gameplay variations to hold your interest that you will hardly notice. Each game is typically less than five minutes. No slogging through an hour-and-a-half match. Get in, get your points, get out and move to the next challenge. These quick matches are perfect for portable gaming. It seems that you can always find the time to complete one before shutting it down. It beats having to save a huge game somewhere in the middle. By the time you get back to reloading it up, you may have lost your momentum.

I'm not trying to make excuses for the developers for doing what I'm sure some harcore fans will consider "dumbing down" the gameplay but the fact that they chose to simplify the gameplay and offer fun variations of it in the numerous modes proves that they are aware of the difference between a stick and a nub. A simulated sports game will never be comparable to a next-gen console version if it requires the use of the analog stick. The PSP's nub just doesn't offer enough degree of flexibility or precision. I have not played what I would consider a good simulated soccer game on the PSP, and it's doubtful that I will due to the physical limitation of the control system - or in other words, that damn nub. World Tour Soccer makes good use of what is available, even at the expense of depth.

There is no shortage of teams, players or modes. There are some 70 international teams with more than 1,500 players from around the globe. Granted they are rendered on the generic side, but they do animate smoothly and respond nicely to commands. They will run, pass, shoot, deflect, kick and even throw in the odd special move or two. In the main World Tour mode, you take your team from country to country to compete for world domination. The matches are relatively short and when you win, or earn enough points, you can move on to the next country. Some of the other modes make a kind of mini-game out of the soccer concept. In one mode the ball has to touch all of your teammates before you can score. In case you haven't figured it out, you accomplish this by passing it to them. In yet another mode you have only 20 seconds to score once you gain possession of the ball. Points will be docked if you miss a pass or fail to make a goal. The Totally Outnumbered mode pits you against a team that has a lot more members on the field than your team. While these modes might seem like cheesy variations, they are actually quite challenging and make great practice modes. You'll encounter situations in these unique modes that you normally wouldn't come across in the main Tournament mode, but you'll develop skills that will help you with virtually every situation that you'll encounter in the single-player and multi-player modes.

World Tour Soccer 06 screenshot

You can only play against one other player in the multi-player mode. True tournament play is not an option. The two-player mode can be accessed via the ad hock wireless system, and you can even share a download of a single-player mode with another potential fan via the wireless system. It's a great way to get friends hooked on the gameplay so that they can eventually become formidable opponents that will take part in the two-player mode.

The screen is wide enough, but it's just not big enough to assist you with precise aiming. The controls aren't exactly perfect, as there is a lot of trial and error, and hit and miss. You can have a clear shot on the net, but that doesn't mean anything. If you don't miss, then you'll either hit the posts or the goalie will pull some miraculous save. It may be frustrating but at least the scores reflect that of an actual soccer match.

The camera angles are good, but sometimes they don't change fast enough. More than a few times they would change just before I took a shot, disorienting me for a moment. The long screen manages to give you a good view of the field and even though there can be lots of players on the field, it never gets totally confusing. You can thank the highlights for alleviating some of the confusion. The arenas are very well replicated. They have a striking amount of detail, including a noisy and dynamic crowd. They cheer and jeer in all the right places. The music is powerful and guaranteed to get your blood pumping. The only problem is that there isn't enough musical variety. The announcer seems to be suffering from manic depression. Some names he announces as though he were reading from a list of suspected terrorists, while other names he almost shouts with a giddy and unnatural exuberance.

World Tour Soccer 06 screenshot

As long as you're not looking for the game that topples FIFA, then you're sure to have a ball with World Tour Soccer 2006. As they sometimes say, some games aren't for everyone but this game is definitely meant for all.

Features:

  • WTS ''06 offers quick gaming sessions while allowing users to advance through the
    Medal and World Tour modes.
  • 10 New modes of Play including All Rounder, Classic Challenge, Challenge Plus, Time
    Attack, Checkpoint, Dropout, Outnumbered, Pass Clock, In The Zone and Shot Clock.
  • Fast paced gameplay that is unique and engaging yet demands practice to master.
    Compete in an Exhibition Match for some traditional soccer gameplay.
  • 71 International Teams along with more than 1,100 world-class players and 8
    international stadiums.
  • Gamesharing compatibility allows WTS ''06 owners to share various levels of the
    game with other PSP system owners.
  • Online rankings and leaderboards allow players to see where their WTS ''06 skills
    stand vs. the rest of the world.

By Darwin C.
CCC Freelance Writer

Rating out of 5
World Tour Soccer 06 (PSP)
4.2
Graphics
Great detail in players and arenas. Presentation is excellent and animation is very good.
3.8
Control
A little hit and miss but that can be partially blamed on the camera and the PSP control config.
3.7
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Good all around - could have used more music variety.
4.0
Play Value
Arcade-paced play and lots of it.
4.1
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
 
World Tour Soccer 06 box art
System: PSP
Dev: Sony
Pub: Sony
Release: June 2006
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Darwin

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best