World League Soccer ’98

World League Soccer ’98
3.5
Game Name: World League Soccer '98
Media: 1 CD-ROM
Publisher(s): SEGA
Developer(s): Silicon Dreams
Genre(s): Sport
Release Date: 1998
Serial Number: MK81181-50
Region: PAL

World League Soccer '98 ScreenshotRealism is a desirable feature in sport video games, especially when it comes to soccer. WLS 98′ takes a more realistic approach compared to other Saturn footies but is far from being a full-fledged soccer-sim and, unfortunately, far from being the best one on Saturn.

I’ll start unusually, from the visual side of the game. First off menus, they’re ugly, unintuitive, unispiringly designed and filled with dull colors, plus the mediocre background music.
Before starting the first match, you would think this is a budget game. Players’ stats screens are tables, images and numbers, but without looking into the manual you’ll have no idea what anything means and one of the attributes isn’t even covered in the manual!

Formations are limited, you can change player positions freely or man-marking settings but the only strategies to choose are defensive or offensive. You can’t access the formation screen at half-time, you can’t even chceck the scorers list after the match, instead you can check individual stats for each player. To sum up, WLS lacks presentation a bit.

World League Soccer '98 ScreenshotWhen the match finally begins, you’ll be surprised by some impressive graphics. Players’ models are more detailed and varied than those from Sega Worldwide Soccer, they’re nicely animated too, stadiums are top-notch, the referees are present on the pitch. There are no “black screens” during the gameplay, you know, when there’s going to be a free kick or after a missed shot, here players change their positions, set free kicks (of course you can skip this if you want). If there were no slowdowns or ocassional freezes the WLS graphics would be really great but thanks to those issues they’re just very good.

WLS 98′ offers about 200 teams to choose from, not licensed (Monachium instead of Bayern etc.) which doesn’t matter anyway since it’s a 12 year old game besides you won’t have problems with guessing who Craspo, Ribaldo or Sidane is, right?

World League Soccer '98 ScreenshotThe game modes are rather standard, exhibition, world cup, arcade cup, national or custom league but I have one complain, after winning any cup the game just says “You won”, no unlocks, no clip, nothing special just “You won”. In SWS you were at least shown some various stats, “Best 11” of the cup/league and a “victory clip”, all of this were nice little additions that made you want to play again but in WLS you’re not encouraged to win the tournament again at all.

Commentary is ok, it’s not that repetitive, the players are called by their names, everything’s fine but it’s nothing that special and personally I enjoy Gary Bloom’s commentary from SWS more.

So, after covering everything else, it’s time to say something about the gameplay. This is where WLS loses its potential, I don’t mean it’s bad but it should’ve been a lot better. The main problem is the controls which are pretty awkward especially at the beginning, it’s hard to get used to them, also thanks to unusual button layout (for example, you cross with R button), and when you finally get to grips they can still be frustrating.

World League Soccer '98 ScreenshotPlayers make a diving header instead of normal one too often which can result in missing the ball, sliding takcles are often hard to execute accurately (especially if you don’t want to attack from behind) and they’re are the only way to inercept the ball which is a little odd, shots are ok although it can be a challenge to shoot when not in front of a goal since players shoot always straight in the direction they’re facing (you can always curve the ball after shot with directional buttons but it’s hard to use for your advantage), and there’s only one feint move (stepover, prevents from being takcled I think).

But the biggest problems occur when you’re defending your goal. First one- your teammates are dumb. You think that when you’re not controlling them they will at least try to block the opponent or something like that? No, they stand still or step back which is just ridiculous (you can’t even set an offside trap).
If you want to control a player that is most likely to intercept the ball, you’ll face the second issue- screwed player changing. You can do it with R button but the game stubbornly changes players on it’s own (usually it makes the wrong decision), sometimes you won’t be even able to change controlled players yourself. This may lead to absurd situations where you have 4 defenders in the penalty box and you won’t be able to stop a single opponent from scoring!

As you can see, there’re a lot of faults in the gameplay. That’s really sad beacuse WLS could be a really great footie if those problems were fixed. It’s still a decent game but that’s the problem. At first glance it looks really promising but as soon as you start playing, you can feel dissapointed. WLS resembles real soccer more than SWS but the latter one is definetely a more enjoyable game. If you want to try something different, go ahead, otherwise stay with SWS.

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World League Soccer '98, 3.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating