Saturday, March 29, 2008

Winning Eleven VS FIFA

Strikers Strike
Newcomers have long disliked the shooting system in Winning Eleven, which relies on the true-life equation that power equals height. Still, experts want the control in their hands -- for glory or to sky it over the bar -- and the newest Winning Eleven delivers. The alternative is FIFA's system, which allows you to hammer scoring attempts with Roberto Carlos pace that rarely swerve wide of the target.
Advantage: Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer

Knocking it Around the Pitch
The ability to strike pressure-sensitive passes in Winning Eleven (tap the button to pass to the nearest teammates; hold to pass to a distant teammate) is a subtle, positive addition, but what makes this game brilliant is that it rewards Brazilian-style flair and creativity -- great passes lead to great chances. On the other side of the pitch, FIFA plays the role of England's national squad in that it's just not responsive enough. Risking a last-second pass often leads to a turnover, and the game's so tactically simple that most clever passes go to waste.
Advantage: Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer

Going 1-on-1
Ronaldhino may be on the game's cover, but his moves aren't in FIFA, where it's difficult to work past defenders in one-on-one situations. With so few tools at your disposal and subtle stammering when you run, you're stuck handing the ball off or giving it away. Winning Eleven doesn't offer up anything as thrilling as Cristiano Ronaldo has in his arsenal -- except for the right-analog spin move -- but the ability to shift speeds and step over the ball can be endlessly effective.
Advantage: Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer

Strong Defending
Keeping a clean sheet in Winning Eleven is completely plausible if you stay disciplined, play your position, and stray from desperation slide tackles -- which is way easier said than done. But the final score is in your hands. FIFA's defense is similarly strong, but much simpler, in part because goofy collisions favor the defense, as they often lead to turnovers. Plus, with FIFA, it's way too easy to clear the ball, which strips lots of the drama. And both games' refs need to swallow the whistle once in awhile -- they flash way too much yellow.
Advantage: Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer

Keeping a Clean Sheet
Unlike on the PS2, Winning Eleven's next-gen goalkeepers have a penchant for being careless, though that does lead to more rebounds and penalty-box drama. With FIFA, the keepers are outrageously outstanding -- think Petr Cech before he split his skull. They're absurdly good and will relentlessly stone you, which saps the excitement from just about every worthwhile attempt you muster. Plus, FIFA's keepers are in dire need of a few more animations.
Advantage: Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer

Nailing the Look
FIFA continues its edge in the looks category over Winning Eleven. Even though the players suffer from shiny Crisco face, at least their hair and jerseys move when they run. Plus, the presentation is sparkling. Winning Eleven's players are brightly cartoony, which is passable. But the flaws are exposed during goal celebrations and replays, as everyone has Lego hair and hyperstarched jerseys -- neither move an iota. Plus, the pitch looks "past gen" and in need of a good watering.
Advantage: FIFA

The Licensing Factor
For years, FIFA's selling point has been its ability to outlicense Winning Eleven by a significant margin. This year's team count: 179 to 154. In Winning Eleven's favor. Sure, not every team is licensed (Chelsea isn't, for instance), and you can't edit team names like in the past, but at least those teams are represented. One of the significant failings of FIFA is the omission of eight World Cup 2006 teams. Plus, even though Zinedine Zidane's now retired, Winning Eleven still has him -- which we love.
Advantage: Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer

Many Ways to Play
FIFA has a fantastic Manager Mode that uses real money and sets up specific challenges for your team -- and if you fail, you get canned. And the Challenge Mode, a real time-gobbler, has you achieve goals with different teams (score three times with different players, win a game by two goals, etc.). But there's nothing at all in the way of tournaments. With Winning Eleven, there's the stupendously deep Master League (it doesn't use real dollars, but it does let you build a team from scratch), and you can put together any tournament type you want -- and tourneys are way too fun to leave out.
Advantage: Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer

FIFA has the atmosphere, players with flowing hair, more realistic announcing and a stamina meter that Winning Eleven should steal immediately. But Winning Eleven has minute-to-minute drama that's brought on by putting you in control of everything that happens on the pitch. When you score a goal, you know you've earned it, and being able to watch your stunning strikes from all angles with a brilliant instant-replay system is an excellent feature -- and something FIFA should pilfer.
Advantage: Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer

FIFA made up an exceptional amount of ground this year -- but there's no substitute for what many consider sports gaming's greatest glory: Winning Eleven.
Overall Winner: Winning Eleven Pro Evolution Soccer


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