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World Tour Soccer 2003

Developer: SCEE | Publisher: SCEA
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 02/10/03 | Genre: Sports

989 delivers in their latest title--World Tour Soccer 2003. In the second incarnation of the series on the PlayStation 2, 989 picks up where they left off last year and delivers a good, solid soccer experience.

The biggest flaw in World Tour Soccer 2003 is the graphics. Like other 989 titles released this year, other companies are using slightly more advanced engines that push the PlayStation 2 hardware a little more. WTS uses an engine similar to last years version. The big improvement over last years version are the stadiums. They are all very detailed and lifelike. The players look pretty good when the camera is farther off. However, when it is zoomed in, players have some strange looking blotches on their faces. Besides this, some player mirror their real life counterparts pretty closely. But the models in FIFA 2003 look better. This is a step in the right direction for 989 and next years version may rival even EA in the visual department.

One area that still needs some work is in the audio. WTS 03 has one main song that plays throughout the game. While it is a bit catchy, it can get old after a while. The commentary is basic and very repetitive. This has been a problem in all of the 989 games this year. However, unlike the problems with the crowd noises in MLB 2003, the crowd has been implemented nicely in World Tour Soccer 2003. Even team members and coaches will yell or cheer at you depending on how you are performing.

Like the other 2003 989 Sports titles, World Tour Soccer 2003 has a Career mode. As proven in their other titles, this is something I will expect from 989 in the future. In this mode, you can create and develop your own school team, design uniforms, design a flat, and customize your players. You can then begin to get your team in shape and attempt to get them out of the amateur ranks and into the pros.

The gameplay in WTS 03 has a very realistic feel to it. When it comes to soccer, I really dislike titles that try to mix an arcade and simulation game into the final product. I feel this was the biggest problem against RedCard Soccer. You won’t find this problem in World Tour Soccer 2003 though. The controls are very responsive and easy to pick up. However, the gameplay isn’t perfect. I can say that your computer controlled teammates have good AI. But there is a slight physics problem in WTS 03. From time to time, the ball seems to move on its own--which distracts from an otherwise realistic simulation of soccer.

If you are tired of FIFA or are just looking for another soccer game to help keep you busy throughout 2003, 989 has done a great job with World Tour Soccer 2003. It is their best Sports title on the PS2 so far and is worth taking a look at even if you normally don’t enjoy soccer. Hopefully 989 will clean up all the small bugs and bring us a better graphical engine for 2004.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 05/30/03
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Screenshots for World Tour Soccer 2003

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