The battle for supremacy in the football world is one that will run and run. On the simulation front it does seem however that Konami have the upper hand at last over the sometimes over-rated EA FIFA Series. The video-games press welcome a new ISS like a cheque for Ã‚Â£1000 (all cheques made payable to Gamecube4R). This latest installment on the 'Cube was no different; all the regular features expected, crisp visuals and pinpoint game play. Did the guys at Konami deliver?
The opening intro is graphically amazing, a mix of finely rendered players and what seems to be trashy French dance music, but who cares? You know quality is on the horizon. The first thing that struck me about ISS2 was the simplicity of the presentation and menus. The opening screen shows your options, it's the usual. Friendly match, this is just your 'pick-up and play' option, two teams, away you go. Next comes the world cup, known as international cup. Finally is the World League, on previous versions this was a 'play everyone' system. The format has been changed with group matches and knock out stages
The graphics at first may seem a little disappointing to those of us will high expectations, but on closer inspection they are very sharp. The pre-set game view is very far away, making the players look like pygmies. Changing it shows the true detail that his been lugged into this game, players boots, moving laces, all the trimmings. The stadiums that surround the players also reflect the hard work from the Konami team. 8 different stadiums can be chosen and at what time of day they are played in, day, with the sun over head, early evening, an orange sunset is cast over the playing surface and night where the floodlights create a 4-point shadow on each player.
Game play is something that ISS games have never lacked, ISS2 being no exception. The controls are easy to learn, the basics, pass and shot, but they are hard to master, like the chip shot or double step-over. The advancement of your ability on the control pad coincides with that of the difficulty level you play at. There are only 3 difficulty levels, 'Beginner', 'Real' and 'Real Hard'. When you play on 'Real' difficulty its like an actual match, the opponents tackle, chances are limited so when you do score its all the more satisfying.
The commentary is something that ISS2 has got spot on, perhaps a football game first! This time there is none of the change in tone at times. Its just perfect there is an atmosphere about the matches that seem a little too real at times.
Perhaps ISS2's failing is on the lifespan front. There is about 7 or 8 hours of fun for one player, the multi-player prospects do somewhat perk the lifespan up but after a while it will get a little boring. There will always be that "fancy a game of ISS mate?" years after purchasing the game. This game is as near to football simulation heaven. Konami just need to think of that something extra, perhaps a management option and then they'll have it, perfection!
Fast flowing action, smooth graphics and good fun with mates.
Lacks long term individual fun, poor manual for ISS first timers.