New soccer game has that winning feeling

Konami Digital Entertainment will unleash the latest version of the hugely popular Winning Eleven series across multiple platforms on October 28 in Japan. 

The title has sold more than 63.6 million copies worldwide since it was first released - it is known as Pro Evolution Soccer in Europe and the United States - and the Japanese software company has enhanced the match-day experience in the latest release, World Soccer Winning Eleven 2011.

In the versions developed for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox360, the company said maneuverability has been improved "to offer the greatest level of playing flexibility yet."

"When passing, the players not only specify the direction of the pass, but they can now control the strength of the pass as well," Konami said. "When dribbling, the delicate ball handling will enable players to 'dodge' their opponents with feet movements.

"In addition, the movements of the players have become more life-like, thanks to major graphic improvements and the addition of more than 1,300 types of motions, and are combined with the all-new knuckle shot, resulting in the opportunity to enjoy high-voltage soccer as if playing on an actual field," it said.

The result is one of the most realistic soccer games ever achieved on a computer and one that other developers, such as EA Sports, which markets FIFA 11, and Sega, with Football Manager 2011, will have to raise their games to match next year.

Officially licensed by UEFA, the governing body of the sport in Europe, the game recreates the excitement of playing in the Champions League. That tournament was won earlier this year by Italy's Inter Milan, but the game gives the player the choice of 120 club teams and 80 national teams to guide to lifting the cup.

The new version is the first to offer the Master League Online, the much sought-after Master League mode, as well as the Copa Santander Libertadores to decide the strongest club team in South America.

The game will retail in Japan for Y7,980 (€69.69) for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox360 versions, while the PlayStation 2 and Wii variants will cost Y5,980 (€52.21) and the PlayStation Portable game has been set at Y4,980 (€43.48). FC Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi appears on the cover of the game.

FIFA 11, known as FIFA 11 World Class Soccer in Japan, will be released in the territory on October 21.