November 24, 2000
Yet another soccer title expected a the launch of the Playstation 2. While EA's FIFA 2001 will has the brand name recognition and respect from the casual gamer, Konami's ISS series has always earned the respect from hardcore gamers for having the better game play experience. Konami have several titles in development for the Playstation 2 including several other sports titles, but in Europe, and increasingly Japan soccer titles are the biggest sellers. Konami need to make some serious noise with this title to compete with the cash laden EA and their FIFA license.
Konami's International Superstar Soccer series has been available for some years on several platforms including Nintendo 64 and Playstation. Fans of the series will be overjoyed to hear that the Playstation 2 version will be available at launch and will allow you to choose from multiple play modes including U-23 teams, 64 team tournament, or a historical situation where can play a (real) classic game and see how you would have changed the outcome. The best moments will undoubtedly occur during the 8 player matches. With 2 multi-taps you will be able to play a 4-a-side match with 7 friends, which should be a blast. ISS also contains real players and statistics, thanks to the FIFPro license. Umbro sponsorship ensures that ISS visually maintains the spirit of the game. As with previous ISS games we can expect the gameplay to prove to be the games strength.
If there is one concern with ISS it's the lack of detail in the graphics. Although the players are motion-captured and the game runs at 60fps, the stadiums look like they belong in a PSOne or Nintendo 64 game. The amount detail on the players is no where near that found in FIFA 2001. The screenshots that I have seen however (and the ones around these pages) are from the game several months from completion, but even with the extra time it's doubtful that the game could improve so much in so little time.
It will be interesting to see how much Konami have done to improve the ISS series with the added power of the Playstation 2. Rumors of a port of the Nintendo 64 game (AI wise at least) are worrying and the graphics look well below the standards set by so many other Playstation 2 games, including EA's FIFA 2001. If Konami can retain the gameplay from the Playstation versions then ISS 2000 may yet be regarded as the best Playstation 2 soccer title for some time.