Konami have been known for their great soccer games. MLS ExtraTime 2002 continues that tradition. Konami gain the upper hand by producing the first and best soccer game on the Xbox. This will be the last ESPN game to be created by Konami, since they have decided to not renew the ESPN contract. Which means bigger and better things for Konami and all their sports series (Pro Evolution Soccer possibly making it to our shores). Whatever the future holds, let’s look to the game at hand: MLS Extratime 2002–a finely crafted game indeed.
Very nice ESPN feel. The manual is your average fare, typical size but gets across all the important details for the game. We are treated to a nice opening video that combines in-game graphics and real life throughout the video. This game has a very well designed menu and it really has a great ESPN feeling. The following modes are available for the menu: Match (Exhibition), MLS Season, League, Cup (Tournament), Scenario (Accomplish Various Objectives in 10 different games), Training, Edit, and Options (Controller, Sound, Display. Option Data, and Replay). Tons of options and lots to do and all very easy to navigate. In-game we see a replicated ESPN feeling with replays, commentary and more. Overall one of the best ESPN packages I have ever witnessed, and one of the best presentation packages I have seen in any soccer game.
Great rendition of actual soccer. The stadiums are detailed accurately for MLS, full of life with great crowds, arena detail (including ads, etc.) and much more. Grass is nice looking, and weather effects are done well, too. There are options to customize the time of day, weather and more, so Konami have certainly paid due attention to the small details. The only complaint lies with the character models, which are horrendous when viewed closer up. However, when playing you will not notice anything wrong, so it doesn’t hinder the gameplay at all. The animations are convincing, which is a good thing because it almost replicates the sport of soccer. The game definitely looks great, but could possible have made better use of the Xbox hardware.
Mostly good. The background menu music is great to listen to (humming it to myself as I write this review). Once we begin to play we hear the commentators begin by announcing location etc. We hear the crowd cheering, and the PA system blaring. All the normal sound effects heard in soccer games are done well, which is no surprise. A person blindfolded will basically know it is raining, for example. The crowd really is done well. They start chanting, and singing some tunes. They really bring out more excitement when an attempt on goal is being made or the home side steals the ball. The commentary is right on with the plays, the only problem is, since this is a MLS game, you will hear the commentators say the names of the players but only for the MLS teams. For the international teams included in the game, you will hear the commentator say “Number One passes to Number 2,” but at least the game does include all the international teams. In training mode, you hear players screaming to each other what they need to do, lots of attention to detail. All said and done, I’m pleased.
Classic Konami International Superstar Soccer (ISS) gameplay, which is definitely a good thing. The game plays blissfully, one of the smoothest soccer games out there. The controls are so easy to pick up and play, plus they seem to be perfect and another example that the Xbox controller can really do it in all genres. You have the option to have semi-auto, full automatic, or manual, and pressure sensitive for in-game. I set it to manual and pressure sensitive. The pressure sensitive makes for a whole new game. No meters here, the harder you tap the longer the pass or harder the shot. It’s a really great part of the game. The following is your basic layout: L Trigger–change players, R Trigger–Sprint (Speed, Boost), A button–short pass, attack #1, B button–aerial pass, sliding tackle, X button–shoot, attack #2. This is just the layout of the most common moves used by people, I left out plenty of aspects. It is just too much to simply go over here. ExtraTime excels in this area, and overall is one of the best soccer games available.
Plethora of options and things to do. Compete in a full season and if you decide to do it with every team, well expect to be kept busy till next year. There is also tournament, league, create-your-own-player and let him compete. One mode that really stands out is the Scenario mode, which includes 10 games. Now, these games have different objectives to complete. For example, it is 45 minutes into the game, you need to take the Metrostars from a four goal deficit and win the game. There are many varying objectives and difficulties. This mode will definitely keep you busy. You will be busy with the Edit mode since you will want to edit the names and such like for the international teams in the game. Now, if you are just an MLS and soccer fan, then your money is already well spent. You will treasure this game until its next rendition (if ever).
Xbox owners seeking a soccer game should look no further. MLS ExtraTime gets the job done and then some. A very good game, with tons of options to keep you busy. Unsure if you should wait on Fifa World Cup 2002, which is expected to release shortly, I cannot decide for you but if you are a fan of MLS and love soccer (plus there are all the International teams), then pick this game up.