MLS Game Night Preview

With an MLS license in hand, Konami is ready to tout MLS Game Night, its latest ISS engine-powered soccer title.

ESPN MLS GameNight

With an MLS license in hand, Konami is ready to tout MLS Game Night, its latest ISS engine-powered soccer title. Given Major League Soccer's halfhearted assimilation into America, one wonders if licensing its name was worth the paperwork. Regardless, the game seems to benefit from a solid production, something that a license's official blessing can only help.

MLS Game Night will feature all 12 of the league's teams - complete with genuine player rosters - and a healthy number of international teams to provide the variety that the actual league lacks. All the great soccer countries are represented, including such notables as Spain, Colombia, and Brazil. All teams will sport authentic uniforms for both home and away games, and a number of real-world stadiums have been legitimately replicated. Konami has also brought on famous commentators to provide legit voice talent - Louis Tapia, whose trademark howl of "goooooal!" has become an indisputable aspect of the sport's mythology, will provide the voice work in the game's Spanish mode, which should appeal to a large contingent of American soccer fans.

At this point in development, the game plays well and looks good. The characters are very simply sculpted, but they animate very fluidly, and the color schemes of their uniforms are right on. The camera lets you view the action from a number of angles and distances, and the whole production looks impressive throughout. The fields look full and realistic, and the action that takes place on them is natural and well scripted.

MLS' control scheme is remarkably tight and friendly to beginners. The X button controls passing, headers, and player switches, while the circle and square controls slide-tackles and kicks. R1 makes your player run but brings with it the expected compromise in control. Stealing balls is as easy as running into a rival team member, and your mates' AI is solid. All in all, the control scheme works well, and, consequently, the game is immensely playable. Expect all the standard game modes to be included in the mix: create a player, championship, and single-match modes have already been announced, with more undoubtedly on the way.

MLS license or not, Game Night intends to be a top-notch product. Whether it wins the hearts of American soccer fans by its license is unlikely, though it might just impress soccer gamers. Look for it this summer.

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