Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 is one of Konami's biggest titles, and its premium position at the company's Tokyo Game Show booth served to show as much. However, the DS version of the game is receiving pretty much the opposite treatment because it was being shown off by one solitary female representative with the DS console on her arm. To be honest, with so many people thrusting things your way on the show floor, we completely passed by her the first time, but we managed to find her on our second run of the show. She was kind enough to give us a couple of matches on the DS in question, and all the while, the console remained securely but probably quite uncomfortably attached to her arm.
While the game is understandably nowhere nearly as pretty as its counterparts, it still plays a surprisingly similar game of football. The biggest limitation comes in the lack of buttons on the DS console, which limits the ability to perform tricks slightly. However, the main actions, such as pass, through ball, cross, and shoot remain exactly the same on the handheld as they do on other consoles. Any skills that you've learned in Pro Evolution Soccer can be transferred over to the DS, and any limitations on screen size are overcome slightly by the radar map that appears on the bottom screen.
The touch screen remains unused for the main part, although it can be used to control goal replays. The main options are to spin the camera around the action, as well as zip along the timeline with ease. It works fairly well, although the simple graphics mean that the replays are rarely worth analyzing. On the plus side, we understand that the game will have some longevity, thanks to a medal system that will allow you to unlock new star players. We're not too sure if the medals will be unlockable in all modes of the game, but there's a good chance that you'll be able to open up a host of extras by playing through the game's league modes.
Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 is hitting the DS in Japan on October 25, but the European/US release has yet to be properly confirmed. With the game so close to release, expect us to have more information on all versions for you soon.