E3 06: World Tour Soccer '06 Preshow Report

Sony Europe's London Studio emphasizes quick gaming sessions with its upcoming PSP soccer game.

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Though it wasn't the best soccer game to launch alongside the PSP, World Tour Soccer made a good first impression when it came out in early 2005, and now Sony Europe looks intent on building upon that game's stronger points with its upcoming World Tour Soccer '06.

One of the most well-received features in the original World Tour Soccer was its challenge mode, which encouraged players to play a smart, clean game of soccer by awarding points for things like successful passes, clean tackles, and shots at the goal, while penalizing for missing passes and allowing points to be scored on you. WTS '06 will make the challenges an even more prominent feature by featuring 10 all-new challenges, and folding them into the new world tour and medal modes. The new challenges will include simply playing a stylish game of soccer, passing the ball to specific teammates, playing in certain areas of the pitch, and taking a shot at the goal before a countdown clock runs out. Each challenge is said to last for only a brief four minutes, a far cry from your average game of simulated soccer.

The world tour mode will structure the challenges so that players will have to score a number of points before they get access to the next challenge, while the medal mode will let players choose the challenge, the continent, and the teams in a bid to beat all of the teams from around the globe. For those who want a little less structure and just want to jump into a challenge quickly, the play now mode will randomly pick a challenge and two evenly matched teams and toss you right into the game.

Of course, WTS '06 will also include an exhibition mode for a more traditional game of soccer, and it will have four levels of difficulty, eight international stadiums, and the option to tune the match length to anywhere between four and 10 minutes. The game will also feature local wireless multiplayer options for up to four players (two more than offered by the original World Tour Soccer), as well as a game-sharing feature that will let two players go head-to-head with a single copy of the game.

Add to all of this 70 international teams with more than 1500 real-world players, and this is looking like a strong step forward for Sony's soccer franchise. World Tour Soccer '06 is currently scheduled to hit the Sony PSP in June 2006.

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