World Tour Soccer 2003 Review

If you follow soccer (or football), then odds are your team is included in World Tour Soccer 2003 (WTS).  National teams, club teams from around the globe, Major League Soccer,... - more than likely your favorite pro team is among the 700 teams included in the game.  If not, then you can use the game's versatile team creation utility to make your favorite team's uniforms and even their flag.  WTS also includes over 13,500 real players, so you won't be playing with a group of fictional players wearing your favorite team's uniforms.

Dribbling past a tackle.

While you could spend a significant amount of time just playing exhibition matches with different combinations of teams, you wouldn't want to do so.  WTS provides a variety of modes that each provide their own set of challenges and add to your enjoyment of the game.  First there is the competition mode which allows you to take control of a team competing in international tournaments.  Play for the Euro Cup, Africa Cup, etc., or compete for global bragging rights in the World Championship (someone else grabbed the rights to the name "World Cup").

For those who want to guide their team through the rigors of a full season of league play, WTS provides a season mode for 15 different leagues around the world.  The season mode is more than just a long series of matches as you drive towards the championship.  In season mode you'll also have control over your team's personnel, line-up, and formation. 

For those of you used to playing season modes in baseball and football games, the trading system may seem a bit strange at first.  Your team has a bankroll which increases after playing each home game.  If you see a player that you would like to add to your team, then you must offer a sum of cash to the team which owns that player.  You are not restricted to players in your league; you can bid for players on any team from any league.  There are a lot of players to sort through, so the game lets you set search parameters so that you can narrow the list down to what you are looking for.  Other teams will also bid for your players during the course of the season, and it seems that at the minimum you will get one bid every week of play.  This can be a bit of a pain at times because you have to individually reject each offer each week before you can play your next match.  It would have been nice if you could mark a player off limits instead of having to reject weekly offers for your top player.

Before each match you can specify your starting line-up, subs, and the formation for the next match.  Your formation determines how many fielders will play in each of your three lines: forward, mid, and defensive.  You can also specify the players that will take corner kicks, penalty kicks, etc., and a team captain, although I'm still not clear on what exactly the captain does for your team.  Once you are satisfied with your settings you move on to the match.