The commentary is done by Japan's 'voice of soccer' Jon Kabira who is joined with by his real life co commentator Katsyoshi Shintou.
The winning eleven series have never been about the graphics and always looked inferior to the Fifa games. You would be surprised to know that this is not true with this version. The first thing you will notice on starting a game is how each stadium (which are modeled on real stadiums) looks superb and accurately modeled. The game runs at a constant 60 fps (which does drop every so slightly and very rarely when taking corner kicks) and with the higher resolution every thing looks clean and well detailed. Real time shadows, some nice lighting effects and the attention to detail make this a joy to watch.
The player animations have been greatly improved and now the players flow ever so smoothly and grace the pitch in striking realism, from a distance it looks like a real soccer match being played!
This is the big one and winning eleven 5 does not disappoint. Passing has always been winning eleven's strong points. And in this version it feels perfect. Winning eleven 5 introduces an optional full 360 degree passing with the right analogue stick. You can still play a great game with the standard pass button but you clearly open up new possibilities in attack if you choose to implement the new 360 degree passing.
Winning eleven 5 gives you 4 different ways to run with the ball, that's right I said 4! The first is your standard jog with the press of the left analogue stick. R1 is the full speed dash, but you have less control with the ball and cannot turn as sharp, you are also more prone to over running and losing the ball while using this move. Holding R2 will allow your player to run at medium speed, giving him more control over the ball and you are less likely to lose the ball. L2 allows your player to move slowly. It feels almost like a walk. I assume this allows you to hold up the ball and keep the ball. I also found that you are less likely to be brushed off the ball from a barge from the opposition while holding L2 down.
The goals in this version are bigger At first I found scoring from crosses very easy and that it seemed just impossible to defend against. But after extensive play I can say that if you don't know how and when to instruct your goalkeeper to run out to either catch or punch a cross away you will concede goals each time. Shooting from long range and scoring is very hard to pull off but is very rewarding once you manage to pull it off!! It depends on the player, the amount of power, the timing of hitting the shot in your stride and whether or not you added any curve or spin to the shot. 8/10 times when hitting a shot from long range, you are more likely to sky the ball, hit it miles wide or just wide of the goal or see it tamely creep towards the goalie or see it charged down. But practicing hard will bring you closer to scoring some fantastic goals.
Players now control the ball, move into space and play passing moves very fluidly now. You can easily take down a long pass on the chest or bring it down instantly (this again depends on what skill rating a player has) and keeps the flow of the game going smoothly.
Goalkeeper AI at first seemed to be very dodgy and did not feel as complete as in previous versions I find that some goalies are prone to making stupid mistakes and allow easy goals to be scored where as the top goalies like Chilavert and Khan are very safe and very hard to score past. I think it does add realism to the game but I still prefer the goalkeeper AI in the PSOne versions
For those who played the Winning Eleven series they will instantly feel at home. Winning eleven 5 keeps the same layout from the previous version. Navigating the menus are very straight forward and simple. So those wanting to import the game need not worry.
The menus are very basic and nothing special to write about.
But since when have the Winning eleven series been about flash presentation?
There is no option to convert the menus to English and also for those importing they will have to manually edit all the player names from Japanese to English if have a lot of spare time and prefer seeing English names. You can also change all the player's names in club teams and All star teams
One slight problem is that there are more loading times in the game, while it is a pain at first it does not prove to be a problem after a few games. Also there have been reports of a few bugs in the game, one of them is that the game can crash randomly, After clocking 400+ hours I can say that I have not experienced such problems with my version but if I do I will post them.
Some other bugs include player data being inaccurate, some players have the same squad but the bugs I experienced do not detract from the overall game and is nothing that will effect your enjoyment.
This is a must buy for gamers who love football!! The previous versions of winning eleven have got so much depth in it and I been playing them for 7 months before I got this version and kept seeing new things in it every time I play it, I am very confident that I will continue to do so with winning eleven 5.