I figured that Power Eleven would be a good title to "get out of the way" as soon as possible, as I didn't think that it'd be much fun or that there's anyone else in the world who actually cares about it. Its relatively stylish title screen ("stylish" considering this is an old soccer game) failed to get me pumped up for play, and limited visuals and an initially off-putting overhead view did nothing to win my approval. But once I finally got a match going, I discovered that PE is a very fast (and, at times, very exciting) sports title.
It plays extremely well: on offense, your speedy strikers are capable of hard, accurate shots and nifty one-timers, while the controls on defense allow you to make sliding steals and quick, easy alternations among backs. At-will speed bursts take the already-breakneck pace to an even more invigorating level. And the players you aren't controlling at a given time make wise decisions in aid of the cause, crashing the net in anticipation of rebounds and moving into perfect position to receive passes. Passing, unfortunately, comes off as unpolished (the one element that does), as players suddenly seem a little stiff when attempting to send the ball in a direction other than the one they're already moving in.
Power Eleven went from being a game I thought I'd just want to plow through to one I found myself powering up whenever I had a few minutes to spare. It was quite a surprise, leagues beyond the cookie-cutter soccer oldie I'd pegged it as, and it's definitely a title that sports-game fans should check out.
I like to go with a formation that emphasizes offense, and it's fun to rack up dozens of goals on the game's shittier teams; but make it to the later rounds and you'll face clubs that invade your zone much more frequently, necessitating responsible defensive play on your part.
The overhead-view graphics aren't nearly as nice as Tecmo World Cup Super Soccer's in-game visuals, but I'll take PE's superior gameplay anytime.
Penalty kicks have an interesting and unusual look, as they place you behind the goalie instead of behind the kicker.
It's easy to beat the computer down the field and break free for open shots in the early rounds. One-timers become very important later on when you encounter speedier goalies and stingier defense groups.
The halftime shows and post-game reports are nothing special, but they serve as evidence of the designers' efforts to give the game appeal beyond its solid mechanics.
You'll have to beat eleven clubs in order to claim the Cup. Late-round matches are exciting and tightly contested...