Sunday, January 06, 2008

XBLA review: Sensible World of Soccer (5/10)

I wanted to like this game, I really did. It's a port of a PC game, I believe, because the season you start in career mode is 1996-97, and it looks like the World Cup it lets you play is the 1994 Cup. The premise is pretty cool: you can play as pretty much any national team or in any one of the leagues in the world, in a friendly, league competition, or career mode, where you buy and sell players and get job offers and such.

On top of that, gameplay has been simplified: it's one-button play. So, in theory, this would be a great game for a novice, right?

Wrong. Completely wrong.

The frustration meter pegs at 11. How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways ... you can't switch players (on defense, the A button does a sliding tackle), and invariably the computer will give you control over a guy nowhere near the play. The computer always knows whether or not it has the ball and will tackle or run to the ball appropriately, whereas you will frequently lose possession because there's no indication to tell you you have possession. The computer knows where all of its players are at all times, and you don't, so its goal kicks will give it possession at midfield, whereas yours will be stolen and turned into shots on goal 90% of the time.

The strategy part of the game is very cool, and I might try just simming games and coaching, but honestly, unless you owned the PC version or are willing to put in hours and hours to raise your skill enough to manage the game, I can't recommend this. I was taking top club teams against bottom teams or solid national teams against minnows and getting beat over and over again. I'd like to keep playing until I get the hang of it, but frankly, I get tired of 70 minutes of fun soccer and 20 minutes of BS every match.

zlionsfan's rating: 5 bookings out of 10.

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