Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Sensible Soccer 2006

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Electronic Theatre ImageTalk about Football games today and it’s likely only two brands will come to mind; EA’s FIFA and Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer. Things were not always the same though, back in the heady days of 16-Bit gaming, before even FIFA International Soccer, there was a different king; Sensible Soccer. It’s sequel, Sensible World Of Soccer, is widely regarded by it’s fans as the best Football game ever and many still play the ten year-old title even now. Although incredibly simple, due mainly to lots of system’s controllers having only a few buttons, and featuring bright, but ultimately minimal graphics, hours could easily be poured into Sensible Soccer, especially in Multi-Player, perfecting the fine art of curling the ball into the top-left corner from thirty yards out. Although the original is still a fine display of addictive game play, graphically Sensible Soccer is a game from three generations ago and predictably, not as pretty as you remember. Fortunately, CodeMasters are bringing the insanely fast, stupidly addictive, pick-up-and-play character of Sensible Soccer to the Xbox and PlayStation2 in the guise of Sensible Soccer 2006, and hopefully, unlike the terrible PlayStation incarnation, they have got it right this time.

Right from the off fans of the original will appreciate the presentation of Sensible Soccer 2006. The Menu and Loading Screens all pull the nostalgia strings, although compared to the heavily endorsed Electronic Theatre ImageFIFA Title Screen; they do seem a little dated. Even when the game starts the feeling continues, the classic fast-paced gameplay is all here, together with the top-down view and the cartoon style graphics. However, the formula has been changed slightly, to mostly good effect. Although the Xbox Control Pad has many buttons and triggers, Kuju Entertainment has kept the simple pick-up-and-play nature of the originals through the use of only two buttons for basic play; A and B. The A Button passes the ball whilst B is used to shoot, long pass, lunge and slide tackle, depending on the situation. Y is used to signal for tactical changes and to sprint the player must pull the Right Trigger, however this must be used sparingly as players only have a limited amount of stamina in each half, making timing essential in scoring goals against the tougher opponents.

This simplistic approach makes Sensible Soccer 2006 incredibly easy to play, even for those not well versed in computer gaming and as such retains the addictiveness the original enjoyed. However, Electronic Theatre Imagethis will not be to everybody’s taste, especially those used to the intricate controls of Pro Evolution Soccer. The lack of a Manual Player-Switch is also occasionally annoying – especially considering of the number of free input buttons available – but the A.I. does do a decent job of eliminating the need for one. Once again Aftertouch is present in Sensible Soccer 2006: immediately after a strong kick, moving the Left Analogue Stick in a direction allows you to curl and chip the ball to an exaggerated degree. Perfecting this skill allows some amazing shots and adds a lot of depth for experienced players.

Just like Sensible World Of Soccer, Sensible Soccer 2006 features loads of customisation options. A huge array of teams are available, albeit with false names, and many Tournaments are on offer, now with the added incentive of unlockable novelties for Cup and League winners. Custom Cups and Leagues can be created with ease, as can four Custom Teams. Each player can be customised with a wide-range of options, along with their kit. By winning competitions with a Custom Team, players are upgraded in an RPG style, adding experience to their previous tally – definitely a welcome addition; however, due to Electronic Theatre Imagethe lack of skill of your starting players, competitions can seem a little difficult at first. Thankfully the real attraction of Sensible Soccer, the Multi-Player, is all present and correct, with all modes playable Co-Operatively or Versus for up to four players.

Kuju Entertainment – the team responsible for last year’s Battalion Wars – has done a fine job of translating the classic Sensible Soccer style into three dimensions. Despite using the classic top-down view, all players are rendered in 3D using a Cel-Shaded Engine that fits the title well. The fast pace of Sensible Soccer 2006 is never let-down by any drops in Frame-Rate, although the combination of super fast play and the viewpoint can cause you to lose track of the ball in those messy six-yard box encounters. Animation is also generally good, although in some cases the Goal Keepers can seem to mysteriously teleport across the goal mouth. Graphically it lacks the realism Electronic Theatre Imageof Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA, but given the manic gameplay, the cartoon approach seems entirely justified.

The weakest point of Sensible Soccer 2006 is easily the sound. Aside from the occasional crowd cheer or whistle, sound is fairly non-existent during matches. The music is also somewhat subdued, not a huge problem, but one that should really have been paid attention to.

If you liked Sensible Soccer, you should buy this game right now. It is a faithful re-make of an outstanding game and a great release in it’s own right, with enough new content to amuse fans of the original. For those not versed in Sensible Soccer, Sensible Soccer 2006 is a very easy to play, but hard-to-master game that can provide hours of fun even for those few not interested in the beautiful game. Although unlikely to rival the giants in sales or necessarily appeal to those looking for a realistic game of football, Sensible Soccer 2006 is a game that proves that the likes of WarioWare Touched!, Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? and even Super Smash Bros. Melee are correct; and Nintendo’s ideology that they’ve been campaigning for a while now does have it’s own feet to walk on: simple is fun.Electronic Theatre Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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