We first took a look at the new AFL title AFL Premiership 2006 only a few weeks ago, but PALGN recently had an opportunity to go hands on with the demo and the final game. Even though we only had a real short time with AFL Premiership 2006 it looks like a few improvements have been made although sadly not enough.
Before we get to the demo though we've managed to scoop up a little more information on the mission mode. The mission mode will have sixteen different missions, one for each club. Each mission is based on a real event, such as a wizard cup final or the first round in 2005. Some of the missions are based on specific rounds whereas others are based on the rivalry between clubs. Disappointingly enough all of the missions are from 2005 or beforehand, so if you're hoping to replay that Tasmania incident then maybe you'll have to wait until next year.
The demo begins with an introduction that is sleek and looks really good. Actually it really does feel like half the development time went into the introduction and the rest was spent on tidying up the game. The main menu contains a few gameplay options including quick match, single match, season mode, career mode, training mode and missions. The game also supports the Eyetoy so you can scan your face into the game if you want.
Every option in this build was blacked out except the quick match option, so by method of forced elimination we jumped into quick play option. The away team is randomly generated and you can choose any home team you want to. After a lengthy load the game begins and the first thing we're happy to report is that the camera angle has changed. At last it is possible to play the game in the same view as you watch the game with.
The game includes an instant replay option again and the tactics have been scoped out a little more. By pausing the game you can select what sort of tactics your team employs such as defensive and offensive. Unfortunately you need to pause the game everytime you want to change tactics but it's pleasing that a bit more thought has been put into other aspects of the game.
On field things have definitely undergone a few changes; at least control wise. There are four different moves you can make whilst you have the ball. X is a pass kick, square is a goal kick, triangle is to evade and circle is handball. When you don't have the ball you can tap or soccer kick with circle, tackle with X, bump with square and change players with triangle. As interchanges are made the game reports this in the right hand field of play, which is a nifty feature.
Kicking for goal isn't as simple as just long bombing it and hoping for the best either. If you're near the 50 metre arc or inside the arc then a little goal will appear below the screen. A ball moves in between the goals and the points and the objective is to line the ball up with the two centre posts. The good news is it is now possible to score a goal from outside 50. In the field of play away from the goals you also have more control of your kicks as well. When you go to kick it is possible to overkick the ball and this will see the ball only go a few metres.
It seems that IR Gurus have tried to make an effort but unfortunately, the game is still rather inconsistant. The commentary is just as poor as normal and despite double the lines being recorded it still sounds very dodgy. The umpiring decisions are just as bizarre and inconsistant and the replays still show the glitches the game has such as players running through each other. For some reason it's also possible to concede a free kick without going for the player either.
Despite the downfalls of AFL Premiership 2006 the game has had a few improvements. It flows a little easier this time around, it's possible to employ team tactics and score goals from outside 50 metres. However, for every positive there are still some problems, players can walk through each other, animations often look out of place and umpiring decisions are inconsistant. We'll have our final verdict on AFL Premiership 2006 shortly, but it's at least a small step in the right direction.