Kimberley Ellis
03 Jul, 2010

Pure Football Review

PS3 Review | The vuvuzela's won't be buzzing over this one.
With the business end of the World Cup at hand, Ubisoft has capitalised on the exposure of 'the world game' with the release of their arcade soccer title Pure Football. But like a stadium full of vuvuzela buzzing in your ear, the novelty of Pure Footbal wears off quite quickly leaving gamers to scamper off in search of their well used copies of FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer for a decent football fix.

In lieu of playing the sport in the traditional manner, Pure Football has gone down the arcade path using a five-on-five variant of the game and a presentation style that is reminiscent of EA Sports' arcade soccer title from a few years back, FIFA Street. Rather than presenting players with a realistic soccer experience, Pure Football is all flash and dash - fast-paced action and a flashy presentation style. This is apparent from the first kick off when you'll start to notice the smoke trails behind every shot, the ridiculously over-the-top dribbling moves, and the crosses into the box which sends the game world into a slow-motion mini-game, where you are forced you to push the button at the right time in order to score a goal.

While this style of gameplay has worked for other arcade sporting titles such as NFL Blitz and NBA Street, Pure Football relies too much on the flashy special moves and the glitzy television commercial style presentation that it forgets that fun gameplay is what draws gamers to to this titles. While these effects do look pretty cool when you first start playing, the novelty of it all soon wears off leaving you to see not only the shallowness of the title, but all of its flaws in full glory.

Winner winner chicken dinner.

Winner winner chicken dinner.
Rather than giving you the chance to control any domestic teams from the number of top-tier leagues from around the world, Pure Football allows players to face off against 17 international team-based squads. By playing these squads and meeting certain criteria, players can then unlock a number of world football's biggest and brightest stars - with the title boasting 230 playable players all up.

The crux of the game is its campaign mode, which kicks off with a custom made team according to a players preferences. Your ‘goal’ is to make them qualify for a tournament that will pit your custom team against the finest footballing talent from around the world. You’ll start off the campaign by creating your own logo, team name, kit and captain. From here you will be given a lowly flock of players and thrust into a number of events which you must win in order to collect 'Pure Points' which can then be used to upgrade your captain throughout the course of the tournament. As you win events you’ll be promoted up in the rankings, while losing games will accomplish the exact opposite. Within each event you will be given a different objective to accomplish. These these range from winning a timed match to winning a match by a certain amount of goals before your opponent does. The more difficult the challenge, the more greater the Pure Point rewards - making it easier to upgrade your captain. For every event you take part in, you will also be given the opportunity to acquire certain players from the opposition by completing certain set criteria. These objectives range from the simple (complete a number of passes) to the difficult (do not allow your opponent to have more than 3 shots on goal). Depending on how quick you adapt to the game, you can quite quickly gain access to other players.

One feature the game does do well is that it contains a lifelike representation of many of your favourite football players - (Beckham, Klose, Cannavaro, Gerrard and Crespo to name a few) - right down to to their strengths and skill sets. The importance of collecting a good core nucleus of top stars will become most apparent to you as you play through the campaign - it becomes glaringly obvious once you start to face off against the top national teams such as Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy and the like. You'll find yourself becoming quickly schooled if you don't upgrade with haste. These teams prove to be even quicker, harder to tackle and - most importantly - have a deadlier strike at goal.

Some of football's biggest stars jostle for your attention in Pure Football.

Some of football's biggest stars jostle for your attention in Pure Football.

The game has a number of upsides, but there are also a worrying amount of downsides to Pure Football which detract from the title's overall appeal. The most fatal flaw of them all are the unresponsive controls. This sluggish control system slows down the overall pace of the game, making it frustrating for players to open up space to effectively utilise the game's special moves. Another annoyance is the artificial intelligence of the NPC players who often don’t move into useful positions which makes the functionality of the passing mechanic a frustrating mess . Another issue is the effectiveness of the through ball, which is essentially ineffective unless your player is in the perfect position, making interceptions a common occurrence. On the defensive side of the coin, tackling is a major annoyance with most slide tackles registering as a foul, leading to an instant penalty shot - rendering the slide tackle completely useless. All of these annoyances lead to the player being forced to adapt to its style in order to successfully progress through the game.

Get your penalty shots here.

Get your penalty shots here.

Visually, Pure Football will not take your breath away, but it does put together a graphically competent package. The attention to detail is particularly evident from the player models, with the digital players looking strikingly alike to their real-life counterparts. Each stadium environment is also well detailed and vibrant in its colour scheme.

The same can't be said about the game's audio which to be frank is downright horrible. Aside from players randomly sprouting comments there is no crowd noise or musical accompaniment which is downright baffling. While the visuals accentuate, the joy and passion that we associate with the sport, the lack of audio numbs the atmosphere to the point that it's so dull that you may as well play with the sound turned off.

After you’ve had enough of the career mode there is an online multiplayer component to check out, which has a lot of potential as Ubisoft have attempted to create a deep league system. Unfortunately, the online component of the title has some serious lag issues which will drastically effect how much enjoyment you can garner from playing online against other human opponents.

While not being a complete bomb, Ubisoft's take on arcade soccer has too many flaws for it to be considered a fun title that will keep you engaged in the long term. With its broken gameplay mechanics and sluggish controls, you'll find that you're probably better off tuning into the World Cup itself rather than sitting down with Pure Football.
The Score
While not being a complete bomb, Ubisoft's take on arcade soccer is fundamental flawed.You're probably better off tuning into the World Cup itself rather than sitting down with Pure Football. 5
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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1 Comment
3 years ago
Considering it is on sale everywhere for $25 I wasn't expecting it to be great.
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    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  27/5/2010 (Confirmed)
  UBI Soft
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