While the big guns of FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer kicked lumps out of each other last season, Codemasters drifted in at the far post with a shrewdly targeted effort. The original Club Football did decent business on the consoles, and this term sees it limber up for its debut on the PC as the increasingly bloody battle for the football punter's wallet escalates.
The concept is simple: bespoke versions of the game are released based around individual clubs, covering content, packaging, and the intro. So while the title sequence of the Manchester United version shows a bunch of pie-eaters lurking outside 'Lou Macari's Chippy,' the Arsenal game has the Highbury faithful cheerfully chatting on their mobiles. And although we haven't seen the Liverpool version, we imagine it features sour-faced urchins offering to 'mind your car' for a quid.
We mention these three teams as they are the only English representatives on the PC, whereas the consoles are host to a slew of clubs extending to such mid-table fare as Birmingham City. It's a cautious approach, with the big three (Chelsea fans may disagree) supplemented by Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Borrusia Dortmund, Ajax and Marseille.
Either way, each game enables you to take charge of one of some 250 teams for friendlies, with a Super League and a Domestic league played out with your club of choice. On the pitch it's a largely arcadey approach, with little concession given to the laws of gravity and physics. It's generally end-to-end stuff, with the ball pinged about at pace and keepers making supernatural saves. Goal feasts are possible though, and there is almost always time to create one last chance. It may not have
the finesse of Pro Evo or the slickness of FIFA, but instant thrills are the order of the day.
You'd have to be a bit weird to buy a version if you weren't a supporter of that particular club, but for genuine fans there are plenty of extras, such as unlockable videos of memorable goals. There are also scenarios to play out, although historic matches are perversely played using this year's squads. And
in an extreme example of sloppiness, the Arsenal version sees the Gunners take on Man U in the final minutes of the 2001 Cup Final, which was of course played against Liverpool.
Despite such howlers, there are some good ideas here - such as latest scores being flashed up during your league games - as well as gimmicks such as create-a-player and even create-a-club. Ultimately though, it's a largely unpolished affair that will only appeal to fans of the clubs featured. And with no Chester City version in the pipeline, this reviewer is not interested.
- Responsive action
- Reasonable likenesses
- Extensive extras
- Decent tunes
- Limited in appeal
- Contains errors