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Soccer Life II

Football management meets the life simulator. They eye each other suspiciouly and move away slowly.

There have been more football management games in which you look after every aspect of a footballer's life - from training to dating to when you go to bed - than you might think. An early Japanese version of International Superstar Soccer had an RPG mode which did much the same, and there was even an ancient Amiga game called On The Ball which had the same idea.

Well Soccer Life 2 follows that path - take a rising football player and turn him into a world star by managing every aspect of his life. Of course there's what you'd expect: the team choice, handling agents, working on weaknesses in his game, but that's only the half of it. As we said it's every aspect of his life so that's who he marries, whether to have kids with them, where should he live and so on. It stops short of a 'roasting' option, but the choices are pretty exhaustive.


So you get to mother a big man-baby, coaxing him through the peaks and pitfalls that make up the life of a top footballer, by navigating some complex menus - which are made illegible thanks to a thin white font on day-glo backgrounds.

The main problem with Soccer Life is that, for a very slow, fiddly game, there's very little payoff in terms of dynamic action or tangible success. Also the emphasis on the 'individual' in a team game rankles with our democratic vision of football. You're better off playing LMA Manager, although worryingly, this is still one of the better PS2 footie management games. Blimey.

The verdict

An odd concept presented in a curious manner, and one that will leave you feeling empty and unfulfilled. Worst box art ever as well. Ever.

PlayStation 2