Pure Football ReviewBy: None
Posted Date: June 3, 2010
The World Cup is almost within reach and Pure Football is Ubisoft's attempt to offer five-a-side thrills with a host of famous faces. It's a brave stab at creating a viable experience freed from the constraints of FIFA and alike, but a flawed one.
The presentation is refreshing and comparable with the FIFA benchmark from the outset when you first see the sleeve. The general art direction seems to have been heavily influenced by the Russian Constructivism movement, which was responsible for many of the iconic revolutionary communist posters that are fashionable today.
Pure Football can call upon a roster of 230 professional footballers and 17 legends from all of the nations represented. Each player is recognisable despite the enhanced styling and chiselled features. The wacky approach is distinctive and works well in tandem with the radical take on the football experience as a whole. This is a game that tries to shake up the status quo by relegating landmark features such as stadiums, commentary, crowds and even referees to the developers rejection bin. Instead of famous football stadia we have unique environments influenced by their location, such as a London power station or the ring in Madrid.
No matter how well a football game is presented it cannot hide issues when the whistle sounds to kick off a match. Gamestyle's first hour with Pure Football did not spark much interest with even our other half commenting on how 'rubbish' it seemed. Perhaps it was our initial shock? Our reluctance to embrace this new vision? Our initial failure to cast off the shackles of the traditional eleven versus eleven experience was healed by time. This isn't like any football game before and depending on its reception may well be a one off oddity.
Pure Football adopts the fast and furious nature of five-a-side with its focus on shooting and scoring. You can instigate some tactical preferences by using the D-Pad when you feel it's required, but generally these won't have much of an impact. Each player has a shot meter; one that we suggest is very similar to that seen in golfing releases and this dictates how effective your attempt is. The meter has as sweet spot (pure shot) that will produce a more successful attempt. Players can shoot from almost anywhere with each member being rated on a variety of statistics. Goals can flow although a fair degree seem to result from rebounds and poor goalkeeping.
The action is furious and should find an audience. For Gamestyle, Pure Football lacks depth when playing, as while you can score a few goals in a matter of seconds the enjoyment factor has been lobotomised. The thrill of executing a brilliant move or set piece is gone, as crossing utilises the same meter system. Here you just have to time a few simple button presses on the meters to result in a goal. It's almost football chained to a quick time event methodology. The passing system is flawed and requires the player to point the left stick (also used for direction at the same time on a small pitch) towards your intended target. The problem being that it can take a second to correspond with one of the arrows around the player in control of the ball. Online this can be a major irritation. Slide tackling is practically forbidden, as a wrongly timed lunge will result in another meter being filled and when topped up; a penalty awarded regardless of where the incident took place.
The stylised environments work but some ill-advised decisions exist with regards to the audio. Gone are the crowds and referees leaving just the sound of the players on the pitch. The result is an eerie experience when set against such huge backdrops and the music is posted missing. Whatever team you select each group of players uses the same selection of British accents, which is strange when playing as France or Cameroon for instance.
Modes consist of your standard online, exhibition, quick play and create your own team. The campaign mode begins with your own creation and from then on your team has to rise up the world rankings. This must be achieved in a limited time as you unlock new arenas and take on the best. What's admirable here is the ability to unlock opposing players through various match actions, such as passing accuracy. Each opposing player offers a specific criteria so even if you lose the game or fail to progress, you may have some new transfer options.
A great deal of work has gone into the online world. The option exists to purchase other players to assist in your quest with many being home grown. You can earn points online and build another unique team. The matches themselves are variable in terms of fluidity and upon release opponents are hard to come by. The few that we did manage either range smoothly or were very choppy. Managing only a handful of games and yet being ranked within the top hundred players online, we can only guess everyone is playing Red Dead Redemption. The major problem is the X button, which has the offensive action of passing and the defensive option of a safe tackle. The close confines of the pitch and emphasis on action often means a wrong action when possession changes quickly.
With unique glitches evident Pure Football is an interpretation of the sport similar to Super Mario Strikers with its emphasis on pick up and play. It's not a match for Gamestyle's traditionalist outlook yet that's not to say it won't find favour with many players.