Club Football - PS2

'Club Football' is *yawn* another football game. Now, from my opening line, you'd think that I had a bias against football games. Well I don't, but I do think that the market is saturated with new editions of games coming our each season. To tell the truth, I have always found arcade football games really good. The Club Football guise is a massmarket production, which appears in 17 different forms, basically representing the top/richest clubs in Europe. The version we had was the Arsenal version.

Ok, onto the actual game itself. The interface is rather bland, but simple to use. It is simple to set up your team as you want it to be - you can select the formation, and the players. Substitutions are also easy, based on how tired your prima donna is. Simplicity aside, there is nothing eye-catching or original here. The formula is tried and tested, so I guess that the game is the really important part. The cutscene animation is good, and the opening scenes seem to run well. But then there is nothing exciting. Your players run onto the pitch in that familiar way. The details on the team kit and the faces is good, you can recognise who people are supposed to be.

But then the game starts, and things slowly side away. The gameplay is less than exciting. If you want to make it in football games, you have to give the player something. Club Football does not really address this. In fact, I'm sure there was a misunderstanding somewhere, and it should really be Clubfoot Ball, as the players crawl around with as much life as a Christmas pudding. One of the most exciting things that happen in the game is when you get a shot of Arsene Wenger on the sidelines, and it looks like he is wearing a black binliner. Battling on, it is possible to string together passes and shoot at the goal, but it doesn't stand up in gameplay against Pro Evolution. Tackling comes in various forms, the gentle push, and the classic Arsenal sliding hack, which usually results in a red card (outstanding attention to detail!). I was down to 9 players by half time. The omission here seemed to be the classic 'keeper hack', where you send in a player to take out the keeper. In fact, your players pull themselves back from the keeper, which is a shame. The replay function is fairly good, and easy to stop. The sound is also pretty good, but nothing too exciting here.

Verdict

Many of the endorsements focus on the realistic player visuals. Yes, the players look lifelike, and this is where the strength of the game lies. Kids and fanatic supporters will by this because of the realistic portrayal of their team, and then they will say it is the best game ever produced. You can also create your own player (yourself) and be part of the team. Kids love that stuff. Such is the blind fanatics mentality. For me, I was looking for a football game that was entertainment, and this wasn't it - and I wasn't too surprised. The game sells itself on true to life reality, and doesn't support that with gameplay. If you are a fan, that might do, but if you are a gamer, you'll want more.