Review: Real Football (Xbox Live)
Gameloft's football franchise 'Real Football' comes to Xbox Live, and I drew the short straw to review it. Look, I know I'm Scottish and our reputation on the world stage is not the best, but the Tartan Army has got far more respect than Gameloft will ever have for this 'effort' at a football game on Windows Phone.
Version Reviewed: 126.96.36.199
The first yellow card comes from the title. Everywhere else in the gaming world, you expect to see a year after Real Football so you can see which 'generation' of the game this is. Real Football 2013 is due out in the very near future. So if we were to put a year on the end of this title what would it be? Real Football 2010.
And that says it all. This is an old game and given its lack of support for Fast App switching, graphical style, and dated presentation, I suspect this was coded for a release early in 2011 and was simply put to the back of the queue for being rubbish. Now it's back at the front of the line and you'll be asked to pay $2.99/£2.29 for the experience.
Don't bother. Seriously. Playing Real Football hurts.
On last week's release I noted that Gameloft are advertising the game with real names thanks to a 'FIFPro licence" and I wouldn't have to see Manchester Red as a team name. Err, sorry about that, one of the first matches I set up in the demo was Barcelona vs Manchester Red. Straight away the demo highlights one of the biggest flaws of Real Football. It feels cheap.
That's not helped by the control system employed. Once more it's a virtual joypad, with a two action buttons (for pass/tackle and shoot/slide, depending if that player has possession of the ball or not). But the directional controller is one of the most inaccurate sticks I have ever played on an Xbox Live game title.
There's also a complication that the controller needs such a large movement to start a player running that if you are running from left to right (or even worse, left to upper right) your thumb is going to cover almost a third of the football pitch, making it impossible to see what's going on all around you.
Neither is the control system very accurate. There's a time and place where gross control movements are a good idea - the finesse and accuracy required for a detailed football game is not one of them. I shouldn't need to concentrate on my control inputs - but it's worse. I concentrate on them, and then the game doesn't act on them. It would be frustrating if it was rare, but it's commonplace.
It makes the game almost unplayable, and looking at the reviews in the Windows Store, I'm not alone. The controls are just one part of the game, you have the audio and the visuals as well. Okay, the audio works, with good crowd noises, TV style commentary to introduce the matches, but the graphics... saying "they're a bit 2010, and mobile 2010" would be damning with faint praise if there was any praise involved. Slow, laggy, unclear, muddy, Windows Phone can do a lot better than this.
There are multiple game options and tournament types, various stadiums to play in, national and international teams to choose from... but it's as if Gameloft went out of their way to put a huge amount of lipstick on a pig. The core game, the essence of the title, is flawed and out of date.
I'll continue to say it, but one of the greatest things that Microsoft have done with Xbox Live is to create this fantastically regular release schedule that gives confidence that there is always a new game to play. But part of that covenant with the players is that they deliver high quality games. Frankly there's far better in the marketplace that could be rewarded with an Xbox Live placement than Real Football. Gameloft and Microsoft should know better.
I suspect that the gamers will know to stay away as well.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at