Sensible Soccer 2006 Reader Review
If you were a footy fan and owned a home computer or console in the 90’s you couldn’t have a conversation with any other like-minded person without getting into the GOAL! vs Sensible Soccer debate. (LOADING) To say it was split 50/50 is probably not doing Sensible Soccer justice as I believe that did have the edge in terms of “fans” but what most people seemed to find impossible was to admit that both games were amazing and could both be enjoyed in equal measures. (LOADING) Thankfully I enjoyed both thoroughly and spent many hours in my younger years becoming quite a deft hand at both, rather than squabbling over which one was best.
However going back to either game now doesn’t really do them justice. Sensible Soccer has faired a lot better over the years than GOAL! has (despite the fact that if I HAD to choose one back then, it would probably have been GOAL!) but only the most ardent of Rose Tinted spec wearers would agree that Sensible Soccer is as good as it was back then. (LOADING) Sure it brings back fantastic memories and as a fun kick-around for an hour you could do a lot worse but like many games of yesteryear, you really had to be there to enjoy it now.
That said, a new Sensible Soccer based on the old game with improved controls, more tournaments and improved AI, whilst retaining the competitive 2 player action was always going to stir movements in the loins of most gamers aged over 20.
After all it shouldn’t be hard to please the fans. At the bargain price it’s been released at purely an updated version of Sensible World of Soccer with current players, tightened controls and perhaps the ability to play over Live (or the PS2’s inferior service) would have more than sufficed. (LOADING) Instead what I’ve just ejected out of my PS2 in complete disgust is a game that doesn’t deserve to have been released, let along carry the Sensible Soccer name.
After 2 hours play (where I kept going in the hope that it would suddenly click and get better) I can’t believe what I’ve played has got through play-testing, let alone received a 9/10 from these hallowed pages.
First off is…yep those damn loading times. Want to play a friendly, expect to wait well over a minute for the match to load. Every menu you dip into has to be loaded and the menus even suffer from lag and for a site that has commented quite freely on the PSP loading times, it makes me wonder how these got overlooked. Suffice to say, if the ‘LOADING’ text has annoyed you in this review, Sensible Soccer will not be for you.
Once you’ve got over the loading times you could be right in being slightly baffled as to the line-ups for the teams. I can’t remember the last time Dyer played for England, let alone the last time he was fit, but what he’s doing on the left wing is quite beyond me. I was also slightly confused as to why England were better than Brazil, why Aston Villa appeared to have more star players than Arsenal and why no international team scored less than 3/5 stars.
However loading times and squads soon become the least of your worries once you start to play your first game. You kick off and choose to spread the ball immediately to Beckham on the wing, you go to take it round the Paraguayan defender…oh you can’t. You win the ball back with what was a blatant hack from behind without giving away a free kick and point the arrow in front of your player (you now have to aim every pass and shot which, if it worked, would be a nice addition) towards Owen who’s just made a run past the defence…only for the pass to go backwards straight to their striker who now has a one-on-one with your keeper. 1-0 Paraguay. You kick off again and with a few well timed passes find yourself on the edge of their area with Gerrard thumping an unstoppable 25 yarder into the top corner…only for the ball to suddenly become stoppable as you hadn’t realised that Paraguay’s goalkeeper had a score of ‘100’ in his Teleportation stat.
Cue game after game of passes not going where the arrow suggests, goalkeepers teleporting to make saves or worse still, having the ball suddenly appear in their hands even though they are on the opposite side of the goal to that which the ball was just about to go into. Strikers deciding to slide tackle instead of volley from a cross, goalkeepers inexplicably making a save when the shot was going 6 yards wide, or alternatively just standing their looking at the ball 2 inches away from them whilst you run 30 yards to thump it into the top corner…only for the goalkeeper to once again put his ‘100’ in teleportation to good effect.
We then have the referee, who seems to miss 19/20 fouls and then suddenly pops up to award you a penalty…only the arrow still displays what way you’re aiming, which then gives the game away slightly and gives the advantage to the goalkeeper. Genius!
Let’s not forget the camera, which seems to be controlled by Stevie Wonder and wobbles about all over the place, leaving one of the people here who played it feeling genuinely sick after their match.
Last but by no means least is the AI. Sensi was always better played with 2 players but it still put up a good fight when called upon to do so, sadly the AI here would have been laughable in the good old 8-bit days. Opposing players amble around the pitch at walking pace, as clearly the AI doesn’t have access to the R1 “sprint” button. Scoring is made easier once you realise that simply pumping the ball from defence up to their defence results in one of their moronic defenders collecting the ball and running straight into your oncoming striker who then whacks it into the top corner…wait no..the Dutch keeper also seems to have 100 in teleportation as well. Bugger!
Using this tactic I managed to take England on to lift the World Cup, gaining at least twenty shots on target in every game but never managing to score more than two in any match. The most shots I conceded in a match was two and I only conceded one goal in the tournament (apparently my goalkeeper doesn’t have 100 in ‘Teleportation’ but makes up for it with 98 in ‘Fumbling’ and 95 in ‘Standing around aimlessly watching the ball wobbling across the line’).
Yes yes yes, there does appear to be more competitions than you would find in any FIFA or Pro Evo release and it does give you a plethora of unlockables along the way, but what’s the point when the main game is so buggy and broken?
After playing it against the AI for two hours and spending half hour with three other mates who also have fond memories of the original (two of which I used to play the game with), we all came to the conclusion that this was completely unplayable and no fun whatsoever. What after all can be fun about being cheated out of goal after goal and is so bug-ridden you wonder how the developers had the gall to release it in the first place.
So there you have it, a ten-minute review of a game that I just had to review to try and point out some of the many game-destroying bugs so that other people didn’t waste £18 of their hard earned cash on it. I couldn’t even be bothered to read through this review and tighten it up or correct any spelling mistakes as I just don’t think the game deserved any more of my time than it has already received. So save your money or put the £18 towards a game which has been finished and thoroughly tested and instead why not get up in that loft, dust off the Amiga or Megadrive and play the original, which will leave you with that feeling in your loins after all.
3 / 10