The hype around football is reaching fever-pitch at the moment with the culmination of a number of cup finals, season finales and the imminent arrival of the start of the world cup. It’s certainly a good time to be a footy fan, even more so with EA’s World Cup addition to its FIFA franchise and with the release of Eclipse Games’ Legendary Eleven on the Nintendo Switch.
Inspired by the footballing eras of the seventies, eighties and nineties, this arcade-style football sim contains enough mullets, afros, moustaches and shorts so tight, that they’d even bring a tear to the eyes of Pele, Maradona and Best. With thirty-six international teams to choose from and competitions set over five different cups, including the world cup, this game contains enough competitive content to keep even the most hardened fans happy and if you’ve only got time for a quick kick-around, then its option for a simple friendly will cover all corners.
On the pitch, Legendary Eleven’s control scheme plays similarly to other footballing games out there, with a simple pass, shoot and tackle mechanic. However, you can also utilise one-two touch passes, lobbed crosses, dribbles and one unique element to the gameplay that can produce some world-class footballing moves. It works under the premise of the longer you retain possession of the ball and pull off a few dribbling moves, the more a charge meter fills which, once within shooting range, sets off a series of moves that sees you juggling the ball before launching into a powerhouse over-head kick that increases your chances of scoring a spectacular goal.
Passing and shooting are both utilised by depressing the B and A buttons respectively, with a charge mechanic that determines the power of the move by how long you hold the buttons down for. Tackling can be performed by one of two abilities, either standing or sliding tackles that are controlled with the A and Y buttons. Standing tackles involve lunging a foot out to nick the ball off your opponent, however in order to be successful in this tackle you need to be within close range of your opponent. Sliding tackle presents a more urgent approach to retaining possession, but also puts you at higher risk of committing a foul, which can ultimately lead to a booking, sending-off, free-kick or penalty; depending on whether a foul is committed outside of the box or not.
Player runs are implemented with the R shoulder button, however these can only be used in short bursts that allow players to run into space. This makes the need for fluid passing to be incorporated into the play before the opposition close in to make a tackle. The mechanics of both the passing and shooting run smoothly, producing a fluidity to the gameplay; although the pacing of the game isn’t the fastest out there. However, the accuracy of these mechanics aren’t particularly pinpoint, which can lead to a random element at times with regards to positioning passes and shots.
Free-kicks and penalties are nicely implemented here, with a mechanic that is simple to use and can produce some spectacular goals; although its execution isn’t overly simplistic and a level of accuracy is required to pull them off. Goalkeeping is nicely balanced with keepers often acting aggressively to get the ball; even snatching the ball from the feet off your own players, if need be. All of these elements combine to produce a game that plays quite well, although its pacing doesn’t make it a particularly thrilling affair, but overall it does play a decent game of football. It’s by no means FIFA, but for an arcade equivalent it does the job required of it.
A nice feature that has been implemented into the game is the inclusion of a sticker album that offers a couple of variations in its element of gameplay mechanics. By completing certain tasks, such as winning a specific cup with a set team or by scoring a certain amount of goals, you are awarded a sticker that can be added to its page. This not only promotes a form of longevity and replayability to the title, but each sticker also provides a buff or boost to your team, players or the match. It gives the game a nice sense of playing towards something as you work towards, not only completing the album but also to strengthen your squad or boost your abilities.
Unfortunately, one part of the game that does feel particularly lacklustre though, is in its presentation; especially in its ability to produce an exciting atmosphere. Crowd noise is particularly lame, with fan chants and cheers matching a Sunday league game rather than a competition match or a world cup game. The commentary also lacks any real meaning, with a tone that matches the monotony of the bored onlookers. This lack of conveying any form of excitement or urgency to the proceedings can, ultimately, impact on the action on the pitch, making the matches feel unexciting or unimportant in their occasion. Don’t expect to recognise any player names or appearances either, as there’s no Lineker, Pele, Maradona or Van Basten here. Just a handful of meaningless names, although they do bear country specific meanings.
Overall, Legendary Eleven does play quite a decent game of football; albeit one that isn’t in the same league as Pro Evolution or FIFA though. However, as an arcade experience, or as a quick time killer to play with friends in its local multiplayer capacity, then this title delivers a decent experience. It’s extremely accessible and easy to pick up and play, although some of its mechanics are a little too simplistic, such as enticing the opposition to give away a penalty or the ease with which you can win back the ball; especially if playing in the easiest or normal difficulty settings. It’s cleverly enticing mechanic of collecting stickers is a nice inclusion, offering an addictive element in their collection and game enhancements. As it stands, Legendary Eleven offers a nice alternative to the footballing big-hitters out there, as well as offering a cheaper alternative that represents good value for money. It’s not premier league, but then it’s also not worthy of a red card either.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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