SHORT REVIEW: PS4 VERSION
I did a potentially bad thing… but hear me out first. Don’t prejudge, but I preordered Kick Off Revivial. I know, I know. Preorderings a ludicrous thing to do.
Once upon a time there was a game called Kick Off 2. It was a long long time ago, before electricity was invented, all your fancy-pants devices ran on steam. Yes, even the toaster, which made the bread soggy. ohhhh… These were tough times. In this era I had no income and had no real idea of the concept “disposable income”. When I received an offer to play a brand new game for my Amiga for free, I took it. To this day I have had no idea where those magically appearing floppy discs came from.
I owe Dino Dini some money.
I hope the games not a load of old tosh.
Update – In a fit of madness the decision was made to review patch 1.3. Yes, I’m an Idiot.
Wow… what a menu screen. Go on, look at that.
Let’s use the word barebones.
You excitedly wade through the busy menu screens to actually play the game. So what, who cares about Menu screens. It’s the action on the pitch that really matters. I’m really to re-embrace the Kick Off from my childhood.
Actual quote after the playing my first game.
“Bloody hell, this is shit.”
The controls don’t make much sense. Like the original Kick Off you only use the one button. But in a desperate need to complicate and modernise, you’re left with a control scheme that is unintuitive. Or to put it another way, it’s about as intuitive as directing Monkey Pulp Fiction without banana’s. It’s so poor I’ve had to make a control guide at the end of the review, for any other unfortunate humans that bought this game on day one. Remember kids, never pre-order.
Let’s try practice mode, figure out these controls. No there is no proper tutorial. Normally I wouldn’t mind skipping a tutorial or forgoing any instructions. Then again, most games play the same and all controller nuance isn’t crammed onto the one button.
When you need to introduce a flowchart to explain the controls, you might have to concede you may have fucked something up here. A flowchart!
Kick Off Revival is not a beautiful game, but it is very quick and hard to control. So far, so Kick Off. Normally you can look beyond the aesthetics but unfortunately Kick Off Revival is a very lazy and buggy game.
Lazy because it’s visually uninteresting, I’m not saying you needed a linesman or ref on screen, but you could at least code in Yellow and Red cards. When you’re lacking the football basics, the kinda basics your previous game had, a game made in 1990, that managed to fit everything on a floppy disk, disks that barely had enough space to fit a single holiday picture on…. That’s pretty disgraceful.
There are no tactical screens, no subs, no tutorial, no changes in the pitch types, no rain, no customisation, no replays, no options, no changing the mini-map size, no nuffin’. You’ve a single player and VS, a cup competition and netplay. You can play the original 26 year old Kick Off 2 for a bigger experience.
I don’t mind Kick Off dropping the offside rule, but I’m not ok with the striker waiting patiently inside the actual goal waiting for a pass. It’s insanity. The AI is insanity.
Kick Odd Reviled is extremely buggy. You’ll have moment’s where the goalkeeper will save and hold the ball, walk the ball back into goal itself, before kicking it out. Wha’ wait, What!? It suffers visually glitchy moments such as a strange 0.001 second flash of the centre circle, every time the whistle goes for half time. Every… single… time.
A few games later I started to “get” the controls. Much like classic kick off, you never really feel that in control, with the game resembling pinball rather than football. There are very odd decisions within the control scheme, man I wish we had a change player button. Or at the very least, have the game correctly change to the player that’s closest to the ball. Goal kicks are out of your control, as the AI hoofs the ball down the pitch. Taking corner’s is a painful experience. You can even boot the ball out for a throw-in from a corner. Bloody hell.
A quick word about the sound FX. There are barely any, in fact I can list them. You’ve the cheer of the crowd whilst the game starts or ends or a goal thingy happens. The sound of hitting the post and the refs whistle. That’s the sound. Top tip, put some music on if you ever plan on playing this.
A quick word about the music on the main menu screen. It hurt my ears.
Because of the controls you’ll blast the ball out of play every 2 seconds and because of the frequency of this, you’ll come to resent the throw-in animations. You’ll resent much. So much resentment.
A fair few games later I’ve pretty much got the controls down, can pass the ball and scored various types of goal. Yes, even headed ones. It doesn’t save the game, but it is playable if you want to slog through you’re learning process.
Strangely for a game missing so much, the online play works perfectly well. In theme with it’s barebones nature, you can’t pick you’re own team, not that it matters. All the players are the same. Maddeningly and you’ll have to wait 30 seconds for the 2nd half to begin, can’t both players agree to get on with it? What the fuck are we waiting for?
This is true even in single play game against the CPU, a resume match timer kicks in at half time… why? It’s just me and a CPU. What if I want to go into my garden to build a wickerman? Does the CPU have an important date, why didn’t it consult me? Oh… I figured it out. It’s the same reason why everything is the way it is. The half time screen was coded for online play only. To save time and money they couldn’t be bothered to remove the timer for single player mode, or create another screen. Bloody hell! This sums up the entire experience. Lazy.
From a technical perspective this is a 2/10 game. Nope, it should not have been released in this state. Patches are not an excuse.
A cute moment is when the players leave the pitch they stop to look back, possibly doe-eyed, before heading down the tunnel. I realised this wasn’t a cute moment, they were simply returning to their default positions at the beginning of a game, when they line up against each other. Even when it’s cute, it’s done so from a position dirty quick coding.
Beyond all the penny pinching there is a Kick Off buried within this mess. The controls are very strange, but learnable.
Under the terrible presentation lies a modernised Kick Off in severe need of tightening up, bulking up and patching. It might not be a total write off in the long term. But right now, right this second this is untouchable. You shouldn’t spend any money on it yet.
If you have never heard of Kick Off. Do not buy this game. You will hate it.
This game needs 3 patches minimum. Maybe in time, It might be worth trying a demo, if it exists. Also I said “maybe”.
If you do take the plunge, read my guide below. Or study the flowcharts, with your glasses half hanging off your nose like an elderly, but dignified diamond appraiser.
Protest to Mr score guide for venting number rage.
KICK Off Revival CONTROL Guide.
I’ll post the flowcharts below, but I’ll explain it far better.
Very simply you’ve got two inputs. A single analog stick and the X button to do everything from kicking to tackling.
The further you push the stick, you’ll notice a red meter building up. Yes, you guessed it, this is how hard you’ll kick the ball. As it’s such a quick game, it’s very hard to judge.
In possession you can push forward and tap the button to “kinda” pass the ball. To receive the ball, don’t move the stick at all; to do so, is to put the player in “manual mode”. If you put a player in manual mode there’s a very high chance you’ll run around the ball, in a circle swearing loudly.
If you kick the ball and let go of the stick, it will go a million miles in the air. So between this and leaving the analog stick centred to retrieve the ball, you’ll end up hoofing the ball off the pitch over and over again to extreme anger. Eventually this will become a tad more natural, if you manage to stick with it. Far from ideal.
To trap and control the ball you’ll need to hold down the X button. You’ll go into strafe mode. You can then point in the other direction and let go of X, and yes, you will head in that direction. Yes once again a painful exercise, but you can learn to cope with this.
You can slide tackle, but you’ll only really need to do that if you’re looking to break someones leg, or slide for goal, or knock on the ball in open play.
The best way to tackle is hold down X to go into strafe mode. You’ll trap the ball off the other player. If this happens to you, you wont be able to “re-trap” the ball from the opposition straight away, so it really is a handy way to steal the ball.
Shooting for goal is pretty much the same as passing. Remember you can curve the ball after smacking it, by pushing the analog stick in the direction you want it to curl in.
That’s the basics. GOOD RUCK!