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June 30, 2010
Pure Football - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
27/5/2010UbisoftUbisoftUbisoft Vancouver1-42
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Pure Football is out now on PS3.
So what do you do when the worlds biggest sporting event, the World Cup, is here, but you don't have the official license or a strong, much-loved, game such as Pro Evolution Soccer? Well you create another franchise of course, in this case Pure Football which is a 5-on-5 game set in a variety of unique locations. While the PC version of the game has been canned the XBox 360 and PS3 versions have still been released, and it's the latter which we've checked out.

In terms of what this game actually feels like it has a little bit of a FIFA Street feel to it. The 5-on-5 arcade styled gameplay is pretty exciting for the most part as the pitch is fairly open. Also impressive is the way in which you take a shot at goal, yes it's a timed button press, but this also occurs with crosses in towards teammates near the goals. Time the cross and the shot perfectly and the likelihood of a goal is high, mistime and you'll likely miss or have the shot blocked.

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A header towards goal in Pure Football.
The bulk of this game comes about through the campaign mode. When you start this mode you will create your own character, and team clothing and emblem, who will stay with you from start to end. Of course he starts out with pretty minimal abilities and stats, but these can be upgraded over time with Pure Points which are earned in the matches by performing actions such as scoring, shots on goals and so on. The campaign consists of several scenarios at each location - be it winning a 3 or 5 minute match, the first to score 3 goals, or win a tournament. As you win these matches and meet set objectives (not giving away a penalty, completing a set number of passes, or scoring a certain number of goals) players from the defeated teams become available you so you can upgrade your own team. These players are real-world players so it's likely some of your favourites will be among the 230 included.

Despite all this however there are some glaring issues. The controls are decent enough, and they way in which you shoot for goal or cross a ball is good, however the players are just so unresponsive at times. It's like you need to plan to shoot for goal 2 seconds before you want to or else you'll be tackled - there are no quick shots. Same with passing and so on.

Penalties are also an annoyance. Foul the opposition, and our foul gauge meter will fill up. If it gets full, and even if you're in the back half of the pitch, it will be a penalty. So that's how the game was designed, fair enough, but it seems that I manage to foul the opposition a hell of a lot more then they do to me despite very similar tackles.

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Visuals look ok, but are laggy...
Speaking of AI these guys are as dumb as shit, probably dumber in fact. Players more often then not fail to move into good receiving positions, but will line up behind the defenders making a pass quite hard without being cut off. But OK, we can live with that, it makes you look for options, and the marker around the player with the ball will turn green for an open teammate. What really grates though is the AI on the goal keepers. There is no way to manually control the goalie, and he makes some of the most inept decisions seen in video games since, well, probably the SNES days. He stands there, the attacker comes towards the goals, and more often then not his feet will be glued to the pitch. Should they shoot he will often lunge for the ball but keep his hands near his head and totally miss the ball that could have almost been headed away. Soooo annoying.

Finally we have to question the longevity. The Career mode will probably chew up 5-6 hours of your life but beyond that there isn't much else to do besides heading online which is where we struggled to find players with the game to give it a go. Loading too becomes an annoyance, although it's not horrendous by any stretch of the imagination. Finally (again) when you complete the career mode your created player can get uploaded to the Ubisoft servers, but after that you can't re-complete the campaign. Strange.

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... or is that gameplay?
Visually the game has its ups and downs too. The soccer pitches themselves look pretty nice, and there is the occasional nice animation here and there - as previously mentioned though the characters still aren't responsive. Players too look pretty solid and from what we can tell (we're not massive soccer fans here) they seem to resemble their real-life counterparts fairly well. What takes the cake though are the gorgeous menus and animations when goals are scored or matches end. It looks great. Sadly though the game still left a slightly bitter aftertaste as it just lacks that extra spit and polish with some rough moments, missing atmosphere around teh pitches and occasional animation errors which fails to bring it up to a 'nice' looking title.

I hear crickets... well almost. How is it you can develop a football game, and even a street based one, with real players, and (if the gameplay was better) real excitement and yet have the matches played with no crowds and minimal effects besides some player shouts and the odd woosh when you sprint around. The only saving grace is the music which is lively and suits the sport pretty well. Overall though Pure Football doesn't actually sound much like a football game - although fortunately there are no vuvuzelas!

Sadly Pure Football isn't a great game, but it's not a total disaster either, just close to it. The menus and captions are slick, the inclusion of real-world players nice, but the gameplay is poor, and the game lacks pizazz. Perhaps if Ubisoft hadn't rushed out to release for the World Cup and spent another 6 months developing the title it could have been special. I would suggest skipping this one.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSNice menus, cutaways and touches here and there, but just as many disappointments such as missing crowds.
SOUNDSound is quite lifeless and quite forgettable. Some music is passable though.
GAMEPLAYThe idea is there, the execution is not. AI is too dumb and controls sluggish. Only fleeting moments of fun to be had here sadly.
VALUEIt may be fun for a while, but when you notice the issues you'll probably not be back too often.
OVERALLAn interesting, potentailly fun game is spoilt by poor execution. Pure Football is an average game which is a rental at best, even then you'll probably kick yourself for wasting your time.

Talk about Pure Football in this forum topic now.