We love retro gaming, we love the fact that on the surface they have a gleeful simplicity yet have hidden depths to them that make for some cracking games. Retro football games? Now you’re talking!
Based on an idea by Steve Screech who originally pitched it to Anco Software, Dino Dini created and programmed the first very first Kick Off to rave reviews in the late 1980’s, the data update ‘Extra Time’ added Aftertouch. Such a straight forward addition in theory – after all, you see it all the time when watching games. (But modern gamers don’t really know what this is given the fact it’s still not in Fifa or Pro Evo – more on that later!)
The masterful partnership of Dino and Screech then formed for the granddaddy of them all, the game that has entered mythical status – Kick Off 2. It’s the game that had everything and it was the perfect result of their symbiotic relationship. Dino Dini’s mathematical and programming prowess, combined with Steve Screech’s understanding of the beautiful game. A partnership where each person brought their own qualities and made one of the best games of all time. – Sadly that partnership soured and subsequent sequels were met with mixed reviews.
Even more worrying, a trend appeared for style over substance and with the invention of motion capture, the Fifa series became king. Pro Evo was a fantastic competitor and the two to this day continue to battle it out but therein lies the problem, the games are fundamentally the same from a control POV, the only difference being in how they play. They are good fun, but they don’t offer the hyper reality of the classic retro games where you can be 3-0 down with 10 seconds to go yet you can then win 3-2. So thank goodness Dino Dini has returned to the same and is attempting a revival of the games of yesteryear.
When I read initial impressions of Kick Off Revival I feared the worst, the fact the day 1 patch included such basic fixes as ‘corner flags’ and the ability to save the game, you kinda worried what else was omitted but after playing the game today I can confirm there is no need to worry! The game is good and online is even better!
To give my review I’m here to offer a rebuke to some of the comments I’ve read, namely that there’s no offside – well duh, that’s the beauty of these old classics. Next? It’s two fast – have you guys played the old classics? What next…oh, the fact you cannot tackle. You can! You can even trap the ball and you can actually pass it to your opponent too.
What goes around comes around and most of the problems levelled against it are similar to a Stuart Campbell tirade in the early 90’s when comparing it to Sensible Soccer. But my days attending tournaments on the kick off association (www.ko-gathering.com) taught me that you can pass it with style.
This brings me to another point, when it comes to Kick Off 2 we don’t have rose tinted glasses because we don’t have to search the memory banks of when we last played it. Instead we still play it and it’s still an active part of our social life. (Finished 4th at the UK Championships! Get in!).
Don’t get me wrong, the game feels very loose, the fact there is no longer 8 ways to move but 360 degree’s feels strange but you can trap the ball. It’s not Kick Off 2 for sure but neither is it Fifa – It’s something different.
The game’s menu is very basic but you have to remember this is simply one guy in his room programming the game. When you consider that pivotal to Kick Off 2’s success was Steve Screech, Dino had more support back in the day, whereas this time he may have had vast sums of support from Sony and unlimited goodwill from his Twitter followers, he never really had that grass roots support and understanding of the game that Steve applied to the project all those years ago.
So when playing and reviewing the game you have to take these things into account. The fact that it does have a cup, does support 1 player and does have online leagues is enough for me.
Rocket League this aint as that is far more polished and has a terrific online structure. We have great ideas on how Revival could become the best and most popular game on the market but the gameplay and the community need to go hand in hand – Dino’s has suggested this will be the case so the future looks extremely bright indeed.
I’m happy to report that the game is playable, it does give you a feel of the original Kick Off 2 and it will be continually updated in the future. That’s enough for me – for now. Simply fixing the little nuance’s over the next 12 months is not enough though, the social side needs to exploit the wonderful little roots it has shown and we have already supplied Dino with a sampler of advice on how to readdress that. But for now, support this game! It’s taken over 30 years for the gaming scene to finally have something different from Fifa and Pro Evo, if this is successful then there’s no reason why others cannot enter the scene with evolved ideas but with the main premise of ‘fun’ at it’s core.
Verdict – 7/10 – Finally, something different! The release shows promising roots, now it needs to flourish.
Fun Factor – 8/10 – Not the same level of control as the original Kick off 2 but great fun nonetheless!