Foot-to-ball-to-Net: Football Superstars Open Beta

By Kieron Gillen on March 27th, 2009 at 12:07 pm.

I found myself drinking with assorted comic people last Thursday, and found myself in conversation with the spouse of an artist friend of mine. I knew he was working at an MMO company, but I didn’t know which – and he reveals he’s working on Football Superstars, which I wasn’t really aware of but seemed exciting and since it was available to download and play now, I couldn’t see why we hadn’t already blogged about it. Bar RPS’ famous aversion to Foot-to-ball, natch – in fact, an aversion to even reading each other’s posts about it, as Jim had totally blogged about it and I hadn’t noticed. Now, I’ve finally played it and discovered that rather than the management game I presumed, it’s actually an action-lead football game, with a one-player one-actual-team player model. A handful of Impressions and video beneath the cut…

It’s not bad actually – seeing the ability for your characters to buy skills, I was dreading some manner of World-of-Warcraft derived USE THE ULTRA-BALL! hi-jinks, perhaps grinding a tricky goalie with multiple shots before finally getting a goal in. As it is, it’s really an action game, but with the tactic angle focused on a single player. Stuff like a player’s exhaustion is key, with you having to manage your energy bars, saving your sprints for the vital moment. The passing and shooting system is mouse driven, with your position on the screen defining whether you want to lob or play it along the ground, as well as the length of you holding setting power. Also, elements like setting up a shot by aiming with the right mouse button, which only is actually played when you release it and… well, there certainly seems to be room for finesse play. The game also includes a load of social elements – going to a club, etc – as well as more oddities like talking to journalists to raise your fame rating. Also, girl players if anyone fancies staring in a web-based stirring remix of Bend it like Beckham.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever go and play it again – but more because there’s very much the sense that it’s a game which is going to reward if you commit, play in one of the player-lead teams and go native. I don’t have time for an MMO, let alone a football one. That said, since it’s free-download, a mob of RPSers going online and playing a kickabout with one another could be splendid. C’mon Steam Group!

And here’s a video. Yes.

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17 Comments »

  1. Ian says:

    If it looks like (m)any fellow RPSers are going to go on one weekend and have a bosh at it I might follow suit, but I’m not bothered enough to go and make new webfriends using it. Not sure f I could be arsed with all the non-game stuff either so it might not be a winner for me.

  2. YaRisse says:

    I don’t understand, where are the Elves?

  3. Lewis says:

    I really don’t like Football Superstars. The idea is sublime, but it doesn’t function like football in any meaningful way, the social element is undeveloped and the economy is fucked.

  4. Jockie says:

    I signed up for the beta ages ago, but had issues getting the authentication e-mail, meaning it never actually arrived and I wasted my time downloading the client. Despite which they still send me regular spam about the game. Not a great experience, though the concept appeals to me.

  5. wrshamilton says:

    Seems like it’s destined to have either too many or too few goalies.

  6. Ian says:

    Oh man, the goalies.

    “How did you let that one in?”
    “Well you guys looked like you had things under control so I popped to the kitchen for a bag of crisps. Sorry.”

  7. futage says:

    This is actually quite good fun.

  8. charlie says:

    I really like the idea, but Fifa already lets you play a game as individuals. That means that for me it’s going to have to play better than that which is pretty unlikely methinks.

  9. Lewis says:

    Goalies are all AI-controlled.

  10. futage says:

    Ok, after 9 hours I have to say it’s reet fun. Unpolished as hell and the ‘lifestyle’ side is rididculously bad but the actual games are proper fun.

    And I don’t like foot-to-ball.

  11. futage says:

    To clarify some stuff:

    You don’t have to do anything aside from play games of f-t-b and I don’t think you’re penalised in any way if you don’t. The ‘social’ side of it is, as far as I can tell, optional.

    It’s very easy to drop into games. There’s so lobby system to speak of (there’s a very basic lobby system for ‘practise’ games but not for ‘proper’ games) and all you do is press a button saying “I would like to foot some balls” and it drops you into a game.

    The playingness is great. The controls and that. They’re simple in that particular way which allows you to be fluent rather than simple in the sense of crude. It’s not so much about pressing the right button at the right time as things like anticipating your team-fellows and enemy-fellows moves and working together cooperatively.

    I love cooperative gaming and this game boils what I like about it down to its essence. There’s no chat or anything, there’s no time, it’s just about anticipating other people and knowing where they need you to be and putting yourself there.

    There’s no grind or anything like that. There are levels but… a team of level 1 people can beat a team of level 20 people if the former work well as a team and the latter don’t. It’s not about the stats in that way. Having said that, my first game was a 3 vs 3 where my team were all level 1 and the other team were level 40. And we got pissed all over because they could run much faster than us and stuff, but it was incredible fun anyway. It was challenging rather than frustrating.

    If anyone’s dubious and particularly if they like cooperative gaming I recommend getting this, ignoring the ‘lifestyle’ stuff and just having a couple of games of f-t-b. As I said, I hate f-t-b so don’t let that put you off. Plus everyone on the thing seems to be from continental europe and they seem to have a better way of liking football over there than we englishes do. They make it seem a far less shit thing to care about.

    Sorry for rampant evangelism but I’m hooked.

  12. futage says:

    Oh and when you sign up you pick from a number of ‘teams’ whom you will therein represent with your ball-kicking. Which makes it quite clannish in a nice way. Makes me care more about the games.

    Go Arnington Somethings!

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  14. moleman says:

    this game is great, ive been playing it for ages, get involved. sometimes its hard to get a match, just move to a club that has played more matches or try loggin on at a different time.

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