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Impressions: New Star Soccer 5

Foot + ball = ???

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A curious new leisure hobby for the younger man has lately taken the continent and the colonies by storm, and your intrepid gentlemen reporters at the Rock, the Paper and Shotgun feel duty-bound to investigate this ‘sport’ the filthy foreigns have dubbed ‘foot-to-ball’.

We couldn’t possibly sully our fine, firm, perfect bodies on the pitch and at the risk of a physical encounter with one of the careening yahoos who profess to be experts at this activity, you understand, but fortunately we’ve been able to simulate the experience via unsettlingly but admittedly highly effective digital magicks. New Star Soccer 5 recreates every element of foot-to-ball, from the foot to the ball and everything in between, within the comfort, safety and seasonal warmth of one’s own manor.

Eschewing the sort of upsettingly convincing portraits of thuggery which result from the photo-realistic approach that large colonial corporations who create these kinds of electronic entertainments tend towards, NSS5 presents your men – if this short-wearing louts could indeed be called ‘men’ – as mere pixel shapes darting around a primary-coloured, over-sized lawn. While simple, this seems to accurately capture the nature of movement of this barbaric leisure activity.

The barbarism apparently continues off the pitch, with your lone player (who is assigned a local team from across the world’s cities. Sadly our fine hamlet of Pomposity-on-the-Wold was not represented; we have of course dispatched a letter of complaint to The Telegraph) pursuing fame, riches, popularity and skill between his sporting engagements. The oik even has the option of romance, should he seek a trophy filly to help increase his social standing in the red-tops’ estimation.

The swine could choose to spend time impressing himself upon his team-mates or his fans, via a strange card-matching minigame that, even to our relatively ignorant minds on this matter, appears to have precisely nothing to do with foot-to-ball. Or he could indulge himself in all manner of feckless trappings of wealth, such as moveable telephones and portable musicboxes. The filthy reprobate can even spend his ill-gotten earnings on drinking beer. Words cannot convey our disgust at this sort of behavior. All such sickening hedonism is intended to help our fellow’s state of mind and/or repute, in order that he might perform better on the pitch and in turn command higher wages for his worthless, violent actions.

We’re given to understand this product is both a real-time sports game and a management, and truly it does indeed seem well fleshed-out in this regard, but without taking the ludicrous business too seriously. I did not feel overwhelmed by its number or its language, and indeed became rather invested in the fate of my minute running man despite myself. He was simple but rewarding to control upon the pitch, a mere matter of movement and kicking or heading, although I must confess I did spend an awful lot of time chasing pathetically after the ball or failing to activate the brutal assault on my fellow players that is carefully known as ‘tackling.’

This creation appears to be free to engage yourself with, though note you are limited in how many ‘games’ you might enjoy of a single day unless you’re prepared to hand a few bearer bonds to the gentlemen responsible.

While, as an upstanding gentlemen of refinement and intellectualism I am perhaps not best placed to make this manner of observation, I do rather suspect that this electronic product is ideal for any lout who has a passing to high level of interest in foot-to-ball, but sensibly feels he would ideally retain the mental freedom and time to embark upon other interests in addition to this one, instead of having his feeble mind overtaken lock, stock and barrel by the more painstakingly detailed simulations that arguably dispense with some of the raw and instant joy of chasing a small army of large-thighed gentlemen around a pitch in favour of arcane and cryptic recreation of uninteresting details.

I trust you will concur in this matter.

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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