Sensible Soccer 2006 ReviewCain Dornan
After proving to be reasonably popular several generations ago on the Genesis and, later, on the PlayStation and PC, Codemasters has decided to revive the classic Sensible Soccer franchise for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC. Once again players can enjoy a game of soccer with the bare basics, without the worries of tricky button combinations or wrestling overly-complicated options. Instead, gamers return to the bare roots of soccer gaming; one that will please some gamers, but also bore others with its overly simple premise.
Sensible Soccer 2006 aims to offer players a simplistic, refreshing experience to soccer video games. While the game does largely succeed in the first instance, the game isnt quite refreshing. It fails to introduce anything new to the mix, for either the series or soccer games in general. As a result, if youve played any of the more early-day soccer games, youll feel as though youve played this one already. That is, apart from the cartoony graphics and overly large heads.
Given the simplistic nature of the game, Sensible Soccer 2006 doesnt offer a complicated career mode that requires you to make tough decisions or battle with confusing menus. Instead, the game offers the ability to compete in a variety of local and worldwide competitions and leagues, which involve little more than progressing through a series of matches with little options in-between to tinker with. That is, apart from the usual essential settings of team formation and whether the match will be a home or away event.
Where the game does lack the advanced options that many modern day soccer games offer, Sensible Soccer 2006 largely makes up for these unnecessary options by including the ability to create your very own custom competition, league or team. If you wish, you can also edit the names of players and teams to your liking. While neither of these modes fail to engage players in any significant further gameplay life, they are interesting additions for those who like customisation control over everything.
As with any other soccer game, the game offers the ability to participate in multiplayer play. While there is no online option, additional gameplay hours are guaranteed when you have a few mates around to go head-to-head in the games fairly fast-paced gameplay. With the gameplay being one of the easiest pick-up-and-play affairs currently available, it wont be too long before players have come to grasp with the games three-button gameplay; a pass shot, a strike shot and the sprint button.
Where the game both fails and succeeds is its gameplay. Essentially, playing the game involves little more than simple button mashing. Experienced players are unlikely to refine their gameplay style to a degree that requires little more than repeatedly tapping the kick button. As a result, the game clearly defines its players into two distinct categories; those who either love the game for what it is, the simple nature and the bare-roots of soccer gaming goodness, or those who quickly tire of the overly repetitive and shallow gameplay that is on hand.
The game doesnt aim to take itself seriously, and this is most evident in the games visuals. The game takes a turn away from realistic visuals to cartoony, colourful offerings; characters sport overly large heads, while their appearance, alongside the level of detail in the fields and arenas, are kept to the bare basics. The game doesnt aim to offer an amazingly detailed, true-to-life visual spectacular; instead, like its gameplay, it provides only what is really needed. The same can be said for the games sound, which features no form of commentary or in-match music. Each match involves little more than crowd cheering and the regular thumps of the ball being kicked around. We found this to be rather boring, as we quickly tired of the repetitive sounds ball thumps and crowd cheers after only a few minutes of play.
With todays gamers demanding an ever-increasing accurate representation of the sport that it is based on, many soccer fans might find the gaming experience that is available in Sensible Soccer 2006 to be severely aged. We can see the game being a widespread and enjoyable title back in the franchises glory days the 90s but in 2006, even with the overflowing market of ever-growing complicated games, we cant see a huge market for a game as simple and basic as this one. If you adored previous iterations and love the thought of basic, bare-necessity soccer gaming, then the game is worth a purchase. Otherwise, if youve been enjoying the level of depth and content-filled offerings that recent soccer titles have offered, youre better off steering away from this one.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.