It is a good day for an MMO fan, but an even better day for a football enthusiast. In fact it is an absolutely perfect day for a football fan who wants to play the perfect MMO football game.Yes it is a bold statement: the perfect MMO football game. Football Identity is here and it is ready to change what people look for in a game.
For those people who have not yet had much experience with MMO games
, but have been playing football games such as FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer on various platforms, it is difficult to imagine any gaming company to enter the competition at this stage. And this is natural as the two major companies; EA Sports and KONAMI have perfected in-game physics, gameplay and AI for simulating the sport we happen to be in love with over the years. These companies release their titles every year and boy, we have to give it to them. They do an amazing job every year. However each year comes a time where we all become experts on these games and can beat the AI easily and become tired of the online competition who exploits the weaknesses in game logic. If only we could have a game we could not get tired of every year… If only we could have a game where there could be no exploits or major bugs… If only we could have a game that could reflect the culture of football. Well, we've found it.
Football Identity does not attempt to compete against simulation giants such as FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer nor does it feature extreme graphics of any sorts. But it does promise one thing: hours and hours of good clean fun. Let’s take a look at how this title achieves the impossible…
Football Identity… As the name suggests you can pick your role in the world of football and build an identity. You can become a famous footballer or a manager or even a journalist. And you never have to play against AI. In the world of Football Identity, you play against humans only. Every character in this world is controlled by players from all around the world. It has to be mentioned that the most detailed and therefore rewarding role in this game is to become a player. After building your character by choosing a name and a position, you get to improve your player. At this stage, we are not talking about adding points to a few player stats… We are talking about an extremely complex and well thought out character development system where there are endless possibilities and completely unique ways of becoming a football icon. We are talking about a game where the stats actually do matter.
The in game action, as mentioned earlier does not feature any extreme graphics. Interestingly, it does not even feature 3 dimensional graphics of any sorts. If somebody told me that a 2 dimensional, simplistic football game could be this addictive I have to admit that I would not believe them. The developers if this game made use of the golden rule that Zinedine Zidane or Franz Beckenbauer made use of in their football careers.
The rule of KISS: keep it simple stupid… The graphics and gameplay are extremely simple. Your player’s ability is limited by his stats. The actual match consists of players of each team taking collective turns to attack and defend. Assume that your team is attacking. You and your teammates decide on your actions at the same time as the players of the defending team. The players of the attacking team have four phases in their turn and the players of the defending team have three. Each part of the turn allows the players to perform different actions such as passing low like Lionel Messi, high like Steven Gerrard, shooting like Xabi Alonso and tackling like John Terry... Any explanation in words will be inadequate to explain how intuitive the actual gameplay is. So you have to try it out yourself. Winning or losing a game depends on the contextual success of players. Here’s an example from an actual game. The defender of the attacking team chooses to pass the ball from the air to a midfielder teammate. A high pass travels slower but further.
Since the pass travels slower, players form the defending team has the chance to intercept the pass. If two players make a move on the ball at the same time stats come to play like the clash of the titans. In our example, the defending team’s midfielder with higher strength, balance etcetera intercepts the ball. In his turn he chooses to lob the ball to the forward player who decides to head the ball attempting to pass to his fellow striker. When he actually heads the ball we see stats on action again. In our example the pass reaches the striker who then manages to score the goal from the left side of the goal keeper. This is a single example of the million things that could happen in an actual game. Although it may sound extremely complex, the game is feels extremely comfortable to play and more importantly it makes sense. It is simple, intuitive and it contains awesome factors that some games will not…
Football in reality is such a complex sport and despite the hard training of many players from all around the world, the game somehow feels random. In football, luck favors the brave and in football identity, this is also the case. You play more games and build your stats and luck will favor you when you dribble past a slow defender and sliding the ball past the goal keeper. It all sounds so difficult but the extensive help section is useful and easy to understand.
Let’s say your career as a football superstar does not fulfill your high career goals. You can also choose to be a manager. Some may argue that this is the most important role you could take on in this game. You actually have to perform your leadership skills along with your emotional intelligence while turning your side into well synchronized team instead of disorganized individuals running after a ball. We have to mention that our experience as a player was a lot richer than our experience as a manager. This might be due to personal choices rather than anything else. If you’re a fan of games where you pursue the career of a football manager, then this role is perfect for you. As a manager you are responsible for finding players suitable for your team, keeping them happy while making sure that they do their best for your team. It is difficult yet rewarding. A team offering more to your players will sway them away from you and you have to find replacements. You have to keep your players happy and make sure that they feel as though they are a part of your team. Maintaining a balance between different morale boosting and telling your players off, when you succeed, you will go to bed at night knowing that you were the architect of that night’s victory. You bought the right players… You were a master of judging character and communication... You found the weaknesses of the opponent’s team structure… You created the right formation… You won.
A word about choosing the journalist career path: don’t. This mode actually is far less challenging and interesting by any standard.
So let’s talk about money! This is probably the worst topic of discussion with any game. Surprisingly, the business model of this game is very pocket friendly. The first character you build is completely free. “What is the catch?” you ask. The catch is that there is no catch. If you want a more characters, then you can buy up to 4 more slots. The only rule is that you can have only one manager and one journalist. So let’s say I started to play with my first character, but I got addicted and wanted more characters. I pay 10 dollars per year for an extra slot. I can have a total of one free (the initial character) and four paid characters. Then I can play with 5 characters at once. As mentioned earlier, only one manager or journalist though. It’s a pretty good bargain if you ask us.
So does this game have a downside you ask? Yes, but only a few. First is already mentioned. Playing as a journalist only adds color and texture to the Football Identity world, but it is not half as satisfying as the footballer or manager roles. Second issue is very common in the world of MMO gaming: Lag. Lucky for us, we have only seen slight traces of it and infrequently enough that we could ignore it completely. And finally, some may not be impressed by the 2 dimensional graphics.
In summary, Football Identity gave us more than we asked for. It is intuitive and complex at the same time. It is simple and fun and addictive and it has everything we want in an MMO game. Most importantly it reflects the soul and culture of football… The developers obviously play their own game and do their best continuously to make the game better. New features are being added as we write this review.
Writing a review has never been easier… What a good day for football.