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Urban Freestyle Soccer PS2 Review

NA

| Sports in Gaming | Posted: Jan 20, 2004 5:00 am

"A decent game that will keep non traditional soccer fans happy"

There is no shortage of soccer games already on the market today. FIFA and Pro Evolution are the main contenders for fans wallets and whilst they emulate the sport extremely well, some gamers, particularly fans of arcade gaming may have seen something missing in them. A mode with fast paced action and no rules, and this is where Urban Freestyle Soccer steps in and delivers.

Urban Freestyle Soccer has multiple game modes for you to check out such as turf wars, versus, freestyle, street challenge and training. When the game first starts it will recommend that you complete the training course, and because UFS is no regular soccer game it is almost essential. Completing the course also gives your selected team points to spend on skills, which can mean the difference between winning and losing. Versus is the multiplayer section of the game where up to two players can become team mates or take on each other in a single match and freestyle allows you to select teams you have unlocked for a one off match.

The main mode of the game is the turf wars mode. This is where you unlock new teams, new stadiums etc. In turf wars you select from the teams you have unlocked and progressively challenge opposing teams on their turf. If you defeat them you take over that stadium and obviously the aim of the game is to gain every piece of turf.

The gameplay is very reminiscent of what a futsal or indoor soccer game would be like, other then the fact there is no rules. Fouls which would garner a red card in traditional soccer are encouraged here. Players perform numerous tricks and in doing so build up a meter. Once this meter is full, an area will start to shimmer and glow on the pitch, put in a certain control sequence here and you will unleash an almost unstoppable netbuster shot. Netbuster shots not only shoot the ball towards goal at a thousand miles an hour, they also knock all the players on the pitch over, almost guaranteeing a goal for your team.

Don't expect officially licensed players and teams in UFS, the teams are made up of different teams from all over the different turf and thus are unique and have unique stadiums. Adidas official licensing is in the game however, and the ball used is the one used in the 2002 World Cup. You will also notice Adidas advertising boards and some of the teams wear what appears to be Adidas clothing. The teams aren't dolled up for soccer matches either with baggy pants, large jumpers etc.

Looks can be deceiving and whilst the players don't look like traditional soccer players, they certainly have some skills. One of the best aspects of the game is the player models and animation, it's nothing short of stunning. In training you will learn how to perform tricks such as bumping the ball over the back of your head, doing a somersault with the ball in your legs and others. The players also celebrate goals, or commiserate with each other after defeat.

For the first few games in turf wars you will probably think that this game is quite easy, but the AI ramps up the difficulty level significantly about three or four matches in. Before each match you can decide which turf you want to "attack" based on their skill level which is displayed, and for each victory you are given points to spend on your own teams skill level. The AI is impressive, especially the more difficult teams and they will stop at nothing to defeat you. They will pick up objects around the place such as bins and tables and throw them at you, and you can do the same.

Each team has a unique stadium and you will visit fields such as a skate park, china town, an industrial area and others. Each of these have different looks, and surrounding buildings etc and are unique. Goals can be made up of garages and gaps between structures in China Town amongst other things. The environments aren't destructible, hitting something with a shot will not destroy it which is a disappointment but overall they all look great and fit in well with the theme of the game.

Graphically UFS is a mixed bag; impressive at times, not so impressive at others. As mentioned before the player models and animations is nothing short of stunning but the surrounding environments sometimes don't keep up this level of quality. The unique stadiums are excellent and make a change from playing in the same few stadiums over and over again. Players will smack talk each other before matches and during matches, but no commentary track has been included. The music is a mixture of Rap and R&B. One problem with the game is the camera as it only offers three different angles. You can move the default camera closer or further out but other then that you can't do to much with it.

Overall UFS is a decent soccer game that soccer fans who think outside the square will probably enjoy. Don't expect Pro Evolution, and you will find a very playable game with some interesting stadiums and great animation. Fans who have wanted a indoor soccer game or futsal game might want to look at this as well, it may not have any fouls but it's also played a shorter pitch with fast paced gameplay.

 

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