You will notice from the opening titles on Pure Football that Ubisoft are aiming for this to be an alternative to the other footballing games that are available from your local gaming store. By this we mean the way that a frustrated Steven Gerrard texts a message to his victorious opponent saying how “We wuz robbed!”, and that they challenge the victor to a No Hold’s Barred re-match “…and no ref’s…” This game dares to be different.
Immediately on loading we are greeted by the standard menu screens and, hello…what’s this? ‘Campaign mode?’ Now that is different! No ‘career’, no ‘season’ but a ‘Campaign?’ We immediately had visions of a camo’d up Gerrard running and gunning down the touchline, as he hurl’s hand grenades into the penalty area blowing the ‘keeper to bits before slotting the ball into the now vacant net, and then calmly lighting a cigar as he turns to camera and with a wink says, ” No ref’s!”
But more about the campaign mode a little later, first lets get a few things straight about Pure Football. This is not FIFA, (street or otherwise), this is not PES…this is ‘Pure Football’. So do not go into this review with comparisons expected, as we are not here to compare…we are here to tell you about this game.
And what a game, we can honestly inform you that we had a lot of fun here playing this title, and regardless of what any other reviewer tells you, we can fully recommend this game to football fans everywhere. You see, what Pure Football is, is what the game, in essence was meant to be. It’s good fun. Its what you remember the game to be from when you were in the park with your friends as a kid, having a laugh and a giggle while knocking the hell out of each other on the turf. It doesn’t want to take itself too seriously, it doesn’t want to be so technical that you require a masters in IT to understand the manual…Lord forbid you would end up with 5 a-side PES if that were the case.
So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty shall we? We, just as you will, entered the tutorial not really knowing what to expect, and when we were greeted with the ‘zones meter’ lesson, we were even more unsure. Strike the ball with the B button in the green zone for a Pure Shot, and in the white zone for a Skill Shot. Each resultant shot partially fills the Pure Shot meter that will, once full, allow you to unleash an almost unstoppable thunderbolt of a screamer, that will either leave the keeper needing plaster casts on both wrists, or burst the net wide open. It all seemed simple enough, but would it work? Well, frankly,Yes it does. Funny old game, eh?
After learning the ropes on which button did what, and ‘strafing’ tackles. We jumped into the Quick Play mode and were greeted with a set up of England Vs Brazil, we got hammered! Even so, we carried on undettered, like the professional’s that we are, and went into the Exhibition Match mode, where this time we got to choose our country, ( England again, naturally ), and this time we opted to play someone a little less challenging, or so we thought, in Ivory Coast. We were hammered, again.
Nevertheless, we endeavoured to attempt the teasingly entitled ‘Campaign Mode’ to see what batles would ensue? What we found was not mass carnage on the pitch and claymores in the dug-outs, but a stuctured qualifying tournament of 18 teams, one of which you create and name yourself, as do you your ‘captain’ who you will play as. Though its worth mentioning that you are able to create your own player in the main menu for use on and offline, where you can literally customize your digital self to your hearts content with a vast array of tools. The object of the campaign is to qualify through various challenges set out at different locations around Europe, for the ‘Tournament Proper’ as they say in the footballing world, for the title of Champions. Being that you have representative countries from every major player on the international soccer scene from Europe to the African Nations, as well as the America’s too. It is safe to assume that competition is to be stiff and the challenges, well, challenging.
Better, we think, to describe the way in which Pure Football operates its ‘Transfer System’ than to try and explain challenges and transfers as two separate entities, as in Pure Football the two go hand in hand. At each venue you will have a section menu that allows you to ‘Upgrade your Captain’, ‘Select a Match’ and ‘Transfer a Player.’ Now the way that you get to transfer a player to your team, is by first choosing a match to play in, as each match will ask you to complete certain challenges along the way. ‘Do not allow four passes in a row’ for example, or ‘Score from a corner’ is another. In turn, at the end of the match, and depending on which challenges you managed to pull off, you will then be notified of which players from your rivals you have just ‘unlocked.’ Unlocking these players makes them available for you to ‘steal’, or transfer into your ranks. Bear in mind that you are looking to qualify with the strongest team possible to compete in the Final 8 Tournament. It is also worth noticing that although the players come with their own star rating, it is always still best to press into the personal statistics to compare the outgoing player with the one you want to bring in. And that is how you transfer new players. As we said, this isn’t FIFA or PES, and it certainly isn’t Football Manager. This just lets you play quick, fast and fun football, not worry if your star players contract is about to expire, and he’s going to spit his dummy out if you do not offer him a pay increase. This is Pure Football, just take the mullet-haired moaner.
And so onto the game. In the same fashion as we began the Quick Play and Exhibition Modes, so we entered into the campaign mode. By getting roundly trounced from all comers,until it was we noticed that we were treating the game like FIFA, and trying to over complicate the controls. As we said, this is Pure Football. So with that in mind we started to play as the controls offered. Just shoot, tackle, pass, lob and through-ball. Mix that with Pure and Skill shots and you have the sure-fire recipe for success. It was then that we noted the vast improvement in our game. Within a couple of matches we had our first victory over Italy, no less. Followed quickly by a stunning win over the Czech Republic in which we finally got the hang of Pure Shots and scored a hat trick of absoulte screamers!
Bouyed by our success we grew in confidence and ultimately ran through the 8 venues, some of which are Liverpools “Glass House”, Madrid’s “The Ring”,”The Grounds” in Barcelona and “The Factory” in Milan. All the venues are well lit, spaceous affairs with plenty of room to maneouvre, and all set against varying picturesque backgrounds such as funfairs, Victorion-style Greenhouses and of course the stunning Mountain pitch at Munich. After completing challenge after challenge and stealing players such as Xavi, Riquelme and Thierry Henry we were confident enough in our abilities to grow optimistic in our ambitions for the Final 8 Tournament.
With our side formatted to a lone striker, ( me), two midfielders, ( Thierry Henry, Xavi ), a defender ( we played defensive midfielder Riquelme )and a keeper, (David james ), we qualify for the Final Tournament and unlock “The Rooftop” venue, which will see this battle of two footballing giants. Plan your upgrades and transfers well as the Final 8 tournament only sees those nations that are the top seven seeds in world football and you. So with our GmP GIMPS XI we ventured into the arena to tackle the oncoming challenge head on. It went a little something like this:
First up we faced Italy again, who had also qualified, and they were in the mood for revenge but were seen off with some fine body checking and a couple of blinding headers from Riquelme. Arrevederci indeed. Next came a sterner test from Germany, but with the Spirit of ’66 flowing in our veins we sent the German’s back to the Fatherland with their tails between their legs, following a 3-0 drubbing with a nice goal scored by yours truly as the captain. And so to the final, and its Brazil. The game starts well, with Brazil taking a wild shot at our goal from distance, but it is easy pickings for our keeper David ‘calamity’ James. We then go on the offensive, and score a purler from 40 yards out by our midfield maestro Xavi. The Brazilians try to hem us in, but we hold them off with a shot from the captain that beats the keeper near side, and flies up into the onion bag. 2-0. Then, with just seconds on the clock, Riquelme breaks to sprint a full 50 yards before Skill Shotting the ball high into the keepers top corner, 3-0 to the GmP GIMPS and we are hailed as champions, and proudly pull on the winners jersey watched by our adulent crowd of fallen adversaries.
With the multiplayer action enabling this kind of fun to be had between friends online, especially with the amount of ectra’s that are unlocked during the campaign for use with your online teams. We truly hope that this is going to be a title that people do not ignore for the more hyped individuals out there, such as the ones mentioned, as Pure football is not an imitation of any of those other footballing tiles, but its own game, and its a beautiful one at that.
Pure Football gets an 8 out of 10 (we loved it!)
Pure Football is available now from all gaming stores and retail outlets for the bargain price of £29.99