Foosball 2012 For PS3 and PS Vita Review
This game was reviewed on PlaySation Vita
As a Brit, what North Americans know as Foosball, we call Table Football. When I think of the word foosball, I imagine frat boys, red cups full of cheap beer and plenty of shouting. Not exactly a charming image, but there we go. In reality, foosball can actually be a highly skilled game, and to see a player master the table is an awe-inspiring experience. Those of us who only know how to spin the players as fast as we can to get maximum power behind the ball can only weep as we view a foosball expert skillfully passing the ball between the stickmen and tearing rookies apart as they score goal after goal. Unfortunately, Foosball 2012 doesn’t give virtual players the freedom to become true masters of the game, but does present an enjoyable experience nonetheless.
When I first heard about Foosball 2012, I questioned how developer Grip Games would manage to squeeze the controls of four or five sticks’ worth of plastic men into a device that only offers two analog sticks. Well, a certain amount of computer assistance is required, and the controls aren`t perfect, but I must admit, I was fairly impressed with the results. Essentially what happens is this: the left analog stick controls the movement of the stick and the direction the ball will travel when hit, whereas the right stick is used for the actual hitting motion. The camera follows the ball around the table, and each player is in direct control of the stick closest to the ball at any point in time, whilst the other sticks on the table move in the same general direction. It can sometimes be difficult to keep track of which stick is under your control, particularly when the ball is travelling at speed, but I can`t really think of any other way that Grip Games could have implemented a control system for a game such as this.
One nice touch included in the game is the option to shake your Vita each time the ball gets stuck, either in a corner or just out of reach of any players. As an attempt to combat this happening too often, Grip Games has made the ball `jump` to the closest player occasionally, to stop the ball from rolling away to an unreachable location. However, when the ball is close to the goal, and seemingly going in, oftentimes it will jump to the goalkeeper, preventing an otherwise certain goal. This occurs far too often to be a harmless quirk, and in fact cost me the game numerous times when it happened more than once in a match.
Outside the foosball table, the meat of Foosball 2012 is in its World Tour mode. Here, players battle against twenty teams, named after cities around the world, with a chance to gain anything from a one- to three-star rating. Three stars are awarded for a shutout, two if the opposition scores, and one if you win a tight game. These stars are taken into the unlockables screen for the chance to earn anything from extra cities, to different uniforms for your players, to power-shots which give you a better chance of scoring. Alongside the rewards you gain for defeating each city, such as higher difficulties and different rules, Foosball 2012 contains a lot of incentives to keep you progressing through what would otherwise be a stale experience.
Aesthetically, Foosball 2012 is about as deep as you could imagine from a game based around a table. The tables are easy enough to see, and some of the unlockable uniforms, such as the royal guards and the mafia make for a nice change from the standard plastic men. There isn’t much happening around the periphery of the table, but there doesn’t need to be, as it would only serve as a distraction. The sounds of foosball are faithfully recreated, though considering they consist mainly of what sound like clicks, pops and bangs, it can’t have been too difficult to do so. There is a limited selection of music on offer that plays in the background, but it tends to be repetitive and fairly flat. This does make it easy to drown out, however, which stops it becoming too much of a nuisance.
Although Foosball 2012 is compatible with both PS3 and PS Vita (one purchase unlocks the game on both systems), I generally found the experience to be a little better on a home console. I say this because some games, particularly when playing under the ‘goals’ rule (where one team has to reach a certain number of goals, as opposed to scoring the most with a certain number of balls) as games can frequently last over fifteen minutes. This isn’t exactly ideal when playing on the bus or the subway, and takes a few points off of the ease of merely playing a short burst of the game.
Overall, Foosball 2012 is a decent attempt at squeezing the table-based game into a console or handheld, and by default, is the finest foosball game out there (if anyone knows of any competitors for this crown, please let me know). It does have some flaws, mainly due to the developer attempting to make the game more accessible and the gameplay more easily manageable, but the experience holds up well when the game is viewed as a whole. If foosball is your thing, and you’ve been crying out for the opportunity to play a virtual recreation, then Foosball 2012 shouldn’t disappoint.
Final score: 4.0/5.0
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