Actua Soccer 3
It's a well-known fact that until World Cup 98 appeared, the football game of choice in the office was Gremlin's Actua Soccer 2. Actua was extremely quick, easy to pick up and play, and great fun with two-players. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but then which football game is?
And then World Cup 98 came out. Previous EA football games had failed to deliver, the main criticisms from Zone being the lack of speed and a user-definable tournament option. World Cup 98 sorted out the speed issue by giving you the option of three settings, and we became so wrapped up in the presentation, unprecedented control and whole World Cup thang that we almost forgot about the fact that you couldn't set up your own tournaments.
Gremlin have obviously looked long and hard at what EA Canada have done, and are currently in the process of extending the number of moves and control options you have over each player, which they admit was lacking in the last game. They've also added even more motion-captured animations, and once again called upon Sheffield United captain David Holdsworth to do the honours.
The results need to be seen to be believed. Suffice to say that there are now 2000 moves in the game, which translates to over 10,000 frames of motion-captured data. Player detail has been improved too, with each player now benefiting from 30 per cent more polygons than before, and they now have a skin that prevents tearing at the joints (ouch).
A lot of effort has also gone into improving the stadiums. There are now 30 on offer, and they are pre-lit and feature light-and-shadow maps, all of which help to boost the atmosphere significantly. As before, there are loads of weather options to contend with, and floodlit night games, too. As far as the control system goes, you'll now have the option to adjust the speed of play, and pull off more complicated player moves using the shoulder pad buttons on your gamepad. They've kept the basics, though - speed burst, pass, shoot, lob, etc - so the game still retains that unique pick-up-and-play factor. The general idea is to make the game as user-definable as possible, and give you unprecedented control over how you set up the game so you can play the way you want to play.
Tactically it's been given a revamp, too. Player Al has been worked on, and teams will now visibly play in a certain way - which means that Liverpool will pass to feet, and Wimbledon will hoof it up into the area.
All this, plus Barry Davies on the mic, numerous practice options, 25 leagues to choose from and nearly 500 teams to play as should go a long way to ensuring that Gremlin give EA Sports a run for their money.
Processor: PC compatible,
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode