In this episode of NEStalgia, we’re taking a deep dive to make the save in Soccer.
Is It Still Fun?
Soccer as a sport has had little changes in its long history. Soccer as a video game has evolved a lot since this NES iteration. This is, as Sean offers a lot on the podcast, minimalist soccer. But I think more than minimalism, this game feels very clunky 33 years later. This is like so many NES sports games: A step up from what Atari and Coleco we’re offering, but still leaving a lot to be desired. We’re sure this used to be fun in 1985, but we can’t recommend it knowing every version of FIFA is so much more polished.
Is It Still Playable?
Now to get into the problems with the controls. Movement with the ball is very restrictive and there’s little to do besides passing to avoid having the ball stolen. When it comes to passing to an intended player, good luck. And don’t expect to know who you’re passing the ball to. The screen size is pretty tight and a pass to far out is almost a guaranteed interception. Teams offer no differences and while it’s neat to see West Germany represented in the game (FRG) we would’ve loved to see some form of stats even if it was as basic as Offense and Defense. The mechanic that is the most intuitive is kicking a goal. An arrow appears and allows you to choose where the shot should land.
Is It Still Important?
It's an NES launch game that added more dynamics and intensity to the sport of Soccer than we ever had before. Problem is, like all sports games, this will easily be trumped by future titles even in the NES own library. Great for a system to launch with, but hardly remembered today.
Soccer goes above what some of the other Sports launch games did in terms of polish, but ultimately this isn't going to change anyone's mind about Soccer being fun if you don't already enjoy it.