Pure Football Xbox 360 Review

The PC version of Pure Football was cancelled, and (despite being a PC-gaming based website) we were sent a review copy of Pure Football on the Xbox 360, so what the hell – here’s my review of it.

Pure Football looked utterly terrible in the gameplay videos doing the rounds on YouTube, the players looked plastic, the animation wooden and it all looked rather laughable. I didn’t know anything else about the game before playing it; but I’m coming at as a big Fifa 10 fan.

Pure Football was pleasantly surprising; the game play is a cross between Fifa Street and Sensible Soccer. The default camera from the up/down perspective (rather than side-on, but this is an option), and it suits the stlye of the game very well. Pure Football feels brilliantly ‘arcadey’ (for want of a better term), with a solid consistent frame-rate and responsive controls.

The actual football ‘mechanics’ aren’t as refined as the latest Fifa games; through-ball for example feels totally random, but passing and shooting are great.

Ubisoft have employed a golf-game-style power-up meter for shooting, with a red zone (shank / miss) green (good shot) and white (‘pure’ shot).  “Pure” shot, brilliant? The last time I played a football game with a specific shot-type based on the name of the game was Addidas Power Soccer (on the Snes, I think) where certain players had an Addidas Predator Strike button (as well as shoot). It was ridiculous.

In Pure Football it works well – a pure shot gives you a rather entertaining ‘bullet time’ version of your shot where the camera follows the ball was it bends and dips around (or into) the keeper.  Crossing the ball is also great, you run down the wing and assuming another of your players are in or around the box, the camera shifts to that player and you have to tussle with a defender (press and hold ‘X’ on the golf-style-power-up meter) and a green means you beat them and get a shot on goal and white (pure) means you do with some style.

[singlepic id=127 w=320 h=240 mode=web20 float=center]When you create a profile in Pure Football you create your Captain (you), then choose his position, dominant foot and appearance etc. The matches are 5-a-side (your Captain plus 4 others) and over in 3 minutes usually – so it has the Trials HD “one more game” addictive property.   It beats Fifa in this department as well, as it constantly sets you challenges to unlock players, and to gain stat points to improve your captain.

Presentation is generally good; the graphics are only adequate but smooth, and the replays look good.  As mentioned above, the occasional ‘bullet-time’ matrix-style camera is thrown in there every now and then but doesn’t ever feel overkill. There is one one oversight where the level select map is stretched dreadfully out of aspect-ratio (short and fat), although I’m nitpicking, I’m sure this wouldn’t bother another sane human being.

There’s an argument this game should have been an XBLA title, or at least cheaper than £24.99 on release, and to some extent I agree.  But one shouldn’t write this off as a truly cheap / simplistic football game; there’s a lot of play-time here.  Loads of achievements, players to unlock, scope for adding to my Captain’s stats etc.

Additionally, I haven’t even tried the multiplayer (as there was nobody online with it this week).

Pure Football will suit the casual football gamer, who doesn’t want to plough hours into learning the intricacies / art-form that is Fifa; and just want some instant gratification.  Pure Football doesn’t take itself too seriously, neither should you.

Pure Football review score:  7.5 out of 10

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