Active Soccer 2 DX tries to balance the beautiful game of football (I’m not calling it soccer, we English invented the game, we get to name it) with a more arcade experience to help stand out from the more traditional Fifa games.
What we end up with is a poorly executed attempt more closely resembling a Sunday pub league match than the Champions League finals.
The game sticks to the football rules as we know them, 22 men run around kicking a ball trying to get it into the opposition’s goal. Where Active Soccer differs from its competition is in the control of the game, first and foremost the game offers up very little assistance with controlling the players on the pitch, all pass and shot aiming is done manually which can be frustrating at first when shots are flying wildly into row Z. The lack of assistance immediately creates a learning curve that makes this less of a pick up and play experience.
The game plays out differently than your traditional football match would, you won’t find any tika-taka passing here, long shots and crunching tackles are the bread and butter of any match. It’s refreshing compared to say your average Fifa match which relies on well-timed passes and carefully placed shots, with more friendly controls and gameplay you could almost have fun.
On the brighter side the game does come complete with all the content you could want from a football game. Quick match launches you into a match as you’d expect, you also have tournament mode allowing you to recreate your own World Cup should you wish and the pièces de résistance is the career mode where you can select any club and you slowly build the team up rising through the divisions. All modes work as you would expect and it’s always enjoyable taking a low league team up the ranks bringing in other players to strengthen the squad in career mode. All the menus can be a chore to navigate though and make simple things such as checking your standings in a table a 2 minute job as opposed to something you can take a quick glance at.
Presentation wise the game looks are very limited, dont expect to be identifying which players are around you by looks. The menus are also very bland and basic, they show the information you need and that is it. It very much just gets the job done. With all this in mind, load times can be a little longer than you would expect, going from one menu to another can take long enough tat you’re unsure if the game is even responding. That said I haven’t encountered any technical issues during my play through aside from some weird lag when the payers first walk on the pitch at the start of a match.
All in all it feels like Active Soccer 2 DX attempted to make a more traditional football game and fell way short than attempting to recreate an arcade fun football experience. There are some great moments to be had but it always feels like you’re fighting the game in order to have them.