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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Dreamcatcher

 

Developer

Power and Magic

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

October 2003

 

 

- Look…soccer balls

- The only beach soccer game available

 

 

- Shoddy Gameplay

- Shoddy Graphics

- Shoddy…..everything!

 

 

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Ultimate Beach Soccer

Score: 3.5 / 10

Arcade-style sports games are very delicate art. To incorporate real, physical actions with imaginary actions is a hard skill to master. The NFL Blitz series is one prime example. The great blend of football with wrestling dynamics makes it a great party game with friends; no argument there. The one downside to this genre: most of the other titles are pure garbage.

   

ultimate beach soccer xbox review          ultimate beach soccer xbox review

This loosely tied together “game” has every problem found in all other games and rolls them into a ball. Ultimate Beach Soccer (UBS) had a great foundation, but ultimately threw it away by complicating a very simple system.

 

UBS is the official beach soccer game for this year. After playing the game, I understand why no one else has heard of a “beach soccer league” (even though it actually exists). Developed by PAM (Power and Magic), the geniuses behind Top Spin, it comes as a surprise that UBS came from the same house.

 

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Since there aren’t any official soccer clubs in the game, Dreamcatcher has included different countries as the playable teams. You can take your pick from the ever-dominant Brazilian team, or decide to help the underdog German team. There are a dozen teams, which is very impressive, but the fact that they all play the same way, no discrepancies in skill between them, it really makes no difference which team you choose.

 

UBS's looks halfway decent from afar, though when the camera closes up, you’ll notice that they aren’t clean. Jaggy player 

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design and uninspired character faces make the experience dreary. The “stadiums” (mostly just some stands placed on the beach) are supporting scenery is as basic as you can get. There are no special items to get excited about, expect plain generic settings.

 

Gameplay is where UBS really screws up. Gameplay. UBS is an arcade game, and as an arcade game it needed a simple arcade tempo. Unfortunately, “simple” must mean “overly frustrating” in PAM's dictionary. Trying to make a simple pass to a teammate is considered a difficult task with the structure they have created. Once you get the ball to a player, you must dribble up the beach in order to get a good shot. Take a shot, watch the goalie make a stop, and do the whole thing over again. With a shoddy system of AI and frequent glitches with ball movement and shooting, a five minute game might last a lifetime. Redundant and fragmented…those are the simplest of terms I can use to describe the game.

 

ultimate beach soccer xbox review          ultimate beach soccer xbox review

 

Each team also has a momentum meter. Once the meter fills up completely, your team is energized by lighting bolts that appear out of nowhere, and suddenly make your team a lot better. I have no complaints about the lightning; I just find it sad that this was the only cool feature in the entire game.

 

Trying to spice up the already “amazing” game, are the halftime shows. Every single time the same annoying song comes on, every single time the same cheerleaders do the same dance, and every single time there is a panoramic view of two DJ’s keeping the excitement level up. This didn’t get me excited, it made me angry. I just wish there was a button to rip their heads off. Maybe in the sequel…I can’t wait.

 

Everyone always tells me how reviewing games must be an easy job, filled with joy and fun. Those people have never played games like Ultimate Beach Soccer. This holiday season, you’ll have a load of games to choose from. Here’s some advice in picking the right game: anything but Ultimate Beach Soccer. If you happen to be amongst the elite few you find beach soccer relatively enjoyable, than go ahead and rent this game, you might have a few laughs over all the problems.

 

- Eric Lahiji

(November 16, 2003)

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