Ultimate Beach Soccer
Score: 3.5 / 10
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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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