This year’s virtual football season will not be premiered by Pro Evolution Soccer or FIFA, but by Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions. The new official video game from what we know better here as Champions: Oliver and Benji, the series that some of us may have grown up with and where you can let your imagination run wild about what’s possible on the pitch and what great Fantasy-rich shots you can hand out to ram the ball into the opponent’s net. Whether the game also brings this fantasy with it? Well that works quite well!
As you can guess, what the developer Tamsoft offers us is an arcade football game, which best reflects the creator Yōichi Takahashi’s peculiar experience and way of watching football. To respect the original material more than to give the name a hip arcade football title for commercial reasons, because that would have done neither the anime nor the manga justice.
On this initial stumbling block, it should be noted that the development team is inspired by the 2018 version of the series, although none of our favorite ’90s players will seem unrecognizable as well. The game has two different story modes. On the one hand, we have the story of the protagonist, Tsubasa, Oliver Atom in his high school tournaments. On the other hand, we can create a new champion and lead him to glory, as the game’s subtitle says. In this second race, freer from the source material, we can choose between three teams (Toho, Furano or Musashi) at the beginning and win our way up the ranks to the national team of Japan.
Between the two, they can easily last more than 25 hours as they are accompanied not only by the playable sections, which we’ll talk about below, but also all kinds of video scenes, a series of text messages that will advance the story and we’ll also Character in key stats so that he can always face the challenges he will face. Plus, there are slight plot differences depending on the team we’ve chosen, preferring some replayability if you like.
Whether in these story modes or playing quick matches to our liking (local with up to 4 players and online for 2), penalty shootouts or setting up our own championship, ultimately the gameplay is what will make the game drop or to score. As we said, it is an arcade game, you already know the rules regarding defensive attacks and the special thing is to fill up a meter while playing with spirit and shoot as hard as possible to trigger spectacular shooting sequences and gradually reducing the goalkeeper’s own crossbar until he swallows the ball Or being lucky enough to let one in before. Additionally, depending on certain tactical configurations and some sort of special guidance system, we can sometimes see interludes in which the players will be able to activate master plays that sometimes come straight from the series, such as the Derrick’s “Infernal Catapult”. twin.
Tamsoft has not stuck around and Rise of New Champions is full of special “attacks” in which players perform unlikely dribbles or shoot cannon shots that would make you feel sorry for the goalkeeper who has to stop them. Unfortunately, not everything is rosy, as the AI is quite passive and therefore sometimes feels too easy when they follow a bad pattern again.
For the rest, the gameplay is pretty basic and not super special. You just wait until your team bar is full to trigger a Zone V that increases everyone’s stats. Then Super Saves by your goalkeeper, dribbles and long passes can become child’s play. This is a useful thing to do when it is a draw or loss towards the end of a match to quickly turn everything around, but it can also make the match somewhat chaotic and random. Which takes away the tension a bit.
As with anime, it is the story mode that, by adding a story to the game, makes us more interested. Although it manages to represent a disproportionate size of the playing field to a certain extent, it does make the matches more fun and provides the necessary fun drama. Which can be decided on because of a simple detail of the bar management and that it shows certain imperfections in some somewhat erratic passes and in the manual switching of players, which is not always responsive.
Just like other anime games, Tamsoft has chosen to go for a cell-shaded look. And this is actually one of the plus points of this game, because all the action feels and looks very smooth and you immediately feel like you are playing in an episode. The special effects on the shots and the cutscenes are all spectacular, with an ode to the music that the game honors.
Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions manages to perfectly capture the essence of the original work, with a bunch of stars and incredible special moves. However, it will be the most unlikely moments of any match, including shots on target, parry, dribbling, or special blocks that add some rhythm, as the matches were somewhat dull up to that point. But if you’re a fan of the series, you certainly won’t be disappointed.
Captain Tsubasa Rise of New Champions is a great anime to football adaptation, but lacks a little bit in the AI department.