Thinking about it, the world of video games is an orphan of football stories. Of course we have the hyper-realistic simulations of FIFA and eFootball, or the chaotic but fun Mario Strikers: Battle League Football. However, there was no real story, a magical tale. At least until the release of Soccer Story, the subject of our review, which sets the record straight from the title: this is a football story.
Developed by the British studio Panic BarnsSoccer Story looks like a open world RPGin which we are called to bring the game of football back to the peoplein a world that has disowned him because of a powerful company, the Soccer Inc.which has taken the monopoly of football played (does that remind you of anything?), banning the ball in the streets.
It is not the player who chooses the ball, but the ball that chooses the player
Thanks to a magical ball that has mysteriously appeared in his room, our protagonist will have to follow a series of missions in a vast 2D world, starting from the town of Soccer Town. We will thus find ourselves grappling with primary and secondary quests, between puzzles to solve, targets to hit and play soccergolf or footvolley. By completing the main missions we will continue in the story, which revolves around the return of football played in spite of Soccer Inc., who wants to keep control of it.
Instead, by solving the side quests you will get coins to buy upgrades (useful for us and our team). Yes, because between targets to hit and dribbling challenges, there will also be some to play 5v5 matches, with quite absurd rules: no fouls, no ball out, yes to unrealistic mega slips and shots on goal from midfield. In addition to the story, in the main menu of the game, we will also be able to try our hand at impromptu matches through the Quick Match mode.
It is precisely on the football aspect that we encounter the first critical points of this title: the story is good, the game world interesting, but the games are too simplewithout ever the tension of failing to beat AI opponents.
Bringing the Purity of Soccer Back to the People: The Soccer Story Review
It is decidedly emblematic that Soccer Story arrives in the middle of the Qatari World Cup, characterized by the controversies regarding the economic interests of FIFA. The game, in fact, almost seems to wink at these dynamics, offering us a fight against the powerful Soccer Inc. (whose boss is Bep Jattera clear reference to Josep ‘Sepp‘ Blatter, controversial former FIFA number 1 who awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar). Soccer Inc. is guilty of having transformed football from a popular game into a business for its own interests. Any reference to facts or people is purely intentional.
Despite these fundamental criticisms, the strength of Soccer Story is to be found in its lightness and irony. The game is not without a sometimes irresistible quotation, such as some characters who will invite us to “click like and subscribe to the channel”, or others who will fuel the eternal debate: “should we call it soccer or football?”.
Ultimately how is Soccer Story? Is it worth playing?
Summing up our review, we can say that Soccer Story is a valid alternative to all those who want experience the magic of football as we knew it as children. Without the millimeter passes and all the football tactics which, although fascinating, have nothing to do with the dream of a ball kicked with friends in a small park. It is no coincidence that a magic balloon is the center of everything, our only weapon against the evils and wicked of the world.
Soccer Story is a simple but well-groomed story, which branches out in a 2D world that is absolutely absurd but well worth exploring. A popular tale, between myth and legend. In short, without fear of being didactic, Soccer Story is a story of football. And football stories must always be preserved.
- Available on Xbox Game Pass
- Interesting story
- So many quotes and so much irony
- Huge 2D world to explore
- Good variety of missions
- Subtle criticism of the world of football