Title: Football, Tactics and Glory
Developer: Raylight Games, Creoteam
Publisher: Toplitz Productions
Genre: Sports, Strategy
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 22/01/2020
Price: £35.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Taking my beloved Liverpool from the lowly amateur leagues to relative stardom atop the Premier League is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. I’ve done it time and again, be it FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer or Football Manager. It never gets old.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Football, Tactics and Glory (known as Soccer, Tactics and Glory in the US.) Whilst the concept is an interesting one and there’s a lot of detail within it, the lines between RPG, management and football sim are blurred. So too are the ones between functional, fair and fun.
The Career Mode is where players will spend the majority of their time, partly because the online multiplayer is currently underpopulated. You begin in the Amateur league, selecting from a list of teams representative of some of the best teams in the world – in name only. With no licensing and no attempt to even remotely resemble the real-life players, the team selection screen is just par for the course.
Once you’ve chosen your favourite namesake, you embark on a management career filled with emails, convoluted menus and incredibly slow build-up play. Each match sees a team make three moves per turn and after each turn, the time advances. Much like a tactical RPG, you have to strategise as to the best course of action to get your players closer to the goal. This can be dribbling forward, playing short, long or lofted passes, or by moving other players into position in anticipation of the opposing teams’ next move.
The concept has a lot of potential, yet its delivery leaves something to be desired. It was always going to be difficult taking something as pacey and end-to-end as football and slowing it right down, and therefore means the target audience of FTG is hard to identify. That being said, for those interested in football management, there is quite a lot to get your teeth into. Player skill trees, statistic upgrades and injury dilemmas all make an appearance and are a welcome distraction from the on-screen action.
On the subject of on-screen action, it has to be said that FTG looks great, even if it doesn’t always feel that great to play. The pitch is detailed, the players well-animated and there is a sophistication to the UI which does well to set the tone of this game. It is billed as a management sim and this is evident throughout, yet it ensures there is a heavy focus on active participation in the football on the pitch too.
For those looking to sink hours and hours into it, there is a way to make the game more realistic with the inclusion of an editing tool. Here, you can change the name of teams and alter the appearance of the players. This is a sure-fire way to improve engagement, however, it is a shame that the players aren’t even close to their real-life counterparts, as I can imagine many won’t invest the time required to change them.
If this was a game akin to that of Football Manager where you passively watched the play unfold and made tactical adjustments on the fly, then FTG would be a completely different prospect. As it stands, an emphasis has been placed on the footballing action whether management sim or not. This is ultimately where the game falls down.
Many a time possession is lost because you have to almost walk the ball to the goal – a 35 yard Gerrard screamer isn’t an option here, at least not for some time into the campaign anyway. The way the mechanics work, your player must have a higher score than that of the players in your path in order to progress forward. For example, if you are passing through a group of players, your rating needs to be higher than that of the combined group of players. The same applies when taking a shot which is often difficult from long range.
With so many variables to consider and players in your path, you’ll find that without being one on one with the keeper, you are likely to lose the ball. Therefore, it is commonplace that you end up seeking a pass that you ordinarily wouldn’t do. Then you do it again. And again. What you are left with is a management simulator which has turned the beautiful game into a tiresome, repetitive and occasionally frustrating one.
The in-game menus aren’t as inviting as the FIFA and Football Manager counterparts which is a shame. Whether it’s reading a tutorial sent to you via email or looking at player statistics in the team management menu, there is a lot of text on-screen. It is inevitable that there is information to digest in a management simulator, however, there are much more engaging ways to deliver the content. Handheld, in particular, proved quite the problem, not just for actually reading the information but also in wanting to. Again, another example of how different FTG is to those we have come to associate with football in the past.
I really wanted to like Football, Tactics and Glory. A fresh take on genres that have stood the test of time are always exciting, and I think Creoteam are on to something. There is a winning formula in there somewhere, but at its core, it’s a game at odds with the sport it represents.