Football-games have always been a hit on every game-system. The sport is very flexible and there is a big area to play in. This makes football (or soccer) to a very popular sport and the good thing is that if you are a lousy player in real life then you can (perhaps) beat the crap out of your friends in a computer- or videogame instead! There are a lot of football-games on the market but there are just a few that are really good. So if you are going to buy a football-game it is very wise to read a few reviews like this one! Fifa 96 was a great hit for almost every system - except for the Playstation (at least that´s what I think). The colours in Fifa was not as good on the PSX as in other versions and besides that I think that the playability and presentation in Fifa was disappointing (I hope the Fifa-fans won´t kill me for that).
So now the challenger is here - Actua Soccer. And it´s a real Fifa-killer!
The players are 3D-objects built up of polygons instead of the ugly sprites in Fifa, making the game much more realistic. The "Virtual-stadium" in Fifa is outmatched by the better looking stadium in Actua, and on several places in the game you can read the text "There´s nothing virtual about Actua" which I think is a nasty slap-in-the-face towards the direction of Fifa... The graphics in Actua are very good and there is not much to complain about, maybe the net in the goal is a bit unrealistic but it´s really not a problem. The players' movements have been recorded with motion-capture-techniques and they look very real. All the players are very well made and again, it is very realistic. In the beginning of the game you can choose to look at a video called "The making of Actua Soccer". It´s a FMV with great quality informing you about how the game is made by interviewing the programmers, musicians, graphic artists etc. In this FMV they also explain why the PSX version of Actua Soccer is better than the PC-version! In the game the players act as real players and you can do many different kicks and passes, using different button-combinations (and it takes a while to learn...). Perhaps it´s a bit like Tekken, you can play without knowing too much but if you are going to be good you must learn all the button-combinations. To do this there is a Practice-option where you can try out your skills without facing an opponent. In the game there is also several camera-angles to choose from and you can adjust every camera so that it fits you. So you can play the game with a Sensible Soccer-camera (from above) or with the more graphics-showing Wire-camera (follows the game in 3D from close distance).
Before you start playing you can adjust the game options in the Setup-menu. Here you can also move the screen so that it fits your TV (this is very good when the RGB-scart moves the picture a bit towards the left) and I really hope that more games will have that option in the future (Krazy Ivan and 3D Lemmings has it too). The graphics in Actua Soccer are perfect, not 100% perfect but almost.
The sound in Actua is very good and the commentating is by Barry Davies, they have included over 4000 of samples like "Good variation, mixing the short and the long!" etc. And the usual sound from the audience is also there but they could be more excited (like roaring the team-names). The sound can be adjusted in the Setup-menu and you can select which sounds you want to hear. The sound of the kicking and passing is good and feels real. So overall the sound in Actua is very good but not as good as the graphics.
It´s the best football-game so far (it beats Fifa 96 and the others) and the graphics are very impressive. So if you are going to buy the best football-game, it´s Actua Soccer.