Sensible Soccer has been reborn. Codemasters has revived it from its ashes following the success of the original Sensible Soccer and Sensible World Of Soccer. Will the old school game make a mark like its predecessors?
There was not a more perfect time to launch Sensible Soccer 2006 (Sensi). Released on the same day as the World Cup kicked off it was sure to have football fans heads turning. With the UK currently 'football crazy' a lot of people will be looking to invest in a new football game. This is where Sensi steps in.
It is up against the likes of Pro Evolution 5, Fifa 06 and the recently introduced Fifa Road To World Cup so it's pretty stiff competition in the virtual football world. However, I think Sensi is refreshingly different and has a fun factor none of the other football games possess.
So what has Sensi got to offer? At first glance very little. The graphics stick with the old school theme and are therefore nothing that you would expect to belong in the 21st Century. Sensi lacks any kind of license so we will have to make do with Owan and Riinay at the forefront of Englands attack. Although we have managed for several years without a fully licensed Pro Evo so it is nothing unusual.
The gameplay is nothing fancy and the controls are very primitive. In true arcade fashion it is a basic point your player in a direction and chose whether to shoot or pass. This means that it is very easy to pick up and can be mastered within hours. The most advanced Sensi gets is that you can change the spin on the ball after a shot ahs been taken. Tackling is also a relatively simple task that involves running into an opposing player to dispossess them.
Sensi is all about having fun. Codemasters said they wanted a game that great goals would be achievable and they have done this. It becomes possible after several hours of play to curl in a 20 yard shot with relative ease. The best part of Sensi is how it is blisteringly fast. The ball could be at one end of the pitch and with a blink of an eye in the net at the other. This makes the game much more enjoyable and difficult to predict. First time players of Sensi have the potential to beat the more experienced player because of the simplicity and the goal frenzies that often occur.
On the other hand, Sensi disappoints in quite a few areas, the first being the interface. Certain features are sacrificed in Sensi's aim to be simple. When choosing your formation and substituting players it is quite difficult and the substitute system is poor. There are also limited options in terms of what to do on the main menu, the choices being play a friendly, preset competition, DIY competition or create/edit a team. There is not an intuitive league system that we've come to expect from Fifa and Pro and in that sense the longevity of the game is quite poor. Sensi doe's however make up for it by providing a wide array of unlockable items e.g. hair styles, pitches, upgrades for custom players.
There is no in game commentary and this means that there is less of a football feel. Also there is a continuous track that plays throughout navigation of the menu that gets very irritating. The sound is nothing compared to the pumping soundtrack of Fifa.
Creating a team, however, is one of the best parts of Sensi. With the players having a normal body, enlarged head style, it is great fun playing around with different appearances and unlocking new styles and clothes for your team. It is quite a challenge to complete the DIY tournaments to increase your team's attributes and building up a good team is a goal that is presented to you in Sensi.
Sensi offers plenty of things for the football fan to enjoy and even gamers not usually interested in football might find this game a good source of entertainment. It is fun to play once you have got used to it and the simplicity of the gameplay is surprisingly enjoyable. However, it doesn't have the detail that Pro Evolution and Fifa contain and football fans looking for a realistic experience will be thoroughly disappointed. I couldn't help feeling that this game would be better suited to an arcade machine than on the PS2. Although this old school style was a good alternative to the usual PS2 encounters.
6.5 out of 10