If I had to list out my favorite sports from top to bottom soccer wouldn’t be very high up on it. However, given the right context anything can be enjoyable. Sometimes things just need to be the right combination of traditional and modern to make it enjoyable. In the case of Soccer it had to be combined with the intense action-packed drama of an anime for me to really find any joy in playing the game. And that’s just what my hands-on time with a PS4 demo of Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions did for me at a recent press event.
Captain Tsubasa is based off an old manga and anime series that I admittedly had not heard of before the game was announced. But, I honestly don’t think this is the type of anime game where it necessarily needs to bank on you being a fan of the series beforehand. All you really need to know is that you’re playing a game of soccer where you and your opponents can pull off crazy super kicks that look like they were being Kamehameha-ed by Goky himself. Every super kick to the goal turns into a dramatic cut-scene where the goalie must battle against the in hopes of a glorious epic save and you really feel that sting of the opponent scoring when they fail to stop it.
The gameplay has a very arcade vibe to it reminiscent of classics like NBA Jam and NFL Blitz. Players can use up their energy to run faster on both offense and defense and can charge up to make an a goal attempt. While on defense, players will have opportunities to block the opposing team or try to slide kick and steal the ball for themselves. On offense it’s all about using the various passes that are available and doing your best to keep the ball moving upfield as one would expect.
I grew up in the era of quirky sports games like EA’s Mutant League series, Midway’s Arch Rivals and Capcom’s Mega Man Soccer and playing Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions gave me a very similar vibe. It feels like an anime when you’re playing it and I can only imagine that the strategic aspects of the game are more expansive than what I was able to witness in my short hands-on preview of the game. Captain Tsubasa feels like it could fill a gap in casual sports games that has been present for far too long. Right now, Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions does not have a solid release date, but it is scheduled to launch in 2020 on the PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Blake Morse posted a new article, Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions is the anime soccer game I didn't know I needed