On the Ball
A soccer game that is best left forgotten!
Well, to be pretty frank, most of the games that tackled soccer simulations back at the start of the 90s were kind of in a fight to manage a nice simulation, a battle that was quite hard, given the many restrictions that the era posed. In AnstoÃŸ these problems are evidenced mostly in the graphical presentation which is much inferior to the FIFA soccer games of the era but it was also a question of game design, things that didn't necessarily begin or end with hardware capabilities. And that is the sad thing, that the game is plagued by poor development of its interactions. The game uses quite a few controls, all of tehm dispersed too generously over too many keys. This can be a terrible problem especially for modern players who have become used to the controls being used both while on defense but also while on the defense. Nope, in AnstoÃŸ you'll have to double the key count to actually be in the game, so that's a poor choice right there. Couple that with overall unimpressive physics (even for the era) and with repetitive animations, and you get a very bland, soulless experience. Too bad, as the series will not get any better later on. Who knows, maybe the developers didn't really think soccer games were worth the effort.
A stellar yet cringe inducing hard soccer management game
When it comes to soccer management simulations there is an entire list of titles to go after, whether they're older games or current gen. Most soccer manager aficionados will most certainly have fond memories of the Championship Manager series or other games that propose relatively the same mechanics. But, these games achieved success mainly due to the fact that they were highly playable, they had pretty graphics and pretty interfaces and never went overboard with the details, keeping actual playing on the edge of simulation versus enjoyment and simplicity. On The Ball: League Edition on the other hand jumps the ball to an extreme of simulation that only the most hardcore soccer management fans will ever find pleasing. One of the aspects of this game/simulation is its psychological and emotional module included. Thus, your players will not only be affected by physical problems but also by morale, morale which is derived from many sources. To counteract, you also have an option to raise your player's spirits, to pep talk them. And this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the intricacies of simulation. Be very careful if you want to try this game. This is not for the casual player, this is a serious, obtuse at times but, if you have the time and the energy to invest in it, it will prove to be one of the best strategy and management simulations for soccer out there.