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Friday, 8 August 2014

Speedball 2 HD - Review

Been playing the remake of Speedball 2 quite a bit recently... it's got enough in common with the original game to be instantly familiar, but enough differences to make it a slightly different challenge.  The pitch is the same layout but bigger compared to the player sprites, and as a result the game feels a lot slower than the original, albeit on the whole, the same tactics that worked for me in the original still work (gaining control of the score multiplier is, you may be unsurprised to hear, is still the main key to winning matches).  

Your initial team start off at a much higher level than the old Brutal Deluxe, but part of the upshot of this is that Super Nashwan, the ultimate team in Speedball 2, is now only a 3 star team with several 5 star teams ready to pulverise you.  There are a number of additions / changes to the game, but to be completely honest most of these feel superficial.

Whilst on balance I have been enjoying the game and mastering it, I don't think I'll go back to it once I've won all five major trophies (EDIT - I have now - one more season to go, which I will finish).  The Speedball Cup and League 2 are extremely easy to win (won both at first attempt), and whilst there is more challenge on League 1, once you've won it the first time, chances are that you'll easily win it every season after that.  The Intergalactic Cup is very tough until you've upgraded your squad, and the Champions League is a good challenge, but whereas I found the original game constantly challenges my reflexes and tactics (against the very top teams anyway), I can't quite see this remake having the same long-term appeal.

(Oh, and the number of knock outs you can get in a single match seems preposterous at times - my own record is 12, I think the teams were Mean Machines and Turbo Hammers, though I don't quite remember now).

The biggest problem I have with the game - and this irks me slightly every single game - is that it feels quite jerky.  You can never seem to get a flow going or a nice passing move because your players (even maxed out) seem to only be able to throw the ball a short distance and jumping to catch the ball somehow almost never seems to work.  Also, the interface to manage the team seemed to never be quite intuitive to me (though this could just be me!).

I like the game enough to want to win all the trophies, but after that I don't think I'm likely to revisit it.  It is quite likely, however, that I will at some point crank up the STEAM emulator and play the original once again!

It's nice that the original teams are all there and there are some things to like about the game.  However if you're looking for a game that counts as the "spiritual successor" to Speedball 2, this isn't it.