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Inazuma Eleven Strikers review

If you buy one football game on Wii this week, make it this one

With the Inazuma Eleven animated series currently doing the rounds on CITV, it's no real surprise to see Inazuma Eleven Strikers getting an English-language release courtesy of Nintendo and Level-5. Anyone expecting the sort of detail and depth they got from the two DS games released on these shores will be disappointed, however, as this is a very different kettle of fish.

Rather than the RPG-style story and the curious stylus-based football gameplay featured in the DS Inazuma Eleven games, Inazuma Eleven Strikers plays a far straighter game of footie. There's no real story to speak of, instead offering a series of cups in which you play other teams from the animated series in succession.

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The whole strategy aspect of the DS games has also been scrapped for the most part, with the tactical stylus controls replaced with more fast-paced, 'normal' football gameplay. We say 'normal', because in reality it's anything but - we simply mean the way you control the players directly is more like it is in other football games. Think something like Mario Strikers Charged Football and you've got the right idea.

Players are armed with pass, shoot, sprint and evade moves, as well as a series of special moves that they can trigger once they've built up enough team points. The most important of these take the form of over-the-top shots performed by holding down the shoot button long enough. Fancy summoning a huge wind dragon to help you force the ball into the back of the net? Fair enough.

Remotely Interesting

Alternatively, the special moves can take the form of defensive and evasive techniques on the pitch. These are performed by flicking the Remote, causing a large circle to appear at your player's feet. Run close to an opponent so they enter that circle and your special move triggers a cutscene - be it one where you steal the ball off them or one where you prevent them from taking it off you - after which you return to the standard flow of gameplay.

These are impressive for the first couple of matches. It's hard to argue with someone conjuring tornadoes out of their boots, and the fact that most players have unique moves staves off boredom for a while. That said, after a few hours, specials get repetitive and you find yourself bashing buttons in vain to try and skip them.

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Special moves aside, the actual football side of things is decent enough. Passes and crosses are simple to pull off and the odd occasion where you get to play a through ball is satisfying. Normal techniques are a little too underpowered, mind: you can more or less forget scoring regularly with normal shots, no matter how much you charge the power up - which means that much of the game consists of continually hitting shots you know will be saved until you've built up enough team points to use a special shot.

The in-game dialogue is also annoyingly repetitive, with a commentator who only has a handful of phrases and players who shout, "Let's go!" every single time you switch between them in defence.

These fairly big niggles aside, Inazuma Eleven Strikers does still play a half-decent game of something, even if it's not quite proper football. It's also nice to see your players 'level up' after each match and develop teamwork bonds with their teammates. We also like the ability to 'scout' (i.e. buy) players from teams you've beaten. The lack of any sort of Story mode, however, does limit the action to a couple of tournaments and friendly matches. You'll likely tire of this in the time it takes to scratch the surface of the far more substantial DS games.

Fans of the Inazuma cartoon will get a kick out of Inazuma Eleven Strikers because the voices are accurate and the graphical style is more like the cartoon than in the DS games. Anyone without such an affinity for the series, however, would probably be wise to give it a miss and go for something like FIFA 12 or, if it's over-the-top silliness you want, Mario Strikers Charged Football.


8 comments so far...
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  1. spacemen13 Friday 28th Sep 2012 at 16:37

    Nah! Doesn't have anything on the DS games.

  2. Oathkeeper Friday 28th Sep 2012 at 18:31

    Been suitably excited for this since I heard it was being released in the UK. Massive fan of the anime and the DS games, and I can't see myself getting bored of it. For fans that have seen the entire show like I have, this is a must buy. I'm a bit miffed at no option for Japanese voice actors but I'm not too fussed. Hopefully we get the third DS game now that characters from that game have been revealed over here, or at least get Inazuma Eleven 1𠂻.

  3. PhineasFerbStyx Friday 28th Sep 2012 at 19:16

    Pre-ordered this and got it yesterday been playing it since and I really love it. After I got over the initial geekdom of seeing the God Hand and fire tornado being screamed out by their actual voice actors it became very addictive. Although it is a lot more like the anime than the ds games as special moves will be used a lot more. But overall its very good and you should buy it if you like the games and the show. :D

  4. 1steagle Friday 28th Sep 2012 at 19:38

    been looking around in all game shops and cant find it anywhere ,
    its probably gonna be the last wii game i get :(

  5. cyanwolf6 Friday 28th Sep 2012 at 19:41

    Where did you get it I can't find anywhere that has it in stock.

  6. imbusydoctorwho Friday 28th Sep 2012 at 19:46

    I guess it'll be hard to find,just like Pokemon Typing Adventure.

  7. cyanwolf6 Friday 28th Sep 2012 at 20:16

    I think Shopto has them in stock so I might get it from there.

  8. Steve Grim Friday 28th Sep 2012 at 22:23

    I got my copy from pre-ordered but because i live in Ireland its not here yet. :cry:
    it really amazes me how hard it is to get any inazuma eleven game inazuma eleven 2 blizzard was only available 2 weeks after I imported a copy from england

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