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Inazuma Eleven 3 review

Someone heard the terraces sing Go West again

Summoning God's own hand to intercept a shot powered by supernatural wolves. A seven-foot teenager with the face of a Toby Jug. The offside rule. To those unacquainted with Inazuma Eleven, these statements could be alienating, to say the least.

A true fan, however, might find them banal enough to flick their pristine Mark Evans ultra-quiff and sigh something like, "Been there, kicked that... with a huge boot made of ghosts." This is the thing about fan service. With every new attempt to please your interest group, that group demands more, while everyone else gets pushed further away. In its jump to 3DS the world's only football-RPG is a perfect example.

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Functionally, visually and narratively, this is more or less identical to its DS forebears. Mark Evans is still the chirpiest child ever to be in near-constant mourning for a grandfather he never met. A team of unspeakably powerful magic users still needs to be assembled to play a football tournament (this time, a world youth cup) that could decide the fate of the planet. Play is still a 50/50 split between plod-about-town Poké-venturing and quietly revolutionary, touchscreen-situated strategy. If you've played Inazuma, you'll know what's going on.

Goal-den Oldie

If you haven't however, it'll take a fair bit of getting used to. Such is the commitment to an existing fanbase that the story starts out of nowhere, with seemingly important characters wafting in and out of the central plot with no introduction. Tutorials explaining both the methods and reasoning behind collecting the hundreds of potential players and how they're used in matches are reduced to picture-filled slideshows that communicate the basics and nothing more besides.

It's not insurmountable - the story is paper-thin and the benefit of the action-strategy battles/matches is that you learn as much from trying things out in unimportant encounters as you do by painstakingly micromanaging stats - but it's by no means welcoming.

It's also an increasingly dated format. The long sections of essentially un-interactive story (now peppered with FMV scenes that draw from the series' sister animé) jar with the still-brilliant action of playing matches, which mixes a manager's arrow-strewn tactics blackboard with obscenely over-the-top JRPG spellcasting.

The only concession to the 3DS' increased cart size is in attempting to remedy that imbalance by increasing how much there is for you to play. The ability to create several Connect Teams, used in mini-tournaments activated through a sort of treasure hunt across Japan or to link up matches with other players, means there are far more opportunities to just stop for a proper 11-a-side game.

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Even that has its problems, though. Story characters are grossly overpowered in all match-ups, meaning building a collection of 'wild' players doesn't have the effect it once did. Finding a player who's above average for a level eight (or just has an amazing saucepan hat you'd like to see more of) means little when you'd have to grind for two hours to get them up to the standard of your story team.

Inazuma Eleven, then, retains its charm, quirks and problems. There are a few new facets, to be sure, but this is fan service at its most serviceable.

Comments

9 comments so far...
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  1. Toastie Sunday 29th Sep 2013 at 16:32

    The cut-scenes aren't from the Inazuma Eleven animé. As far as I know, they're from a separate animation studio, or have at least been animated separately.

  2. TaleOfTheToaster Sunday 29th Sep 2013 at 22:39

    More of the same is fine by me, as I love what it was like before! I got my Bomb Blast today, looking forward to starting it.

  3. TheVelvetRoom Monday 30th Sep 2013 at 00:08

    So what's the difference between the 2 versions of the game?

  4. Toastie Tuesday 1st Oct 2013 at 11:08

    So what's the difference between the 2 versions of the game?


    The main difference is the team you face post-game - in Lighting Bolt, you fight angels, whereas in Bomb Blast, you fight devils. You can then recruit the players from the team you have defeated. Also, Lighting Bolt follows the Italian captain's story more, whereas Bomb Blast follows the Cote-Victoire captain's story more. Also, there are some exclusive scoutable players.

  5. mattao5 Tuesday 1st Oct 2013 at 16:29

    Joe Skrebels. You know nothing about Inazuma Eleven 3 and Inazuma Eleven as a whole.

    This is the WORST review you have EVER given to a game that has been incredibly successful both in the UK and in Europe for the last few years now. :evil:

    The honour to review Inazuma Eleven 3 (both Bomb Blast and Lightning Bolt) should go to either Simon Parkin, who gave a BRILLIANT review for the First Inazuma Eleven or Chris Scullion. who gave an excellent review for Inazuma Eleven 2.

    My money is on Simon Parkin. :D

    But at least they both know what the heck they are actually talking about. The game(s) itself.

    This is a very poor review.

    I have played all the Inazuma Eleven games and I cannot wait to get started with both Bomb Blast and Lightning Bolt today.

    This game should be PROPERLY reviewed at between 85-89% in my opinion. The previous games were scored very very close to 90%, which tells you how brilliant the whole games series truly has been.

    To anyone reading this and have played Inazuma Eleven 2, I would totally recommend getting Inazuma Eleven 3, one or both games, do not change your mind from this poor excuse of a review.

  6. OXM Joe Wednesday 2nd Oct 2013 at 10:45

    I cannot wait to get started with both Bomb Blast and Lightning Bolt today.

    This game should be PROPERLY reviewed at between 85-89% in my opinion.

    Ah the old "I haven't played it, but here's the score" argument. Such a respected tactic in the internet flame war.

    I think it's pretty clear from the text that existing fans will like it, but an entirely unchanged formula, with more hindrances to actually playing the core game, and on a more powerful format? That doesn't deserve as high a score as previous installments, to my mind. It's a good game, but an increasingly stagnant series.

  7. toffeeman30 Wednesday 2nd Oct 2013 at 12:24

    played the first one, this looks very similar. the tv show is very popular though. its one of those games you consider if the price comes down

  8. Toastie Friday 4th Oct 2013 at 08:27

    I cannot wait to get started with both Bomb Blast and Lightning Bolt today.

    This game should be PROPERLY reviewed at between 85-89% in my opinion.

    Ah the old "I haven't played it, but here's the score" argument. Such a respected tactic in the internet flame war.

    I think it's pretty clear from the text that existing fans will like it, but an entirely unchanged formula, with more hindrances to actually playing the core game, and on a more powerful format? That doesn't deserve as high a score as previous installments, to my mind. It's a good game, but an increasingly stagnant series.

    While I personally am really enjoying IE3, I can see why you'd say that and I agree with you on the most part. The A to B sections are a bit tedious, and the football battles don't really make them more interesting. If anything, they just get annoying, as they slow you down when you're trying to complete these sections to get to the next proper match. Also, as you said in the review, none of the scoutable 'roaming' characters are actually worth recruiting before the post-game.

    Additionally, for a game that is targeted towards those who have played previous entries in the series, it is very easy. I beat the final team in the story campaign, one that characters kept on interrupting the game to say how good they were, 7-1, and the 1 goal I let in was scripted.

    Still, the sequel series Inazuma Eleven GO, which has been specifically developed for the 3DS, unlike this port, seems to fix a lot of these problems. For instance, football battles don't activate randomly, but players chase you across the map, like in Dragon Quest IX.

  9. mattao5 Saturday 12th Oct 2013 at 03:20

    JoeONM wrote:

    I think it's pretty clear from the text that existing fans will like it, but an entirely unchanged formula, with more hindrances to actually playing the core game, and on a more powerful format? That doesn't deserve as high a score as previous installments, to my mind. It's a good game, but an increasingly stagnant series.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes Joe a lot of fans will love this game and potentially new fans as well.

    Toastie and Joe: Yes.
    Fair enough they probably would add too many features that will take away from the game itself and potentially slow it down as well as take away some excitement too, including the scout features, but overall this does not conclude the fact that the game is rated completely poorer than the previous games, maybe lower yes with a couple of things i guess that won't rate it higher than 85%, but definitely NOT 70% this game is, both games, otherwise you would be saying the same thing about all the other previous games about everything being exactly the same and that the entire Inazuma Eleven series is just meaningless and a waste of time.

    Not even close.


    Joe. The game is more than just your mediocre reflection from what you know very little about such as seeing it from the popular TV anime series point of view as one of a few examples I mention instead of just the actual gameplay itself. You do make some interesting points in regards to your reply, yes, but the comments you have left are still unnacceptable, inexcusable and doesn't change the fact it is still a pathetic review score for the game(s).

    Again, people, I only suggested here that the game(s) should be scored a lot higher because the first two games were very successful obviously, not to actually match the exact previous games successful reviews. I am a hardcore fan of Inazuma Eleven. What do you expect?
    Give me some credit here. I am showing it the love these games truly deserve.

    I have played all the games before and to go from DS to 3DS, yes that would be a big jump for anyone that is a Inazuma Eleven fan, such as myself, and it certainly was for me or just anyone that enjoys these awesome football games.

    Now that I have just finished both Bomb Blast and Lighnting Bolt PROPERLY, at the very least, the score does deserve to be much much higher than 70%. maybe not close to 90% but it DOES deserve to be rated above 80%. All i am saying is you should leave this review to the experts that have been there and done it before for the other previous games of the whole Inazuma Eleven Series.


    And Toastie, As for Inazuma Eleven GO, it's going to be really awesome for the 3DS. Of course it will do better than the Inazuma Eleven 3 games. I only said to Joe here the review is very harsh, considering the big upgrade from DS to 3DS.

    It is just my opinion you guys. You gotta give the game(s) a little bit more credit than this.

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