UEFA Champions League Season 2001/2002
|a game by||Silicon Dreams Studio|
|Platforms:||PC, Playstation 2|
|User Rating:||8.7/10 - 3 votes|
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|See also:||Soccer Games|
We’re told that it’s the greatest club competition in the world, and there’s no denying that it can ease the pain of a bleak mid-winter evening, despite the incessant ramblings of Ron Atkinson. ITV’s dream team of Big Ron and Clive Tyldesly are nowhere to be heard here, replaced by the random tiumvirate of Gaby Logan (nee Yoratti), Guy 'Melton’ Mowbray, and Barry Venison, a man for whom fashion is a foreign country. Mowbray is the main man on the mike, Venison chips in with inane observations, and Logan introduces the action. On paper, Gaby is the perfect woman: intelligent, beautiful, likes football. She even looked at me once. However, within the confines of a videogame, she’s little more than a footnote, and certainly not a reason to buy it.
To be brutally honest, you’d be hard pressed to find any reason to buy this. It is, of course, pony. The Silicon Dreams football game has been through many guises over the years. World League Soccer failed to ignite the crowd, an ill-fated Michael Owen endorsement couldn’t lift it out of the mire, and the last few releases has seen it carry the Champions League licence. More accurately, the licence has carried the game, and unsurprisingly the same applies this time round, despite the change of publisher. Eidos’ loss is Take 2’s pain.
A murky affair already, this year’s model sees it steal some of the worst ideas from some of the worst games. The golf gamestyle set pieces are straight out of Viva Football, and the elaborate tricks mimic the worst excesses of the FIFA series. UCL brings a few innovations to the party though, including the introduction of the optional auto-manage feature, whereby the computer selects a team and formation in accordance with your opposition. It’s a welcome addition, although mainly because the tactics screen is so unwieldy as to be barely usable.
Naturally, the authenticity is the key selling point, and all of the relevant stadia have been lovingly recreated. On the pitch though, the players display limited intelligence at best. For instance, during the course of this review an attacker situated on the opposition’s goal line elected to pass the ball back to a teammate. A selfless strategy maybe, but not a particularly successful one. Movement off the ball is scarce, passing is sketchy, and overall it’s a mainly leaden experience. It is possible to string a few games together if you really try, but it still falls a long way short of compelling.