If you were to say what was missing in this videogame generation, now very close to passing the baton to the next, what is one of the first things that would come to mind? Definitely not a football game, given that, again this year, FIFA and PES have not missed an opportunity to be appreciated - more by some and less by others - and to play. But trying to think with a slightly wider spectrum, I'm sure that the answer can come automatically and, why not, almost instinctive. Not only was a simple football game missing, but a football game inspired by the adventures of Holly and Benji or better, Tsubasa and Genzo - since the reference work is the remake of 2018 - the two champions who accompanied each of us during countless mornings and afternoons at home. Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions, developed by Tamsoft, published by Bandai Namco and available from August 28th, it proposes precisely to make up for this lack, and it does so by fully hitting the target ... or rather, the door.
A story of growth and revenge
Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions obviously follows the adventures of Tsubasa Oozora, Nankatsu midfielder. Within the game we follow the events of the team in question, committed to collecting victories and improving with the aim of growing more and more up to bring Japan to win the world cup (I know, it's not realistic but we're still talking about a game). This is the Story mode, which is quite linear and does not reserve big surprises. On balance, the events unfold through dialogue excellently recited, which, however, represent nothing more than simple moments of intermission between the various games that we are called to play. It is during these, however, that the storyline is enriched by truly original gimmicks, like real cutscenes in the middle of games or sudden skill changes justified by narrative purposes. Next to the main mode, however, the real highlight of the title turns out to be the mode New Hero. This allows you to create our character, completely customizable - with an editor that is all in all diversified and articulated - both in appearance and in capabilities. The adventure of our alter ego, certainly more knowledgeable in football skills than myself, begins within one of the three teams available - Furano, Musashi or Toho - and even winds through role-playing elements. There are several dialogue choices available, and some of them can also influence, albeit slightly, the succession of events.
Gameplay of reflexes and spectacularity
However, the real focus of Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions lies in gameplay. It would not be unfair to say that during your games, whether with friends, strangers or even simply against the AI, you would do well to abandon any search for technicality, to get completely involved in the showmanship and one divertissement simple and immediate. The feeling of the game is, in fact, permeated by a strong spirit arcade, which takes full advantage of the animations present in the original anime. It is easily possible to shoot from the center of the field and hit the goal, just to give an example. And this is because, as mentioned above, the purely arcade setting of the title makes itself felt everytime. First of all, each player has their own spirit: this is necessary to perform any action, from sprints to simple shots, and it is up to the player to try to dose the energy of their players in order not to find themselves, in fact, unable to move. As for the goalkeepers, however, the aforementioned bar ends up being a real indicator of resistance: after every shot and every save, the goalkeeper's spirit gradually decreases, until the goal is secured once he kicks in the goal with the goalkeeper of the opposing team has exhausted his resistance. The mechanics of the dribbling. While shooting with a particular player, by pressing a special button with a certain timing - when the opponents try to intervene to steal the ball - it is possible dodge them, regain spirit and keep sprinting for the door. But not only that: dodging two opponents in a row, our player earns a considerable sprint forward, which allows you to reach the door much easier. To accompany it all, the super-shooting. Charging the button to pull when the gods spirit bar players it is quite full, it is possible to attend one spectacular shot headed for the door. Each of them is accompanied by a 'unique animation which changes according to the type of shot in question. It goes without saying that, obviously, this type of shot reduces the spirit of the goalkeeper in a much more considerable way than normal shots. To be sure, not all players can do them, although, as you progress through the story, it is possible to unlock new ones and equip them to our favorite players. There is also a kind of team morale, indicated by a special bar and named Zone V. This, once filled, allows the entire team to perform special actions such as foolproof saves or a noticeable increase in running speed, and can turn the tide of matches at any time. Every game is therefore always spettacolare ed endearing even if the title suffers, given its nature, from a certain basic repetitiveness that is impossible to ignore, although it is still something light and not at all invalidating. As already mentioned, forget any kind of technical strategy: during the games there are no fouls or cards, so you can try to mow down your opponent without any mercy. But basically in a game of this type a feature of the genre does not clash and indeed fits perfectly into the spirit of the title, and that's the beauty of it.
Progression, personalization and characterization
In addition to the immediate and fun gameplay, Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions manages to show off one management component really not bad, albeit mentioned and not completely detailed. First of all it is possible, by playing several games, to increase the confidence and bond with certain players, and therefore to unlock new techniques and skills. This mechanic is then resumed thanks to the ability to access the shop, where to buy stickers. These each represent a player and, by finding enough of them, it is possible to increase the friendship with the represented character and thus obtain his skills and abilities. By accessing the team editing menu, you can view the statistics of each player. These are five in total, and essentially represent the characteristics and potential of each player: Technology, Attack, Potenza, Speed e Defense. Furthermore, before each match, the game provides the possibility to modify the team's formation and to reassign the roles of the various players, also allowing us to change strategy trying to make us opt, if necessary, for a more attack-oriented strategy or, vice versa. , focused almost entirely on the defensive. However, we are talking, after all, of a strategic component that, if it finds its why and its functionality within the other football simulators, in a title totally arcade ends up being pretty soon rather marginal. Not bad, because the focus of the game by Bandai is clearly moved to something else, even if a greater attention in this sense would certainly not have spoiled.
A colorful and captivating style
The graphic style of Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions is in line with all Bandai productions taken from Japanese animated productions. All characters and settings are represented by a lively chell shading, which manages to faithfully reproduce the characteristics and design of the different characters. From a technical point of view, the title does not present major gaps or uncertainties. The PS4 version proved to be stable and reliable in almost any situation. Despite the spectacular action on the screen, the frame rate remains at 30 FPS, with some sporadic drops which, however, do not in the least affect the gaming experience which remains exciting and fun.
A nostalgic and carefree experience
Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions flexes muscles - indeed, calves - and turns out to be a title valid e funny. The game is packed with content and possibilities as well as really long-lived if you decide to devote yourself completely to the two modes of the main story. It is certain that, from an experience with these characteristics, one cannot certainly expect the accuracy and realism present in any other footballing work. But it is precisely for this reason that the target of the title expands considerably. Tamsoft Boys' product is recommended to both fan history of Captain Tsubasa and to those who, instead, are simply looking for a solid title, with gameplay dynamic e satisfactory, which can give moments of leisure and carefree, especially in company.