Football Superstars Overview
Football Superstars is the first soccer game that can truly be classified as an MMO. Besides playing varied soccer matches on the field, players are free to explore a huge game world currently composed of two cities. Each city has dozens of locations to visit, including bars, cafes, shops, gyms and other places of interest. Football Superstars has impressive graphics and detailed character customization, which make it by far the most advanced sports MMO currently available. The game has quite a steep learning curve, which means matches are determined by the skill of the players rather than any element of luck. While this may appeal to soccer fans, it limits the game’s broader appeal. There are three types of matches in Football Superstars and they are:
Kickabout Matches – Friendly games which can be played against anyone. Players do not receive Football Superstars Dollars (FSD) for playing Kickabout Matches, but their stats will increase normally.
FS Club Matches - Competitive games played against members of one of the opposing clubs (there are four to chose from during character creation.) FS Club games reward players experience, and FSD, along with stat point growth. The results of these games influence league rankings.
Player Managed Club Matches - These are games between player clubs (guilds/clans.) Players must be members of a player managed club to participate. These matches reward players with fame and stat growth.
Football Superstars Screenshots
Football Superstars Featured Video
Football Superstars Full Review
By Erhan Altay
Football Superstars is a full-fledged soccer MMO published by the British firm CyberSports Ltd. The game advertises itself as the first in the genre, which is only half true. Kicks Online (released by another European publisher) has been available for years, but is nowhere near as polished or as in-depth as Football Superstars. This gamer offers much more detailed gameplay, with up to 11 players per side during matches and a huge game world to explore off the soccer field. But even with all these features, it is only likely to appeal to current fans of soccer, or ‘futbol’ as it is called everywhere else in the world.
Football Superstars is a relatively new game and quite graphically intensive. The download process takes quite some time, even on broadband connection. How much this has to do with file size (3 gb) or server location, I’m not sure. Account creation is simple, but American players may be in for a novelty; players are asked to enter their ‘forename’ and ‘surname’ rather than ‘first’ and ‘last’ name. Silly Brits. Character creation is very impressive, especially for a sports game. Players can customize their character’s face, eyes, lips, nose, hair style, color, and so on. Male faces look a bit awkward, but everything else is smooth. There are twenty shirt choices for each gender, along with plenty of pants and shoes to chose from. There are four default soccer clubs to join with no real difference between them. Players are free to create or join player-made clubs later, but the beginner clubs allow newbies to participate in league matches from the start.
Learning The Ropes
The game starts players off in a tutorial zone that will take at least 15-20 minutes to complete, but it can be skipped altogether. Superstars offers a small incentive in the form of 1000 FSD (football superstar dollars) to complete the tutorial, but the main reason for playing through it is that this is not an easy game to pick up and play. The tutorial is broken into four parts, with the first being short instructions on how to move. The second phase teaches players the various ways to shoot, dribble, steal, and the basics of stamina. Players have a lot of freedom; steals and shots are freely aimed, but the controls are a bit jerky at times. The character animations tend to feel robotic, especially when turning. You can mess around with each technique before moving on. At first I simply skipped through these steps, but regretted it later when I was put up against AI-controlled bots in the third phase. It is the third phase of the tutorial that reveals the game’s steep learning curve. Players are put into a short 3v3 match with bots. Even though I knew the controls to steal, pass, and shoot, I found myself outwitted by the bots every time. Eventually I found out the best strategy for me was to simply stand still and let my bot ally do all the leg work. After this practice game, your character will likely level-up and earn some stat points. The fourth and final stage explains the game’s fame and interview system. By winning matches, players earn ‘minutes’, which they can use to get interviews in the local newspaper, radio station, or TV channel. Interviews increase your character’s fame. Your fame level determines which bars and cafes you can enter and acts as a measure of social status in the Football Superstars world.
Live The Life
Both the trailer and in-game movie shown after character creation make it a point to emphasis all of Football Superstar’s off-field attractions. After the tutorial, players are taken to the clubhouse, which has various NPCs scattered about. Each NPC has a different function that the game explains, but the clubhouse is just a small part of the game world. Exiting this area will take players to the huge twin cities of Alexander Bay and Clarkswater, which are separated by a long bridge with a soccer stadium in the middle. Each city has multiple cafes, bars, shops and other attractions. The scenery is in and of itself very attractive; I almost felt as though I was walking around an old European capital like Amsterdam. The bars and cafes are mostly a way to kill time, but they do have some function, as players gain fame by spending time in them and consuming drinks. Unfortunately, the whole atmosphere is killed by the nearly nonexistent player base. I ran across perhaps two other players during my time exploring the cities, which is rather disappointing. The lack of players is the single biggest problem Football Superstars faces. You can’t have an MMO without players. There is only a single server to service the global community, yet even with all of soccer’s international popularity, this game hasn’t garnered much attention thus far. The few players you do run into are likely foreigners who may or may not speak English, which isn’t a problem on the field (football is an international language after all) but it does hamper the whole off-field social aspect the game is going for.
Play Your Way
In total there are three game modes in Football Superstars, all of which be played with various numbers of players per team, from 2v2 (with AI goalies) all the way up to 11v11. The most common game mode is labeled ‘kickabout’, which does not reward FSD, but can be played with anyone. The other modes require you to play with members of your own club against those belonging to rival groups. The game’s current lack of players makes it difficult to find matches, especially those involving more than 6-8 players. The gameplay in Football Superstars is much more difficult to pick up than in casual sports titles (such as Freestyle Street Basketball or Fantasy Tennis), so even if you do find a game, the skill gap between players may make it a frustrating experience. Even with its flaws, Football Superstars is undoubtedly the best free-to-play soccer experience currently available. The game has already found several sponsors; I saw multiple Puma and Xfire ads scattered across the game. Whether or not it can attract the hordes of fanatic soccer fans out there remains to be seen.
Final Verdict: Good
Football Superstars is a great looking game with deep gameplay features and a large world to immerse oneself in. Unfortunately, the stiff controls, steep learning curve and low population keep it from earning a general recommendation. If you’re already a soccer fan, give Football Superstars a try. As for the rest of us, don’t expect to be won over.
Football Superstars Videos
Football Superstars Character Creation
Football Superstars Intro Movie
Football Superstars Tutorial
Football Superstars Practice Match
Football Superstars Kickabout Match
Football Superstars System Requirements
OS: Windows XP / Vista
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3.0Ghz or AMD 3400+
RAM: 1 GB
HDD: 5.0 GB
Graphics Card: NVIDIA 5750 or ATI Radeon X300
OS: Windows XP / Vista
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 Core 2 Duo 2.66 Ghz or AMD Equivalent
RAM: 3 GB or more
HDD: 5.0 GB
Graphics Card: NVIDIA 8800GT or ATI Equivalent