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Soccer Story Review (PS5) – Footy RPG Scuffs Its Shot

Soccer Story PS5 Review. A soccer-flavored RPG goes for a winner, but can it put away its chance? Find out in PlayStation Universe’s review of Soccer Story on PS5.

If you live and breathe for football, you can probably feel for the protagonist of Soccer Story. They live in a cruel world where any form of unlicensed football is banned, and that means no kickabouts, no Sunday league, no jumpers for goalposts, nada. Just boring, regimented, corporate football. Good thing football’s not likely to end up that way in real life though, eh?

That changes for our hero one day however when they discover a magic football that sets them off on a journey to bring footie back to the masses and reignite the love for the beautiful game by finding invisible goalposts, knocking drones out of the sky, dribbling for justice, and occasionally playing a game of football.

Soccer Story Review (PS5) – Footy RPG Scuffs Its Shot

Soccer Story Is Basically Pokemon With Sporty Stuff In Place Of Monsters

Soccer Story plays out like an RPG along the lines of Pokemon; just replace the monster-collecting with a bunch of sporty stuff, and boom, there’s a novel concept for ya. Yes, it’s about footy, but it’s an RPG adventure first, and the combination invariably makes for some oddball nonsense.

You’re wandering about town, blocked off from some places until earning special boots or by story progression. So there’s a lot of running about finding secrets and completing objectives from the off, learning about what your magic ball can do.

You start out a footballing novice with next to no pace, power, or skill. By completing tasks the various townsfolk set, you can earn tokens that eventually allows ability upgrades for your character and squadmates. These tasks range from hitting targets, to rummaging about in the bushes for medals. Depending on your skill level, some objectives will be out of reach until you improve yourself, but the game gives you only readily achievable tasks in order to make progress at least.

The flow of Soccer Story is akin to a trickle, and this is for two reasons. One is because you’re locked off from so much in a rather unintuitive manner. The other is that the game is a bit of a clogger to play.

Fun To Start With, But Problems Soon Become All Too Noticeable

It’s cutesy fun to start with, but once you unlock proper shot aiming (necessary for later puzzles), things start to fall apart. You need to hold the right stick in the direction you need and squeeze off a shot with R2. Unfortunately, this setup often causes shots to take a last second wobble. Not the end of the world in regular circumstances, but once Soccer Story starts throwing timed shot challenges at you, it reaches truly aggravating levels.

During the beach area of the game world, you come across a particular mission that must be completed to progress the story. In it, you need to land a shot on the heads of incoming sharks as they head towards some kids. Moving targets and a wonky aiming system mix about as well as you’d expect, but it’s the seconds it takes to respawn the ball that adds salt into the wound. After that section saw me having to fight the controls for about 30 minutes, I loathed every timed shot challenge after it.

There is actually some football in Soccer Story, and while it’s a nice change of pace, it’s very basic, and used sparingly. Matches take on the indoor footy rulebook, with walls surrounding the pitch that you can bounce shots and passes off, and outfield players are unable to enter the modest semi-circle of the goalkeeper’s penalty area.

You can’t even have fouls, so feel free to tear down every opposition player like they’re John Terry if it pleases you, because they’ll absolutely give it back to you.

Soccer Story Has Goofy Potential That Is Sadly Never Fulfilled

Adding to the frustration was three separate instances where a bug effectively killed my progress stone dead. The first came when I wasn’t allowed to interact with a cave that led me to my next story point. Even though I knew who to talk to, and what this path was supposed to lead me to, I was stuck in the phase of the game before that key interaction.

That time it happened early, so I caught up quick, but later, I lost chunks of my time when similar bugs cropped up. Suffice to say, Soccer Story did not exactly cover itself in glory during my time with it.

The rhythm of puzzle solving with a ball kept the novelty value high enough that I happily persevered for a good few hours before a murderous look flashed across my face and stayed there.

Soccer Story can be endearingly daft at times, what with its animal teammates and ridiculous, yet heartening love-in with the sport of football/soccer. Personal highlights include slide tackling grass to find coins, playing footgolf, and finding secret goals. I’m all the more annoyed by its shortcomings because it has a goofy potential that rarely comes close to being fulfilled.

Soccer Story is out now for PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One.

Review code kindly provided by publisher.



The Final Word

The idea of Soccer Story is good on paper, but as the saying goes, the best teams don't play on paper. A cutesy, goofy facade can't mask the messy, frustrating game underneath.