The talk of the town this week in gaming news (well in Australia at least) has been around AFL Evolution, a long awaited brand spanking game from Australia’s most beloved sport.
The last game we got was AFL Live 2 back in 2013 on your favourite consoles PS3 and Xbox360, so it is little wonder why we were all so excited to be getting a beautifully new sculptured game in 2017 with our HD next generation consoles.
Were we mistaken? Well, before I jump in on the hatred and discontent that everyone seems to be posting about from this game let me take you through the good points.
…. tumble weed rolls past, but seriously…. no actually I’m finding it difficult to give you good points. The first thing that struck me as decent were the look of the players, you know the stars of the game, the 600k a year players and upwards, I genuinely thought they looked good, as graphically the players depicted their real life selves even down to the leg muscles. However what about the players under than 600k mark? What about the players that have only been playing a handful of games? Were they forgotten about or just not important? Kind of the same thing though right?
And there we have it folks that’s pretty much what I enjoyed about the game. Now to the not so fun part where I sit here playing the game and writing down what I don’t enjoy about it.
First things first, where is the tutorial? Any game big or small should at least have a small video tutorial or play through on what to do and when to do it. Marking for example, a pivotal point of any AFL game seemed strongly unachievable, to the point where I spent a game kicking back and forth to my own players figuring out the best way to mark. From here, things only seemed to get more annoying, what’s going on with my interchange bench? Why when I change the difficulty from easy to normal am I unable to run away without being tackled so easily? Why is the wind so unbelievably strong and what in the world is going on with players marking the ball like rag dolls through the air?
The engine mechanics seem stiff and robot like, much like the commentary team sounding like they don’t want to be there, and don’t even get me started on the crowd. The lack of variation in the crowds not only from one spectator to the next, but also to each team. A colleague of mine likened the game to early PS3 to late PS2 days. To which I’ll admit was a bit off base when I first heard him say it, then when I delved into the graphics a little more I was drawn to the fact that things seemed rushed or not at all cared about.
It’s one thing to not have a clear game tutorial or your engine mechanics fine-tuned but to graphically return to what seems like the Stone Age in today’s game graphics seems somewhat unbelievable.
I think overall the biggest thing that removed the games sense of credibility had to be the price tag. I came into this game not actually expecting something great, I didn’t even expect the game to work well, because as every AFL fan knows, it is such an incredibly fast and complex game that even the best of us still have trouble figuring out what the hell a player is trying to do, or what the umpire was looking at when they made that horrible call.
So coming in to review a game with very little expectations and having it become such a flop has made me question the future of Australian gaming.
Now this is where it gets interesting, we need to remember that AFL evolution wasn’t FIFA by EA sports, or NBA by 2K sports, it’s not a world game, it’s a National Australian Game and at most is predominately watched in the small state of Victoria. So this is the reason I had very little expectations, however that being said I think Wicked Witch Software and Tru Blu Entertainment owe it to the Australian gaming community to push something that is beautifully and mechanically crafted, they have a duty to make the best game possible so internationally, companies can look at our productions and go “Hey this game is stunningly gifted, maybe we should fund them and outsource some work”. Yet they have given us 2013 graphics and mechanics and called it a day.
All in all, above all the hatred, I did have some fun playing the game, however this was mainly due to the laughable marking antics by the players and not actually enjoyment from the game itself. Overall I would rate it a 4.5/10, I just can’t accept the $80-$100 price tag depending on where you shop, another $20 cheaper, and a $60 game later I might be inclined to raise it up to a 5.5/10.