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Legendary Eleven review - A missed opportunity ahead of the World Cup

For: Switch
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Football on Switch remains a one-horse race

Product: Legendary Eleven | Format: Switch | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Like the Scottish Premier League, the Switch football scene is a one horse race - and that horse isn't exactly what you'd call a thoroughbred.

FIFA 18 on Switch is perfectly decent, but it doesn't really stand up to the other console versions. Plus, it's FIFA, so it has all the charm and personality of a John Terry interview.

What we need - especially in this World Cup year - is for a blood-and-thunder arcade throwback to come steaming in with a two footed challenge. Legendary Eleven attempts just such a manoeuvre, but ends up limping off with a dislocated shoulder.

It's (not) in the game

Legendary Eleven positions itself as a throwback to a golden age of footy games. A time before we got a million skill combination to learn, hundreds of realistically modelled players to choose from, and real time tactical management options to consider.

Here the shorts are self-consciously short, the characters are cartoony, and I played my first World Cup as Yugoslavia.

Sadly, the retro charm is mostly for show. When it comes to the on-pitch action, Legendary Eleven is frustratingly stilted, annoyingly unwieldy, and just not very fun to play.

Misplaced pass

Knocking the ball about between your gangly players is easy enough to do, but there's no real ebb and flow to the play.

Passes are either restrictively automated, zipping straight to a team mate, or else mystifyingly off target. Trying to play a simple through ball from midfield into the path of an advancing winger invariably results in putting the ball out of play.

Shooting is an art that bears no resemblance to the beautiful game, your striker stopping and drawing his leg back while you hold the button, as if you've pressed pause on Sky+. Crossing seems futile, too, with the AI having your strikers lurk outside of the box when you get to the byline.

Tackling, meanwhile, is a deeply unsatisfying mechanic, with standing challenges able to win the ball back from any angle. It's like the players aren't physical entities at all.

Well off target

There's a super-shot system that seems to build up with fluid attacking play, but the method of pulling it off is never really explained. The same is true with free kicks, with a pulsing accuracy gauge that doesn't seem to stop when you want it to.

The game badly needs a simple tutorial mode, or at least a few initial screens that introduce its systems. As it is, there are odd tips that appear briefly in the loading screens - and often disappear before you've had a chance to absorb what they're telling you.

It all results in a football game that's somehow as simplistic and shallow as it is vague and impenetrable. It's a maddening contradiction that's arguably worthy of the beautiful game. Sadly, the rest of the game isn't.
Legendary Eleven review - A missed opportunity ahead of the World Cup
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 8 June 2018
A clunky, frustratingly limited arcade football experience that doesn't live up to the classic football games it clearly wants to emulate
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