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Real Football 2011

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, Mobile

Pass and lose

Product: Real Football 2011 | Developer: Gameloft | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: iPhone | Genre: Sports | Players: 1-2 | Networking: wireless (adhoc), wireless (network), Bluetooth | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.0
Real Football 2011 iPhone, thumbnail 1
Every autumn, when the football transfer market draws to a frenzied close and teams take to the pitch, so pop up the leagues of video games eager to make their money in the run up to Christmas.

And every other summer come the World Cup or European Championship tie-ins, sapping our cash during the months between the end of the last season and the beginning of the next.

The fact is, gamers are suckers for sports.

It would be easy for Real Football to serve the same package year after year with nothing more than a nip and tuck and few new player names, but this latest iteration feels like a genuine refresh - an attempt to refine play and offer up something with a touch more realism than previous editions.

Flattering to deceive

Sit back and watch Real Football 2011 in motion and you're sure to concede that Gameloft has achieved its much of its goal. The engine is solid enough, with each and every team passing and moving with a fluidity that's rarely seen on iPhone.

The visuals are equally impressive. Real Football 2011 sports a crisp, ambitious look. Matches are boldly introduced by rendered crowd models and panning stadium shots.

Gameloft no doubt hopes first impressions will leave an indelible mark that will shade your opinion of everything that follows. That's because, when you actually get into the game, much of its sheen is muddied.

While your opponents seem to play with grace and intelligence, actually showing the same level of skill yourself is a sticky task - there seems to be one too many blockers placed in your way.

Hit and hope

Passing is the main problem. The game's controls are straightforward enough (virtual D-pad and buttons for passing and shooting, topped up by a number of on-screen swipes for special moves), but managing to pull your team together so they play as one entity rather than 11 separate men is difficult.

The most natural of passes is intercepted by your foe with alarming frequency, simply because your teammates seem reluctant to approach the ball.

As a result, you're left with three options: attempt to put together more elaborate, less logical, and ultimately riskier moves, lob the ball over the top in an effort to cause chaos in true Stoke style, or attempt to break through the entire back line with a pacey run.

Bizarrely, it's the latter that pays off the most. Surging into the box with the 'sprint' button creates the kind of space that allows you to slot the ball into the back of the net with aplomb.

However, this simplistic take on the game doesn't befit its trappings. While much of Real Football 2011 seems to have taken a step forward into the world of genuine simulation, Gameloft isn't keen to bring you along for the ride.

Genuine game of two halves

Despite such disconnection, there is much in which you can indulge.

Along with the expected leagues and cups (real teams, as ever, sadly not present), Real Football 2011 comes with a management mode that pools it all together for a single season. There's also Enter the Legend, which tasks you with raising one player through the ranks.

Also of note is multiplayer. Wi-fi and Bluetooth are supported. You're also encouraged to post replay videos online via YouTube.

On the whole, though, Real Football 2011 feels unfinished. Gameloft has attempted to push the series forward, but in doing so it appears to have left great chunks of gameplay behind.
Real Football 2011
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 29 September 2010
The smartest looking entry in the series to date, Real Football 2011 loses its grip when it comes to actual gameplay, making matches less fluid in practice than they might look from the sidelines
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