Inazuma Eleven Impressions

September 28, 2008 at 12:44 pm | Posted in Import Gems | Leave a comment

Alright well it has been quite a while since the last update because of my recent move to Osaka. It has been a busy period of settling in plus starting work at new schools in the Osaka area. I finally feel like I am settled in so I figured it would be a good time to update the blog.

I just wanted to give some quick impressions on Level 5s new Soccer RPG, Inazuma Eleven. It was a complete impulse buy as I had not really followed it since the first couple of trailers but I am really happy that I picked it up now. I have put about 10 hours into the game so far and it is quite a bit better than I expected.

The story and setting are just cookie cutter sports anime fare, but a part of me has always found this style at least a little charming so it is hard to hold it against the game. I am also extremely impressed at how they managed to mesh this setting together with what is basically a traditional RPG. Nothing feels out of place even though it is quite different when compared to other RPGs.

It still keeps the standard random battle system, but the battles are actually just 4 on 4 soccer matches with no rules. They are extremely painless and can be ended fairly quickly once you get the hang of the controls. Boss battles actually take the form of a full on 11 man soccer match, which are the highlights of the game. Things can get extremely hectic mainly because of the number of special abilities that get thrown around. The abilities basically come in 4 different types; they consist of shooting, dribbling, blocking, and goalkeeping moves. All have ridiculous over-the-top anime cinematics which are fairly entertaining. There seems to be quite a wide variety even this early in the game also, so you don’t get tired of watching the same thing.

The controls are pretty simple, although it can be overwhelming if you try to micro-manage too much. You draw lines from your characters in the direction you want them to run to. You can draw a zig-zag or a wavy line and they will follow it to the tee. If you have the ball, tapping anywhere on screen will kick it there, so you tap in front of a teammate to pass or tap a spot on the goal to shoot. You can also tap on your character which will preform a juke type move. If an opposing player is close when you do this it will stun them. If you characters runs into an opposing player then it will prompt you with choices. The choices range from various special abilities or normal juke/slide moves. If you tap on the goal for a shot then you are also prompted with the choice of normal kicks or special abilities.

The controls work really well and become second nature pretty fast. There are also a couple of factors that help to smooth things out a bit. Teammates will automatically run for the ball if you lead them with your passes. You can also do direct shots, which are basically assists. If you pass the ball to a teammate in front of the goal and tap on the goal for a shot as soon as he receives the ball you are given this opportunity. It basically just allows you to use a heading technique or another faster kick instead of the normal shots. Very useful move. Another helpful tactic is a little icon on the top right that allows you to stop time and input commands for your entire team if you want. You can use it once every 10 seconds or so. A very good idea that helps to cut down on the hectic nature of the game.

Overall I am very happy with the game, and plan to finish it before I move onto any other DS games. A very fun and original take on the normal JRPG formula.


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