Creoteam’s Football, Tactics & Glory is an ambitious attempt to mesh together the traditional concept of a turn-based real-time strategy game with football. However, is it a crossover that needed to happen?
• Developer: Creoteam
• Publisher: Creoteam
• Reviewed on: PC
• Release Date: Available Now
It is probably best to start in the game-play as that’s where games like this live or die. Regardless of how good the background features are or the visuals, if the core gameplay loop isn’t engaging, the experience is diminished. That is the unfortunate reality here; Football, Tactics & Glory doesn’t do enough to make the core system work, which is the turn-based play.
There are a set number of actions that can be performed per half (this can be changed in settings) and these are split into blocks of three actions per team. There is a high amount of tactical knowledge that you need to employ to plan out these actions and where you eventually want your players to end up on the pitch. For example, you may spend your three actions moving two players into position while your third is to pressure the attacker who has the ball. In doing this, you may recover the ball earlier than the oppositions allotted three turns, or you’ll be in a position to ‘counter’ effectively when your turn comes up.
Layered within all of this is the RNG calculations built into the system. Every action, coupled with players’ own stats, creates a number between 0-100 which becomes the top number the RNG will return. For example, if a player is about to shoot, his stats on precision versus power may result in a maximum number of 25. If there are no defenders in the way and just the goalkeeper to beat, the goalie himself will have a maximum RNG figure, let’s say 20. In that situation, the striker is favourite as there are more chance to hit a higher number. The frustrating part comes (a bit like in XCOM when a 99% chance shot is missed) when RNG acts as a cruel mistress. The striker may roll a 1 while the keeper rolls the whole 20. It’s crushing and doesn’t help if you planned the perfect move either.
Due to the way the pitch is split into tiles for your players to be positioned on, you find yourself running into similar situations even in the same game. For three straight attacks, the opposition team had 5 defenders in a row (which you can’t run around) and I ran the same play 3 times in a row and got 3 goals. Straight from their kick-offs, they then proceeded to make the exact same plays. The repeating nature of each game rips you straight out of the experience.
Beyond the standard game-play, there’s a surprising amount of depth hidden within the Career mode. You can either create your own club from scratch or you can pick one of the unlicensed and ‘fake’ teams within the game. Like any good football game, you can get mods that simulate the real world and ‘licence’ all the teams up for you, which is a nice addition. Once you get in to the Career mode, you can choose your line-up, change your tactics and manage your remaining squad members.
There’s more to your squad than just picking your line-up and managing your players. You can delve deep into their contract durations and spend coins or club reputation to expand their contract, depending on the length of time you want to lock them down for. There’s also a fairly robust training system, player growth and player traits component lying within too.
After every game, your player’s skills will grow based on the experience from the game. You may find more growth based on a good performance or with a bit of the RNG layered throughout the experience. With experience comes the opportunity to choose player traits and attributes that change the way that players work during games. Player traits can take varying amounts of time to learn based on the type of trait. These are split into three and change the way a player behaves and what type of player you want them to be. This level of detail is something you’d only come to expect in Football Manager and it’s a welcome addition to what on the surface, seems like a more arcade-like experience. You feel a lot more in control of not only the short-term results of your team but also the long-term planning and future of the club as a whole.
There’s much more involved in the background too if you want to experience the game in full and not just with your squad. Some football games fall foul of only letting you manage your team, here, Football, Tactics & Glory allows you to upgrade your training facility, stadium and a range of other services. You can, therefore, choose whether to focus on youth recruitment, player growth or even better negotiation for top stars. All these factors allow you to have a customisable experience where you can decide what type of game you have.
The most frustrating part of the game is that the core game-play loop just isn’t addictive enough to make you want to play more. Rough RNG along with repetitive, predictable game-play make this far from the traditional ‘one more turn’ you get from this genre. Choose to simulate and enjoy the deep stat analysis and club building.