When it comes to football games, I tend to give them a pass. I’m not what you would consider to be the best person on the pitch, so to speak. Whilst I understand the rules of play, and can, on occasion, find a considerable amount of fun and value, I much prefer something more fantastical to sink time into. Nevertheless, Legendary Eleven hit my lap and rather than pass it on to another team member, I decided to give it a go on account of its arcade nature. Does the first Xbox One game of the year foul, or score? Well, a bit of both.
Legendary Eleven is described as a throwback to the golden age of football, spanning the 70’s through to the 90’s. The game’s time frame means very little, mind, more or less simply serving as a basis of character. Regardless, it suits the theme of the game quite well. Booting up Legendary Eleven takes you to a clean and well laid out menu, consisting of a handful of options. Here, you can dive into online play, enjoy some championships, take part in legendary matches, hit up some friendly competition, or adjust a few settings via the options.
It’s all relatively straightforward stuff. If you’re looking for some quick local competitive fun, the friendly matches have you sorted. If, however, you’re keen to invite a buddy from your friends list, online play is where you want to be. Legendary Eleven’s meat rests mostly with both its championship mode and its legendary matches. The latter sets you up with pre-determined matches and tasks you will fulfilling their requirements; such as beating England as Brazil, or defeating Germany as Germany, but without letting the opposition score.
There’s heaps of legendary matches to take on, all of which vary in difficulty depending on the target requirements. Championship mode offers a collection of cups to win; Africa Cup, Asia Cup, American Cup, Europe Cup, and of course, the fabled World Cup. Much to be expected, these cups vary in length and are broken down into tournament brackets that you’ll work through until you stand victorious. You can indeed tweak some match settings at the beginning of each cup, including difficulty, match time, and turning on/off super shots.
The teams that you can choose from come with their own stats, varying speed, defense, attack, and stamina. Once you’ve selected your team, you’re then able to alter your team’s formation – allowing you to setup positions however you see fit. Outside of that, you can equip what’s known as stickers. The game offers a small bundle of stickers to begin with, but the majority of them will need to be unlocked via fulfilling set requirements. Most of these you’ll unlock through natural play, but a number of them are tied to very specific wins.
For instance, one sticker that enables your midfielders to run faster can be earned by simply beating the Europe Cup, whereas others, such as bonus endurance for your attackers, will unlock if you beat the America Cup with Peru. I suppose that on one hand, this encourages the player to experiment with the teams within, though in honesty, I didn’t really feel too compelled to run cups again with alternate teams. Still, the sticker system does add a nice twist to the fields of play. You’re free to equip a total of four varying stickers per-match.
Stickers, as alluded to above, are separated by category; special, defense, attack, and midfield. Players are allowed to equip just one special sticker, and then three stickers of their choosing thereafter. I had quite a lot of fun experimenting with different stickers, oftentimes switching out my current stickers to play on my strengths and exploit my opponent’s weaknesses. It’s a crying shame, then, that once you get to the nitty-gritty, Legendary Eleven’s issues become frustratingly awkward and a bit tough to overlook.
First and foremost, screen tear galore. Never have I played a game with as much screen tearing as this. It doesn’t matter whether you’re setting up an attacker with a long kick, or dribbling past a nearby opponent, the screen will tear and often break immersion. This, above all else, needs fixing if Legendary Eleven is to stand any chance as a long enjoyed experience. The frequency of the game’s screen tearing is nauseating to say the least, and cost me a match through sheer distraction, many a time. Then, there’s the game’s bugs.
Whilst the gameplay itself is on point, the AI could do with some work. Do you enjoy a goalkeeper that dives away from the ball? Or perhaps a defender that likes to score goals in your own net? Maybe you like the idea of a football that acts as though it’s got flubber covered on it? Well, Legendary Eleven is certainly for you. Don’t get me wrong, these problems are infrequent, but when they occur, it’s irritating enough to want to turn the game off, permanently. Yes, I get that this is arcade fun, but even so, it lacks refinement.
Hopefully the developer can address these issues before too long, because much like the screen tearing, I suspect that these problems will chase away many that invest in it. What I will say in favor of the game is that it’s very easy to pick up and play, lending it a good degree of accessibility as a result. Movement and sprint is tethered to the left stick and RT, respectively. Your special action is tied to LT, whereas the rest of your commands are mapped to the controller’s face buttons; A, X, Y, and B. It’s all very easy to digest and follow.
It helps, of course, that each of the game’s actions are well laid out and function appropriately. Tapping Y will allow you to pass through, with X enabling you to dribble and steal the ball. Sliding tackles, long passing and shooting is achieved through the B button, with short passes and a character switch, tied to A. This layout allows for some truly fluid and empowering moments, even if, like me, you’re not a veteran as far as football games are concerned. I found myself setting up some cracking moments, even in my first game.
Long passing from my goalkeeper to my midfielders, and then setting up my attackers with an overhead kick to score a swift goal, never got old. Thanks to how easy it is to set your team up, there’s no shortage of outlandish ways that you can go on to win each match. Whether you’re putting in a power shot from a corner kick, or dribbling past an opponent and then charge kicking the ball from a great range, you’ll find the arcade nature of Legendary Eleven dominant throughout, which for me, was the game’s greatest aspect.
There’s some drawbacks, mind. There doesn’t appear to be a good countermeasure to power shots, meaning that if you find an attacker near your goal, the only real means of defense is to frantically hit X to steal the ball, or slide attack to send your opponent flying. The problem this generates is that the referee seems to hand out free kicks like there’s no tomorrow, and there’s just a complete lack of consistency as to when he will do this. Going from what I could tell, it was all randomly selected, which removes a layer of solidity.
In the grand scheme of things, this is easy to overlook. Though, I question why the need for a sliding tackle, when you’re penalized for it nine times out of ten. Regardless, the gameplay foundation is just about fun enough to get a pass, and should the developer fix the aforementioned issues, Legendary Eleven could last quite a stretch. Free kicks near the penalty box and taking corner kicks are well laid out, requiring you to time your shots to a decreasing circle at just the right moment to get the most out of your shot. It works well.
I appreciated the fact that players on the pitch will tire eventually, to which you’re free to swap them out for substitutes; handy for when you tire a player out before the second half. You can also watch a replay of your games at any time during play, with some solid options present to re-witness your best moments. When all is said and done, Legendary Eleven may not be winning any awards any time soon, but it does achieve much of what it set out to accomplish. There’s roughly five hours worth of fun to be had in total, across all modes.
That being said, I wouldn’t come into the game expecting the thrills and excitement that FIFA or PES offer. This is, by and large, a game of chance – especially with its technical problems popping up at every opportunity, as well as its lack of fine tuning. Touching up on the game’s visuals, Legendary Eleven does well enough to stand tall. There’s just enough definition within, and a nice use of color variation to give the game an edge. Sadly, I cant say the same about its audio design, mostly relaying bland and generic cues from the get-go.
If you’re looking for accessible arcade fun, Legendary Eleven isn’t really a bad choice. The game’s field of play and its fairly robust features remain well set for the most part, allowing even newcomers to sink right in and score some outlandish, memorable feats. Unfortunately, however, the game’s bugs, its technical issues, and its constant screen tearing, massively holds it back from greatness in the long run. Wait for fixes.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.