Life in the Brightfield Academy

Guest Review: Alan Carr

I started playing Academy of Champions for the Wii as a skeptic. I am a diehard sports video game enthusiast and this looked from the packaging as a kids game that just couldn’t live up to the more series soccer (football) titles like Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA.

And to be honest, Academy of Champions isn’t a title for the sports purest. But if you like a good story line and fun sports play then Academy of Champions is a title you should consider.

The Story is definitely designed for tweens the story placed you in a Academy somewhat inspired by Hogwarts is the Harry Potter series. It is run by soccer great Pelé in which you must learn new skills with mini-games, deal with high school issues like tests and rumors while taking your game to the pitch for matches against the unscrupulous cross-town rivals Scythemore.

The gameplay is quite a pleasant surprise. You will find a lot of challenges and minigames but none requiring too much effort to beat. The visuals are fun, colorful and cartoonish. Gameplay within this arcade-style soccer game is simple yet very satisfying. Ubisoft has included several rewarded features like great animations, music and surprises for scoring a goal. They have also included a solid roster of wacky guest characters from other Ubisoft franchises. A bit lacking in the multiplayer department this game is best experienced in solo mode.

I only have a few minor issues with this game.

The first is the player control. It felt like a throwback to games that only allowed players to move in 8 directions which makes for some awkward transitions. I expect more for any game designed in the last decade.

The Second is, given the basic camera view, opposing players tend to sneak up from behind you with no warning. This however, is overcome with time as you learn the pace of the game.

Third, like a lot of games these days, the Wii Balance Board seems like an afterthought – you only get to use it for one mini-game and it’s not worth the trouble. It was clearly added to the game as a marketing ploy and to get the Wii Balance Board logo on the package.

Lastly, given the number of scenes in the game, it accesses the Wii Disc often and which has you waiting for new scenes to load. Not a deal-breaker but a little annoying at times as we all would rather play than wait for the game to load.

Overall I recommend this game for anyone who likes arcade games or a sports fan willing to fall back to some old-school gameplay. Academy of Champions: Soccer is a pure delight with its whimsical atmosphere, storyline and challenging minigames. Enchanting and fanciful, it comes together nicely to keep the player’s interest for quite a few hours.

Feed Your Console gives Academy of Champions: an 8 out of 10.

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Vancouver