The Sports Desk – A Tactical View
I'm intrigued by soccer tactics, but many of the current titles out there deal with either the action or simulation end, whether it's playing FIFA or Football Manager. Football, Tactics & Glory (formerly known as simply Football Tactics), however, approaches the sport's strategy from a slightly different angle. The game is a top-down, grid-based title where careful moves on the pitch combine with team decisions off of it.
You take control of a top-flight team that, through circumstances, has been knocked all the way down to the amateur leagues. Your job is to bring the club back up to its former glory. There are fictional but recognizable clubs from around the globe as well as international teams. The key to the game is using your limited number of moves wisely – you usually get three moves per turn. Each half you'll really only have time to construct a few attacks (approximately seven turns a half), so like in real soccer, you have to make the most of your chances. Although gameplay is turn-based, opponents automatically defend during your turn when appropriate (as do yours), so even the best-laid plans can fall to a robust defense or a skilled individual.
Players have skills and attributes that give them a little something extra when it comes to conceiving and executing an attack. Layoff passes, curling Olympic Kicks, and slide tackles, among other skills, let your work with your teammates and produce individual moments of brilliance for goals.
On the team side of things, your club also has to contend with a youth system, transfers, and the task of building up its fanbase. I didn't spend a lot of time with some of these aspects of the title, but it was nice to see players' abilities rise after matches (which take only 15 minutes or so), and a new update for the game has added things like club history, player stats, player contracts, and more.
Football, Tactics & Glory may be a turn-based tactics title on a grid, but in my time with the game it doesn't strike me as an involved, full-blown tactics RPG, for instance. In fact, I was a little surprised when I first started playing it because I immediately started mapping out in my head my players' actions several turns in advance. However, the game is about manufacturing chances with the limited number of turns you have than orchestrating large-scale or holistic strategies. It's more about how do I get the ball back from this defender on the flank or stop an opponent from getting off a shot than organizing a counter-attack from midfield that utilizes your wingbacks while the forwards occupy the half spaces for intricate passing and movement to destabilize the defense back line, for instance.
Nevertheless, the game does give you satisfaction when your moves pay off in a goal, and Ukrainian developer Creoteam is still working on the game in advance of June 1, when the title moves out of Steam Early Access. Head over to the game's official Steam page for more info and to check out the demo if you're interested.
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MLB THE SHOW 18'S DIAMOND DYNASTY CHANGES
Recently MLB The Show 18 developer San Diego Studio made an important change to the game's Diamond Dynasty mode by easing the power of its souvenirs. Previously, items like team hats and jerseys – split into home and road distinctions – were turned in by players to help complete player programs. This inflated their value on the community marketplace and caused frustration since winning various games in the mode didn't always reward players with the specific souvenir they were looking for. Now the situation is eased somewhat by two changes: there is no specific home/road requirement, and souvenirs you don't need can be exchanged for packs of a particular souvenir type. The latter change won't get you an Indians jersey specifically, for instance, but it will let you trade in a handful of unwanted bobbleheads, duplicate souvenirs, etc. for a pack of jerseys. Even if the one you are looking for isn't in the exchange pack, the ones you open up other programs, at least giving you other options to explore.
I like the decision the developer has made for souvenirs. My only question is: Why was this a problem in the first place? Given that the introduction of souvenirs, their importance, and the somewhat linear progression of Diamond Dynasty's programs and missions, San Diego Studio had to have mapped out players' path through the mode during development. If they mapped it out, it must have been apparent that souvenirs were going to be the mode's choke point. It makes me cynically think that they shipped the game hoping that fans wouldn't mind how powerful souvenirs were, or planned to change things all along. While the change is obviously welcome, it doesn't help all those players who have been putting in the time and/or stubs to chase souvenirs up until this point nor their overall importance throughout the mode. Add in the fact that the game's servers haven't stabilized and fans are still losing progress in the mode, and Diamond Dynasty still isn't where it needs to be.
San Diego Studio says it plans more changes for souvenirs in Diamond Dynasty, as well as adding Team Epic programs – so hopefully the mode stabilizes and can be fulfilling in the short and long term.
A quick rundown of some of the sports news from the week
NBA Holds the First NBA 2K League Draft