Oh lord won’t you buy me…
It’s safe to say that when it comes to football management titles, Football Manager is the king of its genre. However, there is a new contender ready to take its crown in the form of Geniaware’s Lords of Football. We were invited for a first look at the upcoming management game and shown the various elements that make Lords of Football a totally different experience to the likes of Football Manager.
In a nutshell, Lord of Football is a game that focuses on getting the right results on the football field, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. To kick things off, you pick a country and team that you want to take control of. The game doesn’t feature official licenses, but teams are easy to spot. To add to that, all kits and club crests can be edited with a huge amount of detail. Once you have selected the country, league and the team that you want to manage, you’re then thrown into your clubs virtual city that is equipped with a training pitch, gym, shops, restaurant, bars and other city landscapes. The whole look and feel to the design side of Lords of Football is very reminiscent of The Sims. The art side of the game is very clean and, from what we see, it’s very easy to work with. One of the first things we were shown was how you can use the training pitch to improve certain players at certain routines. By dragging players from a specific part of your virtual city, you can then place them on different sections of the training pitch with different regimes, be it to improve their passing, fitness or dribbling. It’s all done with a simple click of the mouse. Each players has a ‘statistic’ section that shows how good they are at one thing and how they might need improving in other aspects of their game. It’s down to you to improve each player, but to keep them happy at the same time. Your world also features a gym that can be used to keep the players fitness up to a maximum, or to improve on strength and agility.
You might wonder what we mean by “keeping the players happy”, and the answer to that question is easy enough. Lords of Football isn’t just about scoring and climbing your way to the top of the football pile. Each player has his own personality and traits, both of which you’ll have to keep an eye on. For example, you might have a player that is superb on the pitch, but drinks himself into an oblivion every night. The depth in terms of these extra curricular activities is very impressive, as you can put a player that has a drinking or gambling problem through a therapy session to improve his wellbeing. Do it too often though and he might come to resent you. It’s all about getting the balance right, and it’s your job to make sure that your players behave well off the pitch as well as on it. If they don’t then it could effect the whole club and disrupt all the hard work that you have put in. Another example is a player that has a huge ego and is always causing fights with other players. During our demo with the game, we witnessed this happen and with a click of the mouse we chose to punish him by giving him the task of cleaning boots. Again, this needs to be done in the right way, as too much and your player will become to hate you.
Just like Sims (a title Lords of Football could be compared to), your footballing virtual city never sleeps. Once the sun goes down, players go to restaurants, bars, parties and even dates. It’s your goal to make sure that the players behave themselves. The editing side of the game is huge, with you being allowed to change the theme of a bar to suit a certain player’s needs. Lords of Football is all about balance, and keeping that comes down to the choices you make. For example, you can train your players all day if you wish, but they might become tired and annoyed. On the other hand, if you’re too soft and send them home before midday, they might become lazy and disobedient. The game features a ‘level-up’ style system too, giving you an upgrade on your landmarks and stadium the better you do. For instance, if you control your team and do well in the league, you may receive an upgrade to improve your stadium and training facilities.
The footballing side of the game is very simple and straightforward too. While a 3D rendered match is taking place in front of you, you click on the screen with what you want a player to do or where you want the ball to go. We were shown a sequence that saw our winger being told to sprint down the touchline and then play the ball into the box for one of our strikers to pounce on. You can also aim exactly where you want the player to shoot. The same applies to passing and tackling too. This whole element is very interactive, giving the game an unique feel. The entire game is aimed towards being simple and easy to get into, but at the same time is seems to have a huge amount of depth too. There really is something for everyone here, If you fancy controlling not just a football team, but a whole club within a virtual city then you will be pleasantly surprised with what is on offer here.
Lords of Football has huge potential and, with it featuring a massive amount of depth, could be a title that really hits the back of the net and gives gamers another fantastic alternative to a standalone football management title. It was a genuine breath of fresh air and we’ll be keeping a very close eye on it prior to its eventual release.
Also, while we were at the show, we had the chance to interview Dwayne from the Lords of Football team. Keep an eye on the website for that, it should be available for your viewing pleasure very soon.