Lords of Football Review
Lords of Football is a Football Management/Simulation game and It is developed by Geniaware, for whom this is their first title. It is something we haven’t seen before by placing you in “God Mode”. You take over as manager of your chosen club, and it’s your job to manage the team, set the tactics and training, but you must also manage your players when they leave the training ground to ensure they stay on top of their game.
The ultimate aim is to take your club to the European final, and win it! However once this is achieved, you can still continue playing. Game Over only occurs when you finish bottom of the second division.
In Lords of Football, there is currently 5 countries to choose from: England, Spain, Italy, France and Germany. Whatever nation you choose, you will have the top two tiers to choose from. Unfortunately, all the club names are fictional, however you can work out who is who. Once you select your team, you get the opportunity to change your clubs name, kit and player names. At present, it is not possible to edit other teams, however the database is planned to be released to us in the future. I chose Southampton Saints, and spent several minutes making the players mimic their real life counterparts, even if the only similarity is the player name. You can’t edit players appearance, skin colour or traits.
When choosing a team, you will notice that each team has a difficulty rating. Picking a top team in the first division is easier than picking a team in the second since you start off with better players. Each team is judged on a 5 star rating which indicates how good the team is. 5 stars being world class, while 1 star teams will need a lot of work, and generally offer you more of a challenge as well as a long-term project. But the problem there is how “long-term” can you make Lords of Football? In it’s current state, it still needs more depth. The first few days I was glued to my laptop, however now I am starting to get slightly bored of the same old routine. You take training, then you see your players out in the town, dropping them to and from locations, then its match day. Repeat process. You could argue Football Manager is no different, but there is more on offer there to make each day different to the last, not to mention there is more for you to “manage”. It’s a wonderful concept, but it needs some fleshing out.
There are different phases in Lords of Football. The City Life, which includes your training during the day, and then the night-life out in the town. The other phase is match day, where of course you play out your fixtures. The two phases alternate between each other. It is essentially one day training, one match day, one day training, one match day and so on. While this system does work fairly well, there is no pause option for City Life. This leaves you feeling rushed, and can be a challenge getting the appropriate data to ensure you give the players the best training for them. There is a lot to be absorbed, but most the time the information takes too much time to find to make it worthwhile.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking training. At your training ground, you have a number of different buildings available to you, all of which will get upgraded as you complete your presidents challenges. The upgrades allow you to hold more exercises as well as unlocking new ones. In LoF, there are three key areas to train. Technical, Physical and Mental. Technical training takes place on the main pitch. Here you can hold passing exercise, finishing, set pieces, possession training etc. All the things you could want to improve is on offer. If you want to improve players physical abilities, you can send them to the gymnasium, or send them out to the running track. Again different exercise and routines can be choose from. In the locker room is a classroom, where you can improve players mental abilities, such as determination and leadership. At the training ground you will also find a clinic, where you can send addicted players to get “clean”, the Main Office where you can view the transfer market, league fixtures, standing etc, and the treatment room from which you can help increase injury recovery by providing treatment, or massaging tired players to get their fitness back.
What I love about Lords of Football is that you see all of this taking place in a rich 3D environment. You can zoom into each building to see what is going on. Check into the clinic and you will see your players discussing their issues, head into the main office and you will see the club president making phone calls and working hard. The staff for each building can be seen drinking, working and treating players. There is a lot of detail which has gone into the small things. Its also easy enough to move your players around. Simply click on one player, drag and drop him to where you want him to go.
Once training hours come to an end, your players will head out on the town. There are several buildings they will go to, each offering different activities and possible addictions. If a player keeps going to the same activity, they will become addicted. Buildings which are on offer include the Casino, Pub, Restaurant, Fan Club, Radio Tower and Nightclub. You must monitor your players and make sure they have a varied night, or they will become addicted. This has a negative effect and lowers their abilities, meaning they perform less. They will also occasionally bunk off training to pursue their addiction. Unfortunately, its hard to see what exactly a player is addicted too. There is no clear filter, and the lack of a pause button has really prevented me looking into it more. More activities and buildings on offer would also have been great to keep things interesting. It gets pretty boring seeing the same activities day in, day out. It would also have been great to see players improving their relationships with each other or getting snapped by the media.
When match day comes around, there is a nice selection of tactics, and can be very in-depth. There are different tactics you can employ depending on your opponents. I have had a good experience with the tactical editor so far. It feels like your decisions do have an impact on the match. However at times it can feel too easy. In my current season, I haven’t lost so far to the “top 4″ teams after playing them all, and I am sitting in a comfortable 5th position with a 2.5 star team. I would really have to play with another team with different tactics to see if I just got the most out of my players with my tactics, or if it is just too easy. For a fairly small team, the match engine isn’t that bad. There are obvious issues – players constantly sliding and missing, over hitting a 5 yard pass and missing numerous easy chances. But for their first match engine, they have done a very good job.
Lords of Football is a game with so much potential. All the core concepts and features are there, and it’s great to see a new take on the Football Management genre. I found myself enjoying it massively at the start, but as time went on I found myself wishing this and that was added, or that was more in-depth. It can get repetitive doing the same actions and watching the same routines time in and time out, but Lords of Football is a solid game and has a bright future ahead of it if they continue to develop it. I wanted to have more control on how my club developed, the facilities and finances. A much improved transfer market and to have your own avatar around the training ground would be great.
For any football fan, I would recommend this. If however you were expecting a game with the in-depth of Football Manager, and the lifestyle simulation of the Sims, then you will be left disappointed.
Published by Stephen Jackson