I’m not a big sports guy. I’ll just get that out and established in the opening here. Never really have been much for sports games. My experience with soccer games includes an impulse purchase of a discounted World Cup game on PS2 and almost always alcohol. I do, however, love 80s anime and know much more about that subject than I do the beautiful game. (<- this means soccer. See, I learned stuff!)

What does one get when combining the world’s most popular sport with the stylized and dynamic intensity of something similar to Dragon Ball Z? What happens to soccer when anime dudes are the ones playing? Who is the marvelous bastard who dreamt all this up? I have so many questions, but the important one was answered: is this game as cool as it looks? No. It is way, way cooler than it looks.

While soccer game purists might find the core sports mechanics a little bare-bones, this game makes it clear that it’s not a simulation kinda game. You got yer Fifa for that. Nay, I can think of no other game where a player can break free in a stunning move of trickery, haul ass down the yon field and kick a fire energy tiger powered shot at the poor goalie, tearing and burning the turf asunder in its might.

I don’t remember asking for this game, but it’s quickly become a game I never knew I needed. It’s fun, easy to learn, miles deeper than similar anime adaption titles, and exciting to watch and play.

The crazy, powered-up gameplay is great, but if that weren’t enough, the two-story modes are surprisingly engaging. If you aren’t familiar with the anime or manga, the story bits will make you curious as the story builds hype and tension well. You run middle-school soccer savant Tsubasa and his teammates through the MS championship tournament to victory, then you create a kid and head off to a best in the world of (middle school) soccer!

You can interact with and befriend the other kids from your team as well as your adversaries, learning equipable moves and skills in the process. There’s something over 3000 of them, and a lot of the moves are spectacular. Watching one of the twins boost the other sky high to headbutt the ball with meteoric force is why I’m here, and that’s just one of the crazy moves to learn.

All the cosmetic stuff like create a character part and clothing can be either purchased with real money or by playing the game as normal. It never makes paying money that much easier than unlocking it all for free. I haven’t spent a dime and have nearly all the purchasable items without any grinding. Nice to see a little bit of the old way of unlocking stuff in our DLC heavy present day.

Either way, some words, and pictures ain’t doing this game justice. You really do have to play it. I really don’t do sports games, but this one has grown roots in the PS4. Melty Blood just came out and I LOVE that game, but I still find myself coming back to Tsubasa for a game or two. I know it sounds weird. I know it might not be your thing…but give Captain Tsubasa a chance to blow yer mind. I did and it worked out. Score one for weird genre mashups!

Captain Tsubasa: Rise of Champions property of Namco/Bandai and Shueisha

All screenshots were taken by me via PS4