Football Superstars is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online game where you live the life of a footballer on and off the pitch. We've recently revisited the game with a fresh preview as the game enters its second year online to see how the game has evolved...
Gummy ‘Gums’ Bear takes to the field for his first match, a newcomer to football with everything to prove. He has no skills yet, but his natty faux-hawk already makes him look the part.
The opposing team kicks off and Gums darts in, stealing the ball and rushing down the left flank. With opposing players hot on his heels, he crosses the ball into the centre, where it’s swiftly headed into the net by a teammate. The goal scorer gets the glory, but Gummy’s efforts throughout the rest of the game earn him Man of the Match.
After only a single game Football Superstars reveals the reason it remains so compelling: it nails the competition and the teamwork of football.
Where most football games put you in control of an entire team, Football Superstars works differently. As a free-to-play massively multiplayer game, you directly control a single footballer you create yourself. That means every other player on the pitch, goalkeeper excluded, is also controlled by another human.
This has two results. The first is that every successful pass feels satisfying because you’re not just fighting the other team, but working cooperatively to do it. The second is that you’re competing against not just your opponents, but also your own team’s players; for the money and experience that unlock new skills and equipment, and the fame points that let you live the lifestyle of a footballer.
After creating your character, you enter the game in a coastal city designed like a footballer’s Mecca. It’s there to give you everything you need to become a footballing legend.
There are training facilities, where computer controlled coaches teach you the game’s basics. Here you’ll learn how to control your player via the third-person perspective and first-person style controls to shoot, tackle and pass. It’s intuitive enough that you can pick it up right away, but an RPG skill system provides considerable depth with passive buffs and activated time-limited boosts. The first of these you’ll gain will give you basic dribbling abilities, letting you feint in one direction while quickly speeding around players in the other.
The city contains a gym where you can trade your money and XP to level up Agility, Speed, Spatial Awareness, Strength and Stamina. Gums didn’t need any skills or levelling to be immediately useful on the pitch in a Five-a-Side friendly, but both are essential if you’re going to compete in larger 11-a-side matches.
But Football Superstars aims to provide not just the on-the-pitch experience of being a footballer, but the lifestyle and celebrity as well. To do this you need to earn Fame Points, by buying fancy clothes (or penguin mascot suits) in the city’s many clothes shops, by drinking at trendy restaurants, and by trading experience for interviews with newspaper, radio and TV journalists.
Those earned Fame Points then dictate how much money you gain for each match, letting you go from poor Local Newcomer to wealthy Household Name and beyond.
While the game is free-to-play forever, experienced players who want to explore further can pay £5.99 a month for a Premium account that lets them create their own Player-Controlled Teams. The equivalent of a World of Warcraft guild, these teams place you as the manager of a football team of real human beings. You design the logo and strip. You choose the players. You promote players to coach, team captain, or scouts. You take on the world.
In the period leading up to the FIFA World Cup (25 days and counting) Football Superstars is offering an amazing offer of a lifetime Premium subscription for £39.99/$74.99, which also includes 100 Bonds and Reebok Valde boots. You'll have to be quick to make the most of the offer though - it ends the day the World Cup starts.
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