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Sensible Soccer

With its speedy action and cartoon visuals, Sensible Soccer - Sensi to friends - is the anti-Pro Evo, and the nemesis of realism. It's not about simulating weight-perfect Premiership counter-attacking cross balls, it's about 35 yard goal-thwackers that bend like squashed bananas.

Fifteen years after the original, the veteran footie game is returning for PS2, Xbox and PC this June as an antidote to "dull, drab sims", according to the creator of the series. But Pro Evolution Soccer is no yawn-fest, so we went hands-on with the refreshed Sensible Soccer to see how it fares against the competition.

The emphasis is on scorchingly fast football, and this new Sensible Soccer holds on to the characteristic angled, top-down camera to give you a clearer view as the ball pings around the pitch. The view zooms in and out during the action, but right now that's the only camera option. It works fine, but occasionally turns a bit queasy during especially swift manoeuvres.

But you don't get to appreciate the nicely cartoonified players when the camera's taking in the whole field, and the cel-shaded look is only really obvious during replays. The 350-odd teams look fairly similar up close, but from a distance there's no personality left at all. Fortunately, what it lacks in recognisable faces, Sensi makes up for in instantly snappy gameplay.

Sensible Soccer is a stripped-down, streamlined, greased-weasel-in-water of a game. The offside rule is enforced - unlike previous Sensi games - and you can head the ball, but that's as complex as it gets. The controls are simple, with one button sending your player into a sprint, another performing a pass to a team mate and two more buttons hoofing the ball skywards.

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