I love football. I love the feeling of getting on a train to head to The Den, home of my team Millwall. I love the nerves I feel, not knowing which way the game will go. I love watching the drama play out in front of my eyes, talking about what worked and what different. Itís like nothing else.
However my enthusiasm for the sport falls short of Arion Sherwind, the lead protagonist in Inazuma Eleven Go
. You see, Football saved his life. Not like a reformed offender finding a new path within the beautiful game, it literally saved his life when a plank of wood was about to fall on his head and someone kicked a football at it before if flattened him.
That will give you an indication of what you should expect going into this game. It makes no attempt to set itself within the realms of reality. In fact it goes out of itís way to distance itself from the sport loved around the world.
Ten years have passed since the events of Inazuma Eleven 3 and football has gotten completely out of control. Schools are now dependent on their football teams to survive and in order to make sure no schools go under the Fifth Sector (the gameís version of the Football Association) have stepped in.
Somehow the Fifth Sector are even more evil than the real F.A. and their solution to the problem is to regulate games. Everything is staged, from results to scores and anyone that goes against orders will be punished.
When Arion joins Raimon Football Club and finds out the truth behind the sport he is outraged and sets out to put things right because lets face it no one wants to watch a pretend sport with predetermined results. Whatís the point in that? Itís stupid.
Arion has a tough job ahead of him. Team mates are falling out with one another, the Fifth Sector is trying everything they can to ruin Arionís plans and even the clubís chairman is against you. But he has enough enthusiasm to knock cynics aside and change the sport forever.
The best thing about the plot is the consistent tone. It starts off crazy, ends crazy and has spades of crazy in between. From a teamís fighting spirit being a spirit a player can summon to fight alongside them to lines like ďYouíll making football sadĒ being screamed by characters, this game never takes itself too seriously and because of that itís really easy to fall in love with it.
It helps that the localisation is absolutely fantastic. Players have regionalised British accents and although often speak in cliches, theyíre usually funny enough to pull them off and the bizarre lines of dialogue that would be out of place and cringeworthy in most games are right at home here.
Coupled with some beautiful graphics the game oozes charm and keeps you interested enough to see it through to the end. Which is just as well because youíll tire of the repetitive gameplay long before the credits.
Thatís not to say that itís a bad game to play. It works as you'd expect it to for a Japanese RPG but never attempts to be anything more than that. Characters are fun to talk to but when you realise that most arenít worth talking to more than once youíre never encouraged to do anything but chase after the clearly sign posted next objective.
The lack of variety in this portion of the game starts to grate too. Fetch quest after fetch quest must be completed in order to continue the story and after a few hours of running about you feel as though thereís a missed opportunity to create a truly fun game.