N-Gage Review: Marcel Desailly Pro Soccer

Releasing a soccer title in the US is tough. We already see FIFA and Winning Eleven on a yearly basis, so any other competition is lost between that struggle for supremacy. In the N-Gage domain though, that dual-company struggle doesn't exist, and FIFA is the only other title alongside Marcel Desailly Pro Soccer.

With that, it's easy to take Desailly's Gameloft-developed soccer title as nothing more than a quick play. It's surprisingly deep and enjoyable however, at least off the field. The career mode offers the depth you're looking for, putting you in charge of a low level squad and the task of moving them up by signing new stars with points earned from victories. The other modes, aside from friendly matches, offer a variety of tournament style games to try out.

While it may seem daunting, the plethora of face buttons on the N-Gage provides action on the field with plenty of moves and detail. It can be hard to manage it all on the field, as you're usually just thinking "shoot and pass." Desailly doesn't take that route, instead providing various types of passes and ways to push the ball into the net. Different keys will even change the way you handle the ball when it's in the air.

That could be the reason this game is so laboriously paced, to give the player time to react appropriately. Some will find it realistic, and others will wonder if the cleats are digging too deep into the turf. Even with the assistance of the turbo button, these players refuse to give it their all when taking the ball downfield. It's frustrating, and the controls feel sluggish without a way to speed up the gameplay.

It's not the hardware. Goal kicks soar across the field, and the zoomed in viewpoint of the action doesn't offer anything to cause hardware slowdown. The sprite-based players look great, but the limited animation gives the game an arcade feel. There's no need to stop and turn here. The barren player physics don't offer that needed piece of the game.

Desailly Pro Soccer does offer some decent soccer given the limited selection of the console. Still, it's hard to get involved in a game this slow. A few die-hard fans of the sport will find this engrossing, while the rest will stick with familiar ground in FIFA.

(*** out of *****)

Comments (1)

oliver:

I keep meaning to give this one another go. As of now Fifa 05 is my go to.

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