Soccer, Tactics & Glory PS4 Review: The Underdog Game

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A set few franchises have a stranglehold on the soccer sim market in video games. Those who enjoy the thrill of the wonder goal turn to the likes of Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA for their fix, while the tactical end of the spectrum is dominated by Football Manager. Given the success and the financial clout of these gaming institutions, it’s hard to make a way in.

Nonetheless, the indie market is persisting. Kick and rush games inspired by Sensible Soccer can sometimes make a dent, such as the absurd humor of 2017’s divisive Behold the Kickmen, as small teams of creators try to fill the void of unrealistic fun that FIFA’s attempt at purity has left behind. For strategy fans, one title that attempted to do something different was Football, Tactics & Glory.

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Initially released on PC, Football, Tactics & Glory (or Soccer, Tactics & Glory in North America) was an interesting genre hybrid. Combining football strategy with turn-based grid mechanics that wouldn’t feel out of place in Fire Emblem, this perhaps bizarre blend somehow managed to work. Now, the game has expanded into the console space as well.

Soccer Tactics and Glory Shot

In terms of pure gameplay, not a lot has changed from the initial PC release. The title still takes cues from beloved tabletop game Subbuteo in its approach, with the player taking turns to move their team around the pitch as they either attack or defend. With a set number of moves before the opposition takes control, it’s all about looking for ways not just to get ahead, but also to maintain control in a way that stops the other team from getting possession.

This plays into a solid risk and reward approach. When making any move, such as taking a shot or making a pass, the player is given the percentage chance of success much like XCOM. Do they go for the perilous chance to get ahead with an unlikely shot, or do they protect the ball, hope that they can keep possession, and get a player into a better position in their next round?

Something that helps is the player specialities system, with specific moves that can be completed to extend the players turn with extra moves. This might be a long pass or a lob, to allow users to have a bit of a different dimension to their play. This also adds some much-needed identity to the different players while also pushing users to be a little bit ambitious rather than playing it safe.

Soccer Tactics and Glory Penalty

That identity factor is an important one, too. Obviously Soccer, Tactics & Glory doesn’t have any of the official brands, player names or teams, instead relying on classic Pro Evo or Sensible Soccer name changes. It’s a little buzz of nostalgia for those who grew up playing footballing classics, although those who need authenticity will probably want to look elsewhere.

Soccer, Tactics & Glory works very well as a conversion to home consoles. Generally PC strategy games work well on consoles – a far cry from the situation a few years ago – with titles like Stellaris and Divinity: Original Sin proving that the genre isn’t permanently tied to a mouse and keyboard. This game is no exception, and it’s very easy to move about the grid and select the correct move.

In part that’s down to the simplicity of Soccer, Tactics & Glory. Those after a tactical experience akin to games like The Banner Saga won’t find what they’re looking for here, as the title tries to blur the lines between football tactics and wider strategy, and in the end that leaves the game feeling a little bit basic for long-term tactical fans. That does give the game the benefit of working even more seamlessly on console, due to the lack of in-depth options and menus, but it’s a hangover issue from the first game that hasn’t been addressed.

Soccer Tactics and Glory Lob

It’s not the only thing, either. The occasional awkward animations of the character models remain, which takes away from the feel somewhat, although the game still looks fine when it steers clear of close-ups. Perhaps the game would have been better suited by playing up to its retro roots with a focus on sprites rather than 3D models, but it’s an aesthetic choice rather than one of function.

Without any significant improvements, this is a structurally sound and enjoyable console port, rather than a total overhaul to make up for any earlier limitations. Players will still dive right into its short games, hustle their way through transfer windows, and enjoy luck-based tactical play as they try to turn their chosen team into footballing gods.

That’s where Soccer, Tactics & Glory sits overall. Those who played the game on PC won’t need to pick it up on PS4 or Xbox One, although those who really enjoyed it may be tempted by the Switch release for portability. As well as that, those who haven’t played Soccer, Tactics & Glory before and are intrigued by its premise could do far worse than picking it up for something a little bit different.

More: Rugby 20 Review – Tries Hard But Doesn’t Quite Convert

Soccer, Tactics & Glory is out now for PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. Screen Rant was provided with a PS4 download code for the purposes of this review.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5 (Very Good)

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About The Author

Rob Gordon is a writer and musician from Brighton, United Kingdom. A Creative Writing Masters graduate from the University of Exeter, Rob has his roots in fiction writing but also has extensive experience writing about video games and the video game industry. As well as this, Rob is at home with a focus on film and television, particularly when it comes to the realms of horror. Alongside his writing, Rob plays in two UK-based musical acts, the electro-pop band Palomino Club and rock band Titans & Kings, and also lends his vocal talents to the Big Boys Don’t Cry podcast, which reviews and discusses romantic comedies. The bands and the podcast can be found on all good digital distribution platforms, and Rob can also be found on Twitter.

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