It releases with a robust 32 teams from three North American countries, player editor, team editor, and four ways to play. In exhibition mode, players can choose to compete against the AI, go up against a human opponent in a local matchup, or take on the AI from the sidelines in Coach mode. Additionally, players can choose not to pick up the controller, and can sit back and watch the AI battle it out in Spectate mode. There is a surprisingly deep franchise mode included in the game as well.
Franchise mode is where the game shines most. In franchise mode, players not only take control of the action on the field, but also in the front office. Players are tasked with filling the role of the General Manager for their team, making trades, re-signing players, signing free agents, and drafting college players, all in a quest to build a championship contending team.
Players will also be in charge of managing their teams’ finances, so finding a balance between having great players and making a profit is its own game within the game. The game also shines in the sheer number and variety of plays and formations it offers. Going from seven formations and 112 plays in its 2017 iteration to more than 1000 plays in 40 formations is huge.
The controls for the game are also done fairly well. Playing with the icons on in the passing game will feel familiar to players who have played other football titles. More advanced players can choose to utilize an aiming system or pushing the thumbstick in the direction of the receiver. Using the aiming system or the stick push system provided more of a challenge and required a steep learning curve.
The level of customization for this title is also quite extensive. Players can customize team names and locations, players, uniforms, and weather. The uniform creation is the most extensive of the creation tools, providing players with a multitude of colors, fonts, and other design options to make their team unique.
While the game has some fantastic qualities to it, it is not without glaring problems. The in game commentating feels off and at times forced. It is understandable that the commentators would not be programmed to say every state/province or city, or to be able to state the name of anything a player can come up with to name their team. However, too often, the commentator would refer to the teams as simply “the home team” or “the away team”, and it would sound as if he wanted to say the team’s name, but had to read the script.
The audio on tackles is also lacking, as it just doesn’t sound convincing, nor are they felt with any feedback to the controller. Football is a violent sport, and bone crunching hits are part of the game. The hits in this game unfortunately fall flat.
Graphically, overall, the game looks descent. Player models are generic, which is to be expected as this is not a licensed product, and the players are not real. Most of the graphic issues with the game do not lie within what is there, but with what is absent. In the options menu, players can choose to have sideline players and cheerleaders either turned off or on. Regardless of your choice, the sidelines look barren. This extends past the sidelines and into the stadium seats as well. Crowds are flat and fail to bring the stadium to life.
Overall, Axis Football 2018 is an enjoyable game for both casual football fans and for those with more extensive knowledge of the sport. While not quite ready for the big leagues, it is not sitting at the table with the pretenders either. A good game that could see a glass slipper down the line.
SHOULD YOU BUY AXIS FOOTBALL 2018?
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Axis Football 2018 is available now on Steam and Xbox One for $19.99 US. A Playstation 4 version has been announced but no release information has been given at this time.
A review code for Axis Football 2018 on Xbox One was provided by Axis Games.