The Captain Tsubasa anime series is a relatively new one, at least in its new form, a 2018 remake created in honour of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.  The first time I’d ever heard of this series, was with the announcement of its videogame adaptation Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions a football game with an over-the-top story and gameplay, one that you would expect from an anime series.  The main story tells the tale of a young and talented football by the name of Tsubasa Ozora, a boy that dreams of making it big as a world famous football player, but in order to do so, he must help lead his Nankatsu Middle School football team and his teammates to the regional and national championships, if he is ever going to fulfil his dream of playing on the world’s biggest stage.

If you can’t tell from its visual presentation, Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions is not your typical football game, so do not go in expecting anything like the Pro Evolution Soccer or FIFA series, other than this being a football game.  Although, gameplay does remind me a little of Neo Geo arcade classic, Super Sidekicks.  The gameplay is over-the-top and while it is football on a more basic level, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a challenge, as long as you play on anything from the normal difficulty and upwards.  The game will move at a fast pace, which can be an issue at times with the somewhat obscuring default camera angle.

Players have power-ups and special abilities, and when some of them are triggered, you’ll be greeted with an energetic cut-scene.  Mostly, I enjoy playing this game in small doses, as it doesn’t have that quick match feel in-between things, like you can with PES or FIFA, even though the game does offer exhibition matches.  The main reason being, is that you won’t always get that satisfying victory and scoring that out-of-nowhere spectacular, like you can in proper sports games.  This is because the opposing team’s goalkeeper essentially has a health bar of sorts, which you’ll need to wear down.

So while I think I’ve scored at least one fluky goal, in the most part you have to chip away at the goalkeeper, bringing down his bar, before unleashing a spectacular cut-scene triggered goal.  So in that respect, Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions doesn’t have the same feel of satisfaction when it comes to winning matches.  However, visually, despite seemingly not running at a totally, but respectable framerate, the visuals of Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions looks fantastic and seems to perfectly represent its anime counterpart during gameplay and presentation.

Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions has two main modes, as well as featuring both offline and online multiplayer.  The main mode is Episode: Tsubasa, which is a fixed storyline representative of the anime series, which has you plaything through Tsubasa Ozora’s journey to super stardom, coming up against rival teams, featuring opposing players that wants to win the national tournaments as much as Tsubasa Middle School.

The other mode is Episode: New Hero, which has you creating your very own player to represent one of three middle school teams, in their own story mode with multiple choice scenario’s and has you levelling up your created player as you progress through the ranks to be the best football team in the land.  Each of the modes features Japanese voice-overs with subtitles in English, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese.  So the game does catering for a variety of languages, despite voices being in one native language.  Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions, does also have a decent creation feature, allowing you to not only create your own team, but also players that you can level-up.

In conclusion, Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions is a decent, yet fun football game if you’re after an alternative to some of the mainstream options out there.  It won’t win any awards for sports game of the year, but if like me and you’ve never even watched the anime series (which I plan too at some point), there is still plenty of fun to be had with this game, perhaps even more so if you can play against friends for some over-the-top, silly football action.  Despite being far from perfect, it still wouldn’t surprise me if Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions gains a cult-like following as we close out this generation, from both fans and non-fans of the anime series.  If you can hold-out for the sales, and you can pick up this game at a discount, you might be pleasantly surprised by Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions.