As football games go, there is very little you can do wrong with them. My honest opinion is that because football is such a simple game to play, understand and watch, football video games should reflect that. Forget your sharp visuals, “flowing ball control” and your ultimate teams, just kick balls to your team mates and score goals from simple plays; in this age of remastering classics, why not bring such ones back like FIFA 98, ISS Pro Evolution or Kick Off? Well on second thought, perhaps the past should stay in the past as sometimes they can defecate on the loving memories it once created, and regrettably in this case it IS Kick Off, which isn’t so much a revival, more of an inhumane reawakening of a body that just hasn’t aged well.
Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival is exactly what the name suggests, a re-release of the 1989 classic franchise that finds itself transferred onto the PS4. The idea couldn’t be any skinnier, score goals and win matches competing against both the opposite team and the terribly difficult controls. Rather than sticking to the feet of your players, the ball will drift away with the faintest of touches, adding a splash of ‘realism’ and unholy annoyance. With only practice, start match & online modes to chose from, the set up of Dino Dini’s Kick Off Revival really is that simple, however it does nothing but hinder this once highly successful arcade classic as gamers really expect and deserve more than this. It’s all well and good bringing something back from a past generation, especially if it’s good enough to deserve a second run, but when the unveiled title is over priced, buggy and ultimately not as fun as you remember, you find a little part of your childhood has died a little. This is the best way to sum up Kick Off Revival.
With the original Kick Off titles featuring on machines that typically used a joystick, the controls made sense. Navigating through the pitch and swerving in-between slide tackles with a stick was challenging but worked tremendously well, the same however cannot be said using a PS4 controller, which is just challenging and terrible. I’m also not entirely sure how you play the game, which as stupid as it sounds you’ll quickly realise what I mean. I think all I press is X and I believe that does everything, but without keeping hold of the ball for a considerable amount I can’t be sure; I also believe I have to keep moving before I can kick the ball and hold X to have more control, but as I’ve said, I can’t keep hold of the ball long enough to find that out. For what appears to be a fun arcade title ready to entice it’s now elderly audience into picking it back up again, in 2016 it’s an awfully difficult game to enjoy never mind play. You can tell that Dino Dini has made an effort to keep this as retro as the original, however in doing so a lot of the charm and depth of what made the original so great has been removed. Gone are substitutes, red/yellow cards and players no longer get tired, not to mention the absence of any form of rules being put in place, making it a relatively pointless game to play if there are no repercussions for your actions.
Visually you can take it or leave it considering it’s more or less a re-release of a 27 year old football game, however what would have considerably improved this otherwise hugely disappointing title is if it had been completely rebuilt from the ground up, graphics and all. Considering track records, vintage titles returning to the 21st Century are much more appreciated if they appear to be genuinely from this time. Abe’s Odyssey: New N Tasty or Shadow Of The Beast for example, both of which were remade from scratch, still maintained the flavour of it’s predecessor and were all the better for it. Kick Off Revival may have been given a very slight HD face lift for it’s troubles, but really it’s nothing short of pointless, much like this “Revival” which instead seems to have brought back a half dead ex footballer rather than one that’s ready to play in the big leagues.