Inazuma Eleven Ares TGS 2018 Impression

A note before I begin: I am completely unfamiliar with any football videogame, much less the Inazuma Eleven franchise, but I did watch an episode of the anime in the hotel room a few days before the event, so I have some context for Inazuma Eleven Ares.

Ares cuts straight to the action with “Team Island” versus “Team Mountain,” and it almost immediately charmed me with how smoothly and engagingly it plays on the Switch. Players zip around the field with available passes drawn as lines from the player being controlled to other footballers, all done with simple quick stick flicks and button presses.

Tackling is a fun game of chicken where the action slows as the player can try to outguess the opponent’s direction or engage with over the top elemental-themed super moves. Three players sending to the ball to another realm with wind and ghosts as part of a steal is apparently a legal play in Japanese middle school footy. Shooting plays with a similar slow down to let players aim the ball and choose their shot, including similar displays of special effects. The end of the demo plays out rather quickly and there’s a lot of action and excitement present in what I was allowed to play during my time with the game.

Even with the language barrier, I found myself being charmed by the cast of outlandish characters on each team, especially the stubby guy and the ninja kid. My brief time with it has made me feel bad for sleeping on this franchise.

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