A football team, inexplicably lead by Steven Gerrard, leaves the pitch after a gutting loss. Gerrard texts the opposition: "We were robbed! Rematch. Anywhere. No referee. SG".
And that's the basis of Pure Football. Five-a-side teams meet out of hours and crunch into the back of the opposition without consequence, tipping each game towards end-to-end action and scoring goals.
Similar to FIFA or PES, passes, shots, long balls and through balls are mapped on to A, B, X and Y. The difference is that a shot, penalty, corner or cross uses a gauge with green, orange and red sections, which determines whether you'll hit the ball on target or wayward. A small section of the gauge is white - hit it and you'll get a 'Pure' hit, which slows everything down with blurry effects.
Sounds exciting, doesn't it? Well it's not. These are unofficial grudge matches, where crowds and commentary are replaced with intermittent cockney shouts and percussive music, causing a total lack of atmosphere. You get a flashy, animated backdrop when you score, with a totally ridiculous phrase such as "Goal Pie" punctuating the finish. But with the keeper AI often brain-dead, hitting the back of the net becomes so routine that it doesn't feel like an achievement. It barely even makes you feel pleased.
We like the accuracy gauge; it may not be a groundbreaking system but it does suit the pick-up-and-play angle. However, the fact that a 'Pure' shot doesn't actually seem to guarantee a goal any more than a 'green' shot makes you wonder why they exist at all. Likewise with the skill moves: where FIFA Street allowed real flair with its Parkour-infused skills, Pure offers a limited set that wouldn't even outwit the Wembley groundsmen.
And the 'no referee' thing isn't strictly true. Replacing human officials is some omnipresent entity that allows you to commit a certain number of career-ending tackles but keeps a tally with a foul meter and awards a penalty when it's full - regardless of position or whether you got the ball. It's like having a bi-polar referee who flips between a Sunday League volunteer dad and Pierluigi Collina.
Pure Football is dull and light on features. The campaign sees you climb the ranks as captain of a new team but repeatedly drags you through a narrow selection of match types. The almost cartoon-like presentation is pleasing enough, and there are hints of some good ideas and moments of entertainment when playing a friend. But the notion of no-holds-barred football has been done before and better. This particular vision lacks any sense of occasion and its unbalanced semi-rules make for the most impure football we've seen to date.
Strips football down and takes its soul
- Fine for quick competition
- No atmosphere
- Unbalanced AI
- Repetitive matches
- Confusing take on refereeing