This is not your typical football game. Captain Tsubasa feels like it has taken the best bits of Football Manager and reworked them into a Japanese-style role playing game.
Yes, you play games of football and manage and improve your team as you might expect from something like FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode, but layer in a cast of colourful characters, plentiful melodrama and a ton of exuberant manga-style visual flourishes and you’ve got a refreshingly different kind of kickabout.
Pick your team, dive into a match and you’ll quickly discover each game is won or lost in the little battles that occur all over the pitch, just like an RPG. If your attacker is taking on one (or more) defenders, you’ll have to choose whether they should try and dribble by, pass, try a one-two or just have a crack at goal – they’ll succeed depending on that players’ strengths and weaknesses compared to their opponent, alongside other factors like stamina and overall team momentum.
The Story Mode contains a ton of over-the-top storytelling on top of these solid mechanics, but if you’re feeling brave there’s also competitive multiplayer in the League and Online modes.
With the storylines, depth and nuance you’d expect from a large-scale Japanese RPG, Captain Tsubasa’s unusual interpretation of the beautiful game will be best enjoyed by players looking for extravagant storylines, surprisingly tactical play and, most of all, retro-style taste of Japanese game culture.