A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the highlight of this exciting, unrealistic sports game is the story mode, which features real soccer stars Pele and Mia Hamm running a castle-like school for budding sports stars. Academy of Champions Soccer is as much a fantasy as any of the Mario sports games, in that supernatural settngs and special powers come into play. Children looking for a realistic sports sim will be disappointed, but those simply looking for an engaging tale based around sports action will find a lot to get excited about. The game does allow you to unlock characters from other Ubisoft games to play soccer, but it seems like a disconnect when some are from M-rated games like Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell.
What's it about?
ACADEMY OF CHAMPIONS SOCCER tells the story of a young soccer fanatic who gets a Golden Ticket offer to start school at Pele's school for gifted athletes. The school looks more like Hogwarts than any sports camp you might envision and that's in keeping with the almost-magical soccer skills children can learn there. Through the course of a full school career, the player will make friends, build a team, undergo a lot of practice drills, and compete in loads of matches to earn a spot in the Championship Tournament against the villainous soccer brutes from rival academy, Scythemore. Games are played on fantasy-inspired fields that may be loaded with Greek ruins or Amazon jungle trappings.
Is it any good?
The career mode of Academy of Champions Soccer is as much a plot-driven role-playing game as it is a sports simulation. Following your characters progress from his or her first day of school all the way to the final championship game of the last term is actually rather riveting. Along the way you build friendships and rivalries. You'll come to know and like some of the supporting characters just as much (if not more) than your hero. The experience point system allows you to keep building your character's skills even if you're not doing well in the beginning -- which makes your chances of actually finishing the game all the better.
The ability to unlock and recruit secret characters from other UbiSoft games will mostly appeal to older kids, given that several of those characters are heroes from M-rated games like Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell to name a few. But the regular student characters should have enough personality to please most. The soccer games themselves are kept short (usually 8 minutes) to keep the pace moving nicely, and magical special moves add a nice touch of fantasy action.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of practice. Why is it important not to get discouraged if you don't excel at something right away? How do famous athletes rise to the level of fame thay have? Do they earn it through hard work?
Parents can also discuss good sportsmanship. Is being a good winner as important as not being a sore loser?
The teams in Academy of Champions have a good gender mix. What is the benefit of playing co-ed sports?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.