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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
It takes practice, training, and hard work to get good at something. Natural talent will only get you so far.
Positive Role Models
Some of the students you'll be able to recruit as teammates have some kind of personality issue—a big ego, a bad temper, etc. But you can win them over. In general, the kids at the Academy exhibit great spirit, teamwork, and willingness to work hard for their goals.
Ease of Play
The game is pretty challenging. If you can't start winning games right away, you're given the opportunity to practice a lot and rack up experience points to get better. The controls scheme is very easy to learn and remember.
Violence & Scariness
Players on defense can "tackle" their opponents, which means sliding or diving at them. This sometimes makes the person being tackled fall over. Some characters can perform a magical tackle that makes them spin like a tornado and knock people down.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There is one boy who will only join your team if it has enough girls on it. There's nothing lewd about it, though.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.