Dino Dini's Kick Off Revival is a special game. It now holds the award for the worst PS4 title I've ever played. I haven't played them all, but I've played a lot, and this clearly rushed, glitch-ridden mess of a game is the worst of the lot. If you have bought this, I'm sorry. If you haven't, please don't. It is the most cynical attempt to cash in on nostalgia I've ever seen, and Sony should probably be embarrassed it allowed the game to be released on its 'next-generation' games console.
I can understand the appeal of a retro football game. Modern sports titles are complex and pack in a lot of 'stuff' on top of the simple pleasure of kicking a ball about. Kick Off Revival is an overhead, simpler take on the beautiful game. The kind of game we all loved as kids (if you're old). But it's not what you want it to be. Kick Off Revival isn't retro. It's an ugly, awkward, broken game that is trying to hide all that behind the wonder of only needing a one-button control scheme. That one-button control scheme is utter bobbins.
The left analogue stick moves your little men around the pitch, with the amount it's pushed determining speed and also how much power is in your kicks. You can also hold down 'the button' (X) in order to hold onto the ball and strafe around the pitch like a Quake player. This sounds reasonable, but it's not. Running with the ball is almost impossible, and when you slow down to try and keep possession the opposition is there to dispossess you.
Trying to put together anything approaching a 'move' feels like wizardry, the ball so disconnected from your player's feet it might as well be on a different pitch entirely. On the odd occasion I did manage to string together a few passes and get a decent shot away, it felt like I'd sneezed and accidentally conjured the right spell rather than learnt how to be better. By using strafe you can knock the ball out of your feet and run onto it, and this allows some nuance to play, but it's a long way from being a tight control scheme.
Even if, and this is a big if, you can get hold of the controls and 'git gud' - and who knows, you might be able to if you can tolerate the awfulness for long enough - that won't cover over the glitches and hilarious (in a bad way) omissions. For one, there is no offside rule. Let that sink in for a moment. It's just not there. Players end up hanging about in the opposition's penalty box like they're having a kick around during break time at primary school. Goal hanging was shit then and it's shit now.
How about bookings? That's not an essential part of football, right? No point having those in a football game, especially when said game features the most violent and explosive slide tackles ever witnessed. Fair enough. You might forget bookings are a thing. What about the pitch having lines that when crossed trigger events? Like goals and corners? How about we forget about that if the keeper has the ball? Sorted. Why not let the goalie take the ball into his own goal, then kick the ball out directly into the post? Fine.
Set pieces are awful. AI is abysmal (a lot of the time the 'CPU' players just stand still, and their passing resembles a group of sunday league players trying to knock the ball around in the air like they're the Barcelona squad), there are no goal replays, goalies don't appear to be controllable during penalty kicks, players attempt to fuse into each other like they are the same person from different time zones trying to take up the same space in Timecop. The list could go on.
In terms of modes this is as barebones as it gets. You can play alone or against a friend against as a number of national teams. There's a quick and dirty European Cup mode that lets you play through a nightmare version of Euro 2016; a practice mode, which is frankly woeful; and online play that works. Which is good, I suppose.
Dino Dini's Kick Off Revival is a bad game. It's one of the few games I've played in recent years that I've had to demo to others, just so I know it's a real game. If you want a retro take on football, this is not it. If you want a retro take on how to make a terrible game, you're in luck.
Version Tested: PS4