Academy of Champions: Soccer – WII – Preview

Academy of Champions: Soccer is an
upcoming Wii-exclusive soccer game from Ubisoft. The game puts players in a
school-like setting where they’ll mingle with other players, training to become
soccer greats. The game features light-hearted graphics and feel, as well as
some solid on the field soccer mechanics that will please many soccer fans.

Academy of Champions features Pele,
soccer superstar extraordinaire, as an “Obi-Wan” character of sorts, the
Headmaster of the Academy. Under his tutelage (which emphasizes the idea of
teamwork and passing over personal glory), you’ll go through 4 terms at the
Academy, in which you’ll train, interact with other students, and play a lot of
matches. You’ll have the ability to take your team of five to glory either by
training them to be successful on the pitch or trade around to get the best team

The game’s training sims are quite
fun, and one of them will use the Wii Balance Board. In this drill, you’ll be
able to improve your ball handling by shifting and leaning around on the Balance
Board in order to roll the ball around your shoulders and neck and balance it in
order to gain points. You can juggle the ball between your feet and your head
and shoulders quite easily, but maintaining balance and rolling the ball
requires some concentration. Additionally the game will use the Wii Motion Plus
add-on. Using it, you’ll be able to alter the trajectory of the ball in mid air
and also perform dodges.

The on-pitch gameplay is very solid
and responsive, while being very accessible to newcomers. The game uses a pretty
arcadey approach that gives you a variety of special moves. As you play well,
you’ll earn points that go towards your special meter, which can then be used by
shaking the Wii remote up and down in order to pull off some hard to block shots
on your opponent’s goal. Often, you’ll have to jostle for the ball with your
opponents, at which point the game goes through a mini-game where you have to
perform the right action on the screen in order to win the jostle.

Outside of the 4 term story mode,
you’ll be able to play quick matches as one of 18 teams, some of which have to
be unlocked. While many of the teams are tied into the game’s story mode, there
are some (like a team of Rabbids) that are just for fun. The best team in the
game is the Ubisoft FC, which is composed of popular characters from the Ubisoft
universe, including Rayman, Sam Fisher, Altair and so on. The game also boasts
some pretty cool environments. Using a system called “environmation”, the
pitches will become more detailed and elaborately decorated the more goals that
are scored.

Academy of Champions is shaping up
to be a very fun and accessible soccer game, as well as one that should offer a
ton of variety for Wii-owning footie fans.