Football Drama is the latest game by Italian developer Open Lab Games. An Attempt to take the tried and tested genre of Football Manager and add a deep, philosophical narrative…unfortunately it fails on all fronts.
First up, the narrative element of Fottbal Drama makes absolutely no sense. The story unfolds like some French art-house film with disjointed conversations, non-sensical interactions and unformed characters.
You take on the role of Rocco Galliano, the existentially troubled manager of a struggling football team. If you avoid the axe you could win the championship, understand what is football, retire at the French Riviera, end up in jail, or who knows what else!
The problem is the story makes no sense, the interactions give you no reason to become invested in the characters and the narrative is so obscure and disjointed you won’t even care.
With the narrative out of the way, we can jump into the football manager aspect of the gameplay. Well, we could…except there isn’t one.
Seriously, the football management side of the game basically boils down to you pressing one of two buttons every 10 seconds during a match. Control either sees you hold possession and remain in the area of the pitch you are on or lose possession.
The other button, Risk, sees you move up the pitch, or lose possession. The difference between the two is that whilst Risk moves you further towards the opposition goal it also increases your “strain” meter. And when I say increase we are talking by about 20%. Get over 50% strain and you can only use control until the strain meter as dropped below 50%.
The problem with this mechanic is that whilst Risk puts your strain up by 20% each time, Control only brings your strain down by about 4 or 5 % so every move forward is then proceeded by 4or 5 turns of hoping you don’t lose possession.
The only other option you have in a game is to use one of the 5 cards you pre-select before the match to help turn the tide. Cards that have specific instructions like “corners and free kicks”, “Ariel Attacks” and even “Start a Player Brawl”
The problem is they don’t actually do anything. One game I played the “free kicks” card, waited a couple of turns to be told it was successful, then continued the rest of the match without any free kicks at all. You quickly get the impression that nothing you do really affects anything.
Before the match, training consists of picking a card and seeing what stats it upgrades. The usually stats are there like attack, midfield etc as well as stats such as Karma and Chaos… I have no idea what they do or what they stand for. Honestly, by this point in the game, I can’t be bothered to find out.
The idea of adding a deep, rich narrative to a football manager game really intrigued me. Unfortunately, Football Drama fails to bring either component so fails miserably.
I am trying to be kind in this review as I am sure a lot of work, time and effort have gone into creating Football Drama but the end result is so tedious I can’t even give it a score.