Football is incredibly serious and important. Every match is literally a matter of life or death. It is perfectly reasonable that a society should worship those who are good at it to God like levels and pay them wages around an average house price a week.
Naturally, this entirely healthy obsession has often been portrayed in gaming with the continuing Fifa series, PES/eFootball and Emlyn Hughes International Soccer. But none have reached the heights of Behold The Kickmen.
While it's claimed to be made by some with little to no interest or understanding of the game, it is immediately apparent that Behold The Kickmen distills the very essence of the sport in a way that the larger budget games can only dream to achieve.
First of all it rectifies the common error with the pitch shape and has you play on the regulation circular pitch. I can only assume licensing issues prevent Fifa from having a round play area instead of the rectangle they insist on sticking with. Nor does the ball go out, repelled as it should be by an invisible barrier, this means more time for feet to connect with balls, which is the whole point of the game after all.
The game gives you a tutorial section to learn the ins and outs of playing as a professional athlete and I would recommend giving it a go before the story mode. It'll give you a run down on passing, shooting, tackling, after touch and all those other things that football players can do thanks to expensive physiotherapy.
The meat of the game is the story mode which is suitably dramatic with an ongoing plot full of twists and turns with the inevitable rivalries that arise when you're playing football at a professional level. You start off at the bottom of the Big Boring British Spreadsheet and work your way up to the top, like arcade mode in Mortal Kombat but with more kicking.
Because you're starting off as novice team your players will be rubbish to start with, you won't be able to run or pass or do most of your fancy tricks. But as you win there'll be the chance to upgrade your players' abilities just like in real life when they get sponsorships. To further enhance your abilities you can spend cold hard cash, you get this from your fans.
When playing matches you'll want to impress the fans, footballs is all about the fans after all. So fancier play, more passes, nifty footwork and so on will build up a combo. You'll hear the fans go from booing and cries of boring to something resembling enthusiasm. But don't get complacent, you'll need to do a goal if you want to bank your combo and all that cash from the great unwashed. Holding the shoot button opens an expanding corridor you'll kick the ball down and gives you a little slow motion to help aim. Shoot from further out and you'll get more goals, just like 3 pointers in basketball. You can even get a kiss from the umpire.
Continuing Behold The Kickmen's absolutely rigorous attention to detail, offside can happen randomly through the match where you have to make sure you stay on one side of the pitch, extra time sees you collecting little pocket watches for extra time.
With its exciting and entirely plausible storyline, its meticulous attention to detail when it comes to the rules of football and an almost photorealistic sense of atmosphere, I honestly can't see how a football fan could go back to playing any of the big name titles after dipping their toes into this game.
Plus you can make it look kinda like Speedball 2 if you want.