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Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions turns the iconic franchise into a football sim

Bandai Namco has announced Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions, which adapts the beloved Japanese franchise into an ambitious football sim. 

We had a chance to go hands-on with the upcoming title at a recent Bandai Namco event, and it was a surprising highlight in our day of checking out a bunch of its upcoming catalogue. 

While it never managed to make a huge impact in the United Kingdom, Captain Tsubasa is massive in select European countries thanks to a shared love of football – which itself is big in the series’ homeland of Japan. 

Set to launch across PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC in 2020, it will be the series’ first console game in roughly ten years, meaning fans are already frothing at the mouth to get their nerdy hands on it. Having taken it for a test run, we can’t really blame them.

Related: Best Nintendo Switch Games 

Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions clearly takes inspiration from the likes of FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer with its basic controls and layout, although it takes full advantage of its anime status to create something wonderfully unique. 

Charge up a shot long enough and it will evolve into a super powerful strike which flies towards the goal in a blinding flash of light, literally crashing into the goalkeeper with obscene amounts of force. However, this isn’t a guaranteed goal, meaning skill still plays a role.

“Securing the Captain Tsubasa license to bring a football game to the western market is a dream come true.” says Hervé Hoerdt, Senior VP Marketing, Digital & Content at Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe. “Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions isn’t created just for the fans of the manga, but will be enjoyed by football fans all over the world!”

You’ll play as iconic teams and characters from across the franchise in a variety of game modes, one of which we hope will be a fully-fledged story mode chronicling the events of the manga. Bandai Namco adaptations are no stranger to such campaigns, and we’d love to see one here. 

After playing a handful of games there is certainly some difficulty issues which need smoothing out. At times the enemy team can feel overly aggressive and scoring is oftentimes a matter of luck as opposed to skill, which isn’t ideal at all. That being said, playing against friends in multiplayer is a delight.


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