Captain Tsubasa was born in Japan in 1981 in the form of spokon manga about football. Written by Youichi Takahashi and became famous all over the world.
The series has received various videogame and anime adaptations, such as the recently released remake entitled Captain Tsubasa also in Italy, because before then the series in our country was known under the name of Holly & Benji.
The entire work follows the story of the prodigious Tsubasa (known by us as Oliver Hutton) player of Nankatsu, a team that will begin his rise in the professional world of football.
The videogame series has unfortunately not had the same success as the series, the first chapter was published on the NES in 1988 and then even landed on mobile in 2017 in the form of the most famous gatcha game. But in 2020 Bandai Namco will try again and publish Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Will the guys at Tamsoft be able to create a title capable of making a videogame series shine that has never managed to leave its mark?
Thanks to Bandai Namco, we at Binfogamer.com have had the opportunity to answer this question.
Find out in our review!
Let's start from the origins
Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions presenta ben two story modes, one designed to act as a tutorial and smattering of the various characters present, while the second, the more full-bodied one will allow you to experience a completely new story firsthand.
As the title suggests, with the first mode you will have to faced 7 games designed to give you a general smattering of Tsubasa's exploits and to introduce game after game the various rules of gameplay, working as a tutorial.
The story of Episode Tsubasa will be very linear compared to the "New Hero" mode, the narrative arc covered is only the one dedicated to the Middle School Tournament, so you will only use the team made up of the boys from Nankatsu school.
A real shame, because it would have been interesting to see the previous arc transposed into videogame form, the one that really gave life to everything, the Elementary School Tournament.
In the games you will face there will be animated interludes, everything in Cell Shading is clear, which are able to faithfully reproduce the spectacular actions already seen in the anime and manga.
Once the Tsubasa Episode is over, you just have to try your hand at the real main part of the title, the New Hero mode.
The central part of the entire title that will allow you to play the role of a young soccer player. You will start from the character editor which all in all is more than satisfactory.
Once you have finished creating your avatar, you will have to choose which institution to start your career as a footballer.
The choice of the institute does not preclude the possibility of being able to interact with the famous characters of the series, such as Tsubasa (Holly) and Benji.
In fact, you can build affinity with other players, even through multiple choice dialogues. The ultimate goal of this mode is to become the world champions.
In fact, in the final stages, you will have to clash with the various national teams, such as Italy, France, Senegal, Brazil up to Germany.
The New Hero episode takes inspiration from the manga Captain Tsubasa: World Youth and Captain Tsubasa: Road to 2002 and the anime Holly and Benji Forever.
New Hero is the name of the tournament undertaken by Holly and her companions in the anime in order to be selected as the best athlete who will wear the jersey of the Japanese national team.
This mode compared to Episode Tsubasa has many role-playing elements, in fact you can and will have to enhance your character the Player Points with which you will increase your statistics and refine your techniques.
Techniques that you decide which ones to use for your avatar, such as the effect shot by Holly or the famous Tiger Shot by Mark Lenders.
After the story mode, all you have to do is try your hand in the local versus mode or online with world ranking.
Versus Online mode
Either way you can play with 4 total friends, with which to manage the whole team in 4 or do 2v2.
Online ranking mode will allow you to climb the world rankings, with every game you win or lose you will get or lose points with which you will increase your rank.
The only negative note is related to the type of gameplay proposed by the game which in the ranked mode will never give satisfaction as everything is based on who has the team with a higher statistics value, making any kind of skill play useless.
Write that passes you
The title is proposed as an arcade football game and we can say that it succeeds in intent not integrating any simulative frills that for example a Fifa or Pes have.
In fact, at present there is no title on the market with which it is possible to compare Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions, apart from the next upcoming chapter of Inazuma Eleven.
The only part "similar" to real football simulators is that inherent to the pre-match settings, dedicated to team management, to change formation, so you can set up different modules such as the classic 4-4-2.
You will have the possibility of being able to make substitutions both in pre and in game and you will be able to decide how many changes to allow both teams along with 4 pre-set styles to keep in the field.
With a simple click of the directional arrows, if you are using a controller, you can impart the formation to use, for example if you are in the lead you can set an offensive formation compared to a defensive, much more appropriate if you are near the end of the game and want to preserve victory.
Some formations will involve the selection of one or more players who will perform certain actions, for example with a defensive formation, you will have to designate a defender who will always lag behind the rest of the team.
It is also possible to choose the captain and the owner who will always take corner kicks.
The part closest to the real football titles stops here, in fact the whole system related to fouls and penalties is missing with the total absence of an arbitrary figure. However, the offside is present.
You will often find yourself in confusing situations where you will limit yourself to sliding in sequence to be able to remove the ball from the enemy that many times result in situations bordering on the unreal, throwing a punch in the stomach to the opponent is not very correct.
After having gutted the title, we can confirm that in the end you will find yourself not using the mechanics described above because these are not of great impact on the entire game ecosystem.
You will just use squads or your own team made up of the best players, as the whole game is based on statistics. It doesn't matter how or from where, but if you load a shot with a special move attached, it will go straight into the goal.
A real shame if we take into account the huge presence of scripts in the parade, defense and shooting phases.
In fact, if the opponent throws a cannon or a simple shot at you, your goalkeeper will automatically parry the ball and then decide the fate of the result to the stamina bar and to the numerical values not visible on the screen.
No matter which player you save or shoot with, if he can do you more "damage" than your goalkeeper can save, the goal will always be scored.
So overall we can tell you that in the long run it could lead to boredom, especially in online modes, where in most cases you will find yourself doing mirror matches, where, in that case, whoever manages to shoot multiple times will have the victory in hand.
Graphically not excellent
Graphically speaking Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions manages to perfectly transpose the spirit of the series to the screen. Too bad for a lack of optimization on PC, the platform where we tested the title.
Graphics options are sparse, limited to 5/6 options, including the absence and inability to spin the title in 21: 9.
A pity to see in 2020 of titles released by large companies do not have this support or at least get mistreated on the whole when there are many indies that even have support for 32: 9 and with many graphics options.
We have also noticed a general blurring of the character models when we are in the game, this problem disappears once the shooting and blocking animations start, showing the painstaking work done by the graphics engine.
Engine that has not been implemented in the unlockable movies that will tell us about the genesis and the rivalries of the different characters that we will meet in the two game modes.
A real shame, we would have preferred to integrate these videos into the game, avoiding relegating them to a section of the menu. Instead, the intermission films are well narrated and dubbed in Japanese, the only spoken language present.
In terms of frames we can not complain, the title runs at a fixed 60 fps, without ever having a drop in any situation. It is also true that such a game is not very demanding in terms of hardware requirements.
The configuration used for the review is in fact too overkill, it is useless to tell you that with an RTX 2080 Ti side by side with an i9-7900X you will not have any problems, but even with a much lower-end computer you will be able to enjoy the title in maximum details in 1080p.
Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions partially succeeds in transposing the epic nature of the famous football series. Fans may turn a blind eye to the scripted stages in favor of the spectacular moves and stunts made by the players.
But those who try to approach the title for the first time, perhaps turn up their noses, given the total absence of skill play, limiting entire games to simple numbers.
The two story modes present will surely be able to entertain you for at least 25/30 hours overall, making you discover one of the strong points of the anime and manga industry.