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Actua Soccer 3 (PC,PSX) Preview

Background Info

There have been quite a few things missing from this World Cup, the illuminating presence of ITV's anchorman Matthew Lorenzo being just one of them. Once the rock around which ITV's coverage was built, he was cruelly tossed away - finding himself all washed up on the gentler shores of daytime TV. Matthew - less a font of football knowledge, more a leaky tap - has indeed been conspicuous by his absence.

He isn't the only one: by my reckoning quite a few of the world's top players also appear to have been lost along the way. In fact, if you look at the statistics closely, you may start to feel a little short changed.

There are 32 teams present at the World Cup, that means a collection of 704 players competing in a total of 64 games. They'll be involved in approximately 5760 minutes of football or if you like, 96 hours of gameplay. Now, compare this to - say - Actua Soccer 3, the forthcoming release from Gremlin Interactive on Playstation and PC CD Rom and you start to wonder which is the real festival of football.

What we have here grapple fans, is an unprecedented cache of football goodies. Actua Soccer 3 will contain over 450 teams culled from the best leagues around the world. This means that over 10,000 players are included, all of which have been individually researched and rated for exclusive use within the Actua Sports range. The action will be spread across 30 of the most famous stadia in the world, including Old Trafford, Nou Camp, Wembley and Bayern Munich's Olympic Stadium to name but a few. Each of the stadiums featured will contain over 1000 polygons and all will be pre-lit, fully gouraud shaded and textured.

So far in the World Cup we've seen lots of sloppy defending and keeping (stand up Ivanov, Le Saux, Rufai and Zubizarreta), but players of Actua Soccer 3 shouldn't have so much trouble. Following major improvements to players AI, players will now have much better awareness of the play going on around them. Their positional sense has also been improved which should make for great free flowing football once the new control system has been mastered.

As if that plethora of plusses wasn't enough there are individual player models featuring over 50 heads - including 10 unique 'superstars'. All moving as smoothly as a buttered snake in Farah slacks thanks to over 200 motion captures.

This is only the tip of the soccer iceberg. Many more innovative features are included in Actua Soccer 3 which will see this latest incarnation of the award winning series heading back to the top of the soccer tree. More news on the best game you'll play this year will follow shortly - for the time being you'll have to make do with craven images of the one true football god.

Key Features

    -Over 450 teams + a selection of special and custom teams
    -League competitions from around the world
    -Over 10000 players, individually researched and rated
    -Over 30 stadiums including Old Trafford, Nou Camp, Ajax, Bayern Munich, and Wembley.
    - Full range of game types; cups, leagues, friendlies
    - Fully customisable cup and league competitions.
    - Fully customisable teams. Make up your own players, or build a star team from the players in the player database..
    - Over 50 different heads, including 10 unique ones.
    - Enhanced defensive/offensive AI
    - Improved Keeper AI
    - Player Injuries
    - More practice options; practice match, penalties, free kicks
    - Characters feature 500+ polys,using a continuous mesh
    - Upto 1000 polys in each stadium. Each stadium is prelit, fully gouraud shaded and textured
    - Every team features individually designed home and away kit.
    - Light/Shadow maps on the pitch
    - Large range of weather conditions; Sunny, rain, snow etc
    - Panoramic cityscapes
    - Advanced 'TV style' presentation. Graphical style heavily influenced by TV
    - Upto 8 players can compete on PSX version.
    -PC owners with Power VRTM 3D cards will be able to enjoy an accelerated version of Actua Soccer 3. The game will also support 3DFX.

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