AFL Live review
A Bright Lies Future Ahead... But It's Not Here Yet

The good:

- Effectively captures the high-speed gameplay
- All 17 authentic teams
- Feels great when you win

The bad:

- The commentary
- Several gameplay glitches
- Feels terrible when you lose


Developer: Big Ant Studios
Publisher: Tru Blu Entertainment
Reviewed Platform: xBox 360

AFL Footy is fast, and AFL Live captures that perfectly. Stringing together a series of handballs and kicks in lead up to a big goal works and feels great. The goal kicking, while potentially a bit slow to pick up on, eventually feels natural, and gamers will be able to judge 50 metre goals, even with strong winds.
The controls are simple enough, though the phrase 'easy to learn, hard to master' fits the game perfectly.
There are several difficulty levels, to suit all-comers, and the AI for each is adjusted accordingly; players on the higher difficulties will kick or mark with more accuracy, and use different tactics to out-score the player. Jumping straight into the hardest difficulty can cause some real frustration, as the computer team will strike every kick with pinpoint accuracy.
Team-mate AI on the gamer-controlled teams are exactly the same, though the game automatically switches control to nearby players when the ball is in the area. Gamers may manually select other players, though the time taken may be better spent chasing down the opponent player, especially as AI team-mates are often preparing themselves to be switched to, and such moving away from the ball.
One downside to the footballer AI is that there does not seem to be any personalised AI. When switching any players between positions, they all act in the same way, even forwards playing in defence, with nothing but a minor skill-point drop.
Gameplay: 7/10

The character models are detailed enough, and especially in the replays, it is easy to recognise individual players. The 17 real footy stadia look great, and winning a close game in the pouring rain looks as good as it feels. The crowds are still very blocky, but seeing the animation for 'cheering' kick in after a big goal does look impressive. Overall, not as impressive as some of the new FIFA games, but solid enough to know who you are playing as at any time.
As most games these days, there are name bars at the bottom of the screen, with players stamina indicated, so gamers will know when to rotate each player. This has the option of being automated anyway, allowing gamers to focus on the game itself.
Visuals: 6/10

The crowd cheers like a footy crowd should. The football itself sounds great when kicked. The referee's whistle will ensure gamers always know when something has happened. Overall, a very good sounding game...
Sound (environment): 8/10

... except for the commentary. Oh boy, is it bad. Whilst the game has gotten real-life commentators Dennis Cometti and Brian Taylor for the job, the final product sounds slapped together like the old SmackDown games on the PS2. And whilst they do mention what is going on, due to the nature of the game, they will be repeating themselves ad nauseum. Thankfully, the commentary volume can be turned completely off.
The music in the game is also a let down. There are two great, classic footy songs the play over the menus and in the breaks of each game... except there are only those two. Again, almost as if the developers knew this was a problem, custom soundtracks are available.
Sound (commentary, music): 4/10

Overall, AFL Live is a solid game, with a few glaring issues that will either be solved through patches, or inevitable sequels. Whilst I don't think this series will be 'upgraded' every year like many other sports games, it is obvious that this was the first of a series of games. For those that love the thrill of AFL, this is the best game around, and you'll get a kick out of it. For those not sold on the sport, I can't suggest that it will blow your mind.
Overall (not an average): 3.4/5

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