Handball 17 – A game that claims to be the “best handball simulation ever”. However, handball is a sport that has a very small following, and because of that, there has been very few “handball simulations” ever made. If you happen to be a fan of the sport, and are indeed looking for a handball simulation game, that is exactly what you will get out of Handball 17. But if you have played last year’s title, and are looking for an improvement in this years title, that is not at all what you will get.
The game has different modes you can select right from the start, with those being career, season play, local match, and online. With career, you can earn points from doing good in matches, and with those points, you can upgrade your player’s attributes. Some stats you can upgrade include your stamina, speed, and awareness. Sounds cool, right? Sadly, this is probably the coolest feature Handball 17 has to offer. One addition I found that was almost pointless, was the player customization option. You can add some clothing options to your character, including knee pads and elbow pads, different shoes, and arm guards. The problem with this is that the game’s graphics are not very good. While in a match, you will almost not even notice the difference between the players and the clothing items they’re wearing. No matter how much protective clothing you put on your player, it will not change his stats whatsoever. You cannot really judge this entire game based on it’s boring customization options however. There is still some more game modes that Handball 17 has to offer.
In season play, you will have to play 26 matches in order to prove that you are the champion of handball. You have a very limited selection of teams you can choose from (less than 10), which brings down the uniqueness of this game even more. One thing I found that they did well, was the AI difficulty. You can change it in the game options screen, and it definitely promises that you be playing against very skilled players if you put the difficulty on hard.
That brings me to the actual gameplay part. The game’s controls are very easy to learn, with your basic press “A” to pass the ball, and press “Y” to score. They very well could have left it at that, but they did add some of the handball moves that can be used very easily in game. Some of the moves being the spin shot, the hip shot, and the feint. That will be a very cool feature to handball fans. Visually, the move’s look good in game, but they do not add much more excitement to the already bland game. When it came to the games glitches, I surprisingly did not run into any that made the actual gameplay any more or less challenging, but after every match, the announcers voice volume will get incredibly loud for some reason. A known bug in the game now, but it can definitely be fixed in an update. If you have your volume on your television turned up high, that might catch you off guard.
Handball 17 also features an online mode, and in order to even play online, you will most likely need a friend who has the game. I searched for about 20 minutes and finally gave up. This will be no surprise to people due to the fact that the game is currently priced at a normal retail release of $60. That is where I feel EKO Software made a poor decision. For a sport that isn’t very popular to begin with, and then release a game about the sport at full price, will likely result in very poor sales.To lure more players into the very unknown game/sport of handball, a smart choice would be to list it at a more reasonable price tag, so that the buyers won’t feel as bad if they end up not liking the game. As of the time of me writing this, last year’s game Handball 16 is currently listed at $30, and unless you are a big time handball fan, that price is still too much to risk on a game that has very little customization, and overall appeal in general.
If you are very into sports games, and are getting a little bored of your usual go-to game, then I would recommend giving Handball 17 a chance. You may or may not find a new sport you enjoy. Do I think it is worth the full $60 price tag? Not at all. EKO Software is not the most known game developer, and I’m sure lowering the price would definitely draw more attention to this game, and their other games. You may want to give this game a chance when it goes on sale, or maybe gets a demo. Even though this review of the game will come across as negative, sports games can also be somewhat difficult to give an opinion on. I don’t really want people to think this game is completely awful, because it is not. People that are very into handball and want a handball game, I feel will enjoy this more than fans of other sports, because once again, there is very few games made about the sport, and this will really be all they have to play. People who know absolutely nothing about handball, will probably not appreciate this game because of the little it has to offer.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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