I want to preface this by saying that AFL is one of my favourite sports ever. I mean growing up in Melbourne, how could it not be. However this game only does enough to show that the developers are trying, but they haven’t done enough to really compete with any of the big sport games like FIFA or NBA 2K.
At first glance AFL Evolution 2 does not look like anything special. In fact, it actually looks like we’re back in 2010, with definite problems with graphics and gameplay. Like trying to mark the football can be problematic, it’s dependent on your position and all you have to do is press one button before the ball arrives. Which means when you and your opponent are jostling, IN THE SAME POSITION, its only dumb luck who gets the mark. Plus everything still has a definite clunky feel to it, it’s difficult to tackle, to bump, to place your kicks, even trying to kick a goal on the run.
However in saying all this I was actually impressed with the game itself. Now why would I be impressed with a game that has all these problems? Because the point I want to make is that even though this game is definitely at times hard to sit through and play, Wicked Witch Software does one thing really well. It makes a massive improvement on its predecessor, AFL Evolution. You may say “Well all games do that” But do they actually? Do I need to bring up NBA 2K20?
Straight off the bat you can immediately tell that the graphics have dramatically improved from the previous game. My first interaction with it was just running around on your own, waiting for the game to finish installing.The controls haven’t really changed all that much but everything feels smoother and more precise. They added more customisation options and improved the online gameplay. They also added new commentary from Anthony Hudson and Garry Lyon. Honestly, I prefer listening to Dennis Cometti from the previous games myself, listening to all of his one-liners while you play reminded me of watching AFL as a kid, and let’s be honest, there aren’t many better commentators than Dennis Cometti.
Another thing I liked about the game is that it also improved it’s career mode. Now I love playing career mode on every sport game I play, it is a massive deal for me. So seeing that they kept the ability to play in the U18 comp so you could transition into the AFL through the draft was awesome. One problem I saw though was that when you get picked to play for your state, I was picked for Vic Metro, my character was doubled and there ended up being “me” playing for Vic Metro and another “me” playing for Vic Country. I was completely confused on why this happened and it seemed that the stats I was getting went to the other “me”. Apart from that though everything else worked pretty seamless and the transition from U18 to AFL actually went pretty well. The one other thing I love about the career mode is that they put a lot of time into AFLW as well, and one of the best things about this game is it’s the FIRST sports game I have come across that allows you to make a Female player in career mode for the Female competition. I love this and I just hope the other sports games follow suit.
This game overall isn’t fantastic, but it can definitely be a lot of fun. I have bought all the AFL games so far and I will continue to buy them in future because….. they are improving. Wicked Witch Software is a homegrown, gaming developer based in Melbourne, and honestly if they can keep improving with every game they bring out, the gap between the leading sports games and AFL will diminish.
Review by Dillon Vander Putten