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OS Scores Explained Axis Football 2015 Overview (PC)
Pros
Commentary is chuckle-worthy; Easy to rename fake players; Team logos look professional
Cons
Shallow, boring gameplay; Outdated graphics, AI, & animations; Missing too many expected features
Bottom Line
Right now, there's just too much wrong with this title to recommend it for anyone not willing to wait for updates.
2.5
out of 10
Axis Football 2015 REVIEW

Axis Football 2015 Review (PC)

When Axis Football 2015 went live on STEAM last Wednesday, July 15, the Greenlight program's latest graduate hit the field stumbling and bumbling around like a broken, buggy mess. Most –- but not all -- of those gameplay glitches have since been bandaged up by the version 1.3 patch. But there's no hotfix for Axis Football 2015's biggest problem: it's simply not much fun to play.

The game's one noteworthy feature –- using mouselook to aim your passes -- just feels like an alternative to traditional icon-based passing rather than a revolutionary replacement. All other aspects of Axis Football 2015 come across as amateurish and archaic. A more apt title would have been Axis Football 96, because that's the era of football gaming –- the Nintendo 64's and Sony PlayStation's early 3D efforts –- the on-field action and off-field options most closely resemble in their current state.

Gameplay

Regardless of which control scheme you choose (the loading screen recommends a mouse & keyboard, although gamepads are supported), one component of your offense is always going to be handicapped in Axis Football 2015. WASD movement works fine in first-person shooters, since those games' action relies heavily on strafing, but WASD just isn't an acceptable substitute for a joystick in a game that demands rapid and precise eight-way movement while carrying the ball. Passing controls have the opposite problem, in that a mouse or other pointer device will naturally give you much finer placement over your quarterback's aiming cloud than any joystick ever could. To make things even worse for gamepad users, there is no way to lock your right stick's aim onto your first read before the ball is snapped, like you can with a mouse. The ideal method of controlling Axis Football 2015 -- running with the left joystick, while aiming a mouse with your right hand -- isn't even officially supported by the application. To achieve this setup, you'll have to trick the program by starting with only a mouse & keyboard connected, then plugging in a controller after the opening kickoff. I only discovered this workaround after paging through Axis Football 2015's STEAM forums, so I doubt most players will ever realize this option exists.

Once you finally manage to get Axis Football 2015 controlling reasonably well, the game still won't play very well, due to obtuse AI and outdated animations. Axis Football 2015 contains several money plays -- such as WR screens, Seam Attack, and FB Smash -- that will succeed almost every time on offense, even against the toughest difficulty setting. On defense, you can obliterate the highest-rated running backs in the game just by calling a basic two-man blitz whenever the CPU picks an obvious running formation. You can audible to any play in the current formation at the line of scrimmage, but the CPU won't ever wise-up to your blitzing strategy and switch to a screen pass or some other quick-hitting strike that would burn a blitz. Some offensive plays like Cross Toss are also completely broken, because the quarterback can't properly hand the ball off to the running back. These shouldn't be issues, since the game has less than 100 plays to get right. John Madden Football 92, for comparison, included over 100 plays on the SEGA Genesis. That was also the year Madden debuted an instant replay feature, something that Axis Football 2015 inexplicably lacks. While flipping the direction of plays can be done in the huddle, it's disappointingly not an option at the line of scrimmage. You also cannot send any men in motion, or create player-specific hot routes. Mechanics like these have existed in most football games for the last decade, and should be expected of a $20 product releasing in 2015.

Even the highest-rated AI quarterbacks in Axis Football 2015 are ignorant of how to manage the clock during end-of-half and end-of-game situations. They'll let time expire after they've already crossed midfield, instead of trying to get into field goal range before halftime. And they won't run out the clock if they're ahead in the final minutes of a game. CPU-controlled teams consistently make incorrect calls on when to run (Let's keep pounding the middle on third and long!), when to pass (Who cares about protecting our late lead?), and when to attempt a fourth down conversion (Three minutes gives us plenty of time to punt and still score 21 points!).

As idiotic as the AI is, Axis Football 2015's pitiful amount of player animations is a much bigger issue, since the CPU can at least be replaced by a buddy, if you have a second controller at hand. Although the pre-game launcher lists a "jump" button, I could not find a way to trigger any leaping or catching animations, plus the game has no pass interference rules (or any other penalties at all, aside from illegal kickoffs out of bounds), so every jump ball in Axis Football 2015 just becomes an unidentifiable clustermuck of polygons, until one player miraculously emerges with the football glued to his globby hands. If a defensive back makes an interception and isn't tackled immediately, it usually becomes an easy touchdown return down the sidelines, due to the huge speed differential between DBs and the other positions on the field. Computer-controlled defenders come equipped with an annoying cheat code that allows all of them to simultaneously converge on the ball as soon as the quarterback's throwing motion begins. Your opponent's defensive backs will have no difficulty running step-for-step alongside your receivers' diverse repertoire of routes, yet your own CPU-controlled teammates are so inept in the secondary that they often can't keep within 10 yards of their assignment on a simple streak pattern.

The animations between blockers and pass rushers are equally abysmal -- “animation” is a more accurate description, since there's only one. In it, both players will magically fuse together to become one immobile object after the ball is snapped. There are no bull rush, swim, or rip moves, so if you get “blocked,” you're taken out of the play until the whistle mercifully blows. You can forget about using teams like Buffalo or Miami who have a fearsome frontline, because blitzing seems to be the only way to get any kind of consistent pass rush or penetration on running plays. Ball carriers don't possess any special moves, either, as basic jukes and spins are not present in this build.

Between its blurry white lines, Axis Football 2015 makes Madden NFL 08 -- the last football game of any significance released on the PC -- look like a Mona Lisa made out of ones and zeroes.

Surely there are some redeeming qualities?

I do appreciate how easy it is to find each team's text file and rename every player on the roster (this is an unlicensed product, of course). Logo and uniform editing is off-limits at the moment, but might become available at a later date. The gameplay, however, has 99 yards to go before I would want to waste a second of my time making superficial edits to a game that I don't have any fun playing.

Apart from offline exhibition matches, Season is currently the only other mode in Axis Football 2015. This consists of a randomized 12-game schedule, culminating in an 8-team, single-elimination tournament to decide the league champion. You can only control one of the available 32 teams, and there is no multi-season progression. Individual and team stats are shown at the middle and end of each game, but that is the only time you will see any stats on screen, since they aren't stored in the main Season hub.

With so many missing features and such snooze-inducing gameplay, the most enjoyable aspect of Axis Football 2015 actually ends up being the commentator, who sounds like a parody of Ball State's "Boom goes the dynamite!" student broadcaster. When the worst part of most football games (announcing) is your best attribute, you know that something has gone horribly awry in the development schedule.

Final Thoughts

If you're a patient person, the creator of Axis Football 2015 is promising lots of free post-release support, starting with an unspecified August update. But I strongly recommend taking a "wait-and-see" approach with your wallet, considering the dismal state the game is in right now.

Score: 2.5 (Bad)


Axis Football 2015 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 HypoLuxa13 @ 07/22/15 11:57 AM
Guess they weren't kidding when they said this was a 1 man dev team that made the game for $450.
 
# 2 bxphenom7 @ 07/22/15 12:26 PM
Well, not unexpected. Hopefully this is a game that grows into something larger in five years or so. I'd support it but I don't have a PC for gaming.
 
# 3 herropreese @ 07/22/15 01:22 PM
The only problem I have with the review is it keeps comparing the game to Madden. This game was never advertised as a simulation style football game. It certainly could become one with enough time and effort, but to compare it to Madden at the moment isn't fair imo.
 
# 4 Fist Of Kings @ 07/22/15 08:03 PM
Ryanmoody21 interviewed the guy that made this game. Yeah, it's easy to bash it, as I'm sure it's horrible from what I've seen, and I've said myself I would play Madden 92 on the genesis again before this. But this guy did most of the work himself, and had a budget of $500 total for the game.

Having posted that, I think it's insulting that this guy is trying to unload this game for nearly $20 bucks. The worst was the guy listing everything that the game didn't have, but it would be in the '2016' version if enough people bought this year's version. There aren't any ol/dl interactions, no stiff arm, no spin moves, no break tackles etc.

I would love a customizable pc football game, but this isn't the answer, not by a longshot.
 
# 5 herropreese @ 07/22/15 08:42 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fist Of Kings
Ryanmoody21 interviewed the guy that made this game. Yeah, it's easy to bash it, as I'm sure it's horrible from what I've seen, and I've said myself I would play Madden 92 on the genesis again before this. But this guy did most of the work himself, and had a budget of $500 total for the game.

Having posted that, I think it's insulting that this guy is trying to unload this game for nearly $20 bucks. The worst was the guy listing everything that the game didn't have, but it would be in the '2016' version if enough people bought this year's version. There aren't any ol/dl interactions, no stiff arm, no spin moves, no break tackles etc.

I would love a customizable pc football game, but this isn't the answer, not by a longshot.
He was quite honest about the game being a little overpriced. If the August update adds the new player models/animations, custom logos and uniforms, and Franchise mode as intended (and he hasn't lied in the past about updates) then $20 would be fine. Then again, "worth" is entirely subjective. I'm having fun with the game considering it isn't trying to be Madden.
 
# 6 jyoung @ 07/22/15 09:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by herropreese
If the August update adds the new player models/animations, custom logos and uniforms, and Franchise mode as intended (and he hasn't lied in the past about updates) then $20 would be fine.
Franchise mode won't be making it into Axis Football 2015, according to several posts the developer has made on the product's STEAM forums:

http://steamcommunity.com/app/370090...1582675999523/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axis Games
It's looking like Franchise mode won't be [released] until around July 2016. Purchasing Axis Football 2015 now will get you several free updates throughout the year, but Axis Football 2016 will be a separate purchase. Axis Football 2015 will still be playable, but we'll stop updating it around February 2016.
These are their current targeted features for the August update:
  • New player models
  • Uniform modding
  • Season stats
  • Coach mode
  • Upgraded camera movement
 
# 7 daflyboys @ 07/22/15 11:34 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by herropreese
The only problem I have with the review is it keeps comparing the game to Madden. This game was never advertised as a simulation style football game. It certainly could become one with enough time and effort, but to compare it to Madden at the moment isn't fair imo.
So true.... I wonder how the critics would compare this football game to Madden...

Spoiler
 
# 8 herropreese @ 07/23/15 12:09 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jyoung
Franchise mode won't be making it into Axis Football 2015, according to several posts the developer has made on the product's STEAM forums:

http://steamcommunity.com/app/370090...1582675999523/



These are their current targeted features for the August update:
  • New player models
  • Uniform modding
  • Season stats
  • Coach mode
  • Upgraded camera movement
Ah, missed that. Still. I think those things added would make the game worth $20. I have little issue with throwing some bucks at him as a sort of kickstarterish way of support if it means 2016 is more robust game.
 
# 9 sportyguyfl31 @ 07/23/15 09:34 AM
The game isnt good. Needs a ton of work..but I thought it was unfair to stack this effort up against a giant corporation.

You have to be honest, and not give it a pass just because it is made by a handful of guys on a shoestring, but I dont think there is a need to draw Madden comparisons.
 
# 10 CM Hooe @ 07/23/15 10:40 AM
I see no problem in attempting to compare this game to Madden. They are both at their hearts simulation-style football games.

Yes, one was made by one guy. Yes, one doesn't have a multi-million-dollar budget and the licensing arm of the biggest sports entity in the United States behind it. But they are both still 11-on-11 simulation-style football video games vying for the video game consumer's money. To that end, any comparisons in quality are valid. If the game were designed as a seven-on-seven arcade affair or as a nostalgia-invoking throwback-style game, then perhaps the comparisons with Madden wouldn't be as valid.

I am pulling for the guy, though. I hope his efforts in supporting the game in post-release he's promised clean up some of the issues people have with the game right now.
 
# 11 jyoung @ 07/24/15 05:19 PM
We grade every game we review on the same scale, because the history of gaming has repeatedly proved that good games can come from small companies (Super Mega Baseball, The Golf Club, OlliOlli, Wrestling Revolution 3D), just as easily as bad games can come from large companies (NBA Live 14, NHL 15, Tony Hawk's Proving Ground, WWE 2K15).

Most consumers do not care how many employees or how much money it took to make a game. Consumers generally only care about which games are worth their money, and which ones are not. And since the primary purpose of any product review is to aid and educate consumers, we take that same stance.

On a scale where Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is a 5, and NBA Live 14 is a 3.5, Axis Football 2015 could fit nowhere else but the 2.5 it was justly given. The game in its current state is simply nowhere close to the standards that gamers expect of any 11 vs. 11 football title (big or small) released in 2015.

Madden 08 is mentioned because it is a superior product in the same genre on the same platform as Axis Football 2015. We will always present alternatives to our readers in any review where the game we are writing about is not worth recommending.
 
# 12 videlsports @ 07/25/15 11:00 AM
I have a feeling that it would be some growing pains, It's hard to come out as an independent and have everything we want in a football game. But for that budget, that pretty cool IMO. I hope we can give this game enough support so that hopefully it will be profitable so he will make more additions every year.
 
# 13 CM Hooe @ 07/26/15 10:24 PM
What's a reasonable alternative to the absolute scale, though? I'm not the reviewer, but to me the idea of applying some sort of bonus to the game's score or pulling punches in the text of the reviewer's opinion based on the game's budget, team size, or sympathy for the developer on a personal level strikes me as disingenuous.

A reviewer's purpose is to assess the quality of a video game amidst other available options and make a recommendation to the consumer. No video game exists in a vacuum. If the reviewer feels this game doesn't begin to compare to other options, he's perfectly justified in saying as much. If the reviewer isn't honest with how he feels about the game or withholds that opinion, he's not serving the readers well at-best and deliberately misleading them at-worst.

"Fair" simply is not an object in this scenario; other football video games are already out there in the wild and not going away. The onus is on the game developer to produce a quality game, not on media to give out a participation award to anyone who feels like making a game.
 
# 14 timisone @ 07/27/15 03:12 PM
I hope nothing but the best for this game. No buy till bugs are gone and franchise is in the game.
 
# 15 Fist Of Kings @ 07/27/15 08:58 PM
A moddable football game where I have complete control is something I've wanted for a long time. The guy that made the game has a lot of good ideas...but the $20 price tag for a game lacking so much.

I'm not trying to bash the creator, but with the game lacking in even basic football elements like breaking tackles, basic ol/dl interactions(from the clips I've seen, the qb didn't even need to scramble because it looks like the dl isn't capable of generating pressure)how can he justify the price? I think more people would support the game and hopefully help it grow if it were $5 bucks.

I think that is fair with it's dated graphics, lacking features, and basic gameplay elements.
 
# 16 jake53 @ 07/28/15 09:36 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by CM Hooe
What's a reasonable alternative to the absolute scale, though? I'm not the reviewer, but to me the idea of applying some sort of bonus to the game's score or pulling punches in the text of the reviewer's opinion based on the game's budget, team size, or sympathy for the developer on a personal level strikes me as disingenuous.

A reviewer's purpose is to assess the quality of a video game amidst other available options and make a recommendation to the consumer. No video game exists in a vacuum. If the reviewer feels this game doesn't begin to compare to other options, he's perfectly justified in saying as much. If the reviewer isn't honest with how he feels about the game or withholds that opinion, he's not serving the readers well at-best and deliberately misleading them at-worst.

"Fair" simply is not an object in this scenario; other football video games are already out there in the wild and not going away. The onus is on the game developer to produce a quality game, not on media to give out a participation award to anyone who feels like making a game.
I feel like it's disingenuous to compare a game that is being priced at $20 that is essentially in early access to a $60 AAA title, even if you're comparing it to a game from 2008.

I'm not saying this game deserves a 10, because it has it's fair share of problems... But the developers listen to what we want and they implement change as quickly as they can. These developers are worth supporting and a fairer review on a site filled with the prime audience could go a long way.

People who purchase this game will get the updated 2016 version for free which will have a franchise mode, uniform modding, logo modding, roster modding, and improved animations. This is imo what should have been highlighted in the review. Instead OS seemed to **** on the game without pointing out any of the potential it has.

This is the first football game released since Madden 08 and yes it has issues, but the review isn't going to help those issues get fixed. It could lead to this game becoming abandonware and to leave the PC userbase without a football game altogether.

There's a way to promote something and there's a way to review something. I don't think this game is in a reviewable shape at the moment, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Furthermore I think rating games (sports or otherwise) on a number scale is ridiculous.
 
# 17 mestevo @ 07/29/15 08:39 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jake53
I feel like it's disingenuous to compare a game that is being priced at $20 that is essentially in early access to a $60 AAA title, even if you're comparing it to a game from 2008.

I'm not saying this game deserves a 10, because it has it's fair share of problems... But the developers listen to what we want and they implement change as quickly as they can. These developers are worth supporting and a fairer review on a site filled with the prime audience could go a long way.

People who purchase this game will get the updated 2016 version for free which will have a franchise mode, uniform modding, logo modding, roster modding, and improved animations. This is imo what should have been highlighted in the review. Instead OS seemed to **** on the game without pointing out any of the potential it has.

This is the first football game released since Madden 08 and yes it has issues, but the review isn't going to help those issues get fixed. It could lead to this game becoming abandonware and to leave the PC userbase without a football game altogether.

There's a way to promote something and there's a way to review something. I don't think this game is in a reviewable shape at the moment, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Furthermore I think rating games (sports or otherwise) on a number scale is ridiculous.
That's quite the shotgun response, you covered everything from the indie vs AAA argument, the game being incomplete (which is the very reason many games tank in reviews) to 'it's not even reviewable' and sports games in general vs numerical reviews.

I think many understand a lot of that, and read this review in context. I don't get the flailing to defend it, if the review leads to it being abandonware (which it wont) then it's probably much closer to that than anyone realizes from the get go then.

If it's so great otherwise it will have the much more visible Steam reviews (which are generally positive, but have their +'s and -'s) to rely on.
 
# 18 jake53 @ 07/30/15 12:19 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mestevo
That's quite the shotgun response, you covered everything from the indie vs AAA argument, the game being incomplete (which is the very reason many games tank in reviews) to 'it's not even reviewable' and sports games in general vs numerical reviews.

I think many understand a lot of that, and read this review in context. I don't get the flailing to defend it, if the review leads to it being abandonware (which it wont) then it's probably much closer to that than anyone realizes from the get go then.

If it's so great otherwise it will have the much more visible Steam reviews (which are generally positive, but have their +'s and -'s) to rely on.
I don't post often, and when I do I have something to say. I covered as much as I did because it really bothers me that he gave the game a 2.5 out of 10. He might as well have said don't bother ever buying this or any future products with this brand.

This is an important site for sports games. That should be obvious. Right now there are nearly 2000 people online, and I'm sure many more are lurking. The Axis Developers prime and probably only audience are likely to visit this site.

This is a site that with this review has the power to kill a game. Who knows what this game will look like by 2016, but you know who probably won't tune in again? Nearly anyone who had a mild interest and saw a 2.5 out of 10 and decided that this just a **** game.

The fans of this game obviously see more potential than a 2.5 out of 10 because last I checked the game was like 80% positive. That should have been reflected in the review.

The only thing this review has promoted is the idea that axis football is a joke.

If it looks like I'm flailing then I'm ok with that. Hopefully some mildly interested football fan sees my post and realizes that maybe this game is worth supporting.
 
# 19 roadman @ 07/30/15 07:16 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jake53
I don't post often, and when I do I have something to say. I covered as much as I did because it really bothers me that he gave the game a 2.5 out of 10. He might as well have said don't bother ever buying this or any future products with this brand.

This is an important site for sports games. That should be obvious. Right now there are nearly 2000 people online, and I'm sure many more are lurking. The Axis Developers prime and probably only audience are likely to visit this site.

This is a site that with this review has the power to kill a game. Who knows what this game will look like by 2016, but you know who probably won't tune in again? Nearly anyone who had a mild interest and saw a 2.5 out of 10 and decided that this just a **** game.

The fans of this game obviously see more potential than a 2.5 out of 10 because last I checked the game was like 80% positive. That should have been reflected in the review.

The only thing this review has promoted is the idea that axis football is a joke.

If it looks like I'm flailing then I'm ok with that. Hopefully some mildly interested football fan sees my post and realizes that maybe this game is worth supporting.
Reviews are not written for just fans of the game, they are written for a wide audience. If OS was the only bad review of the game, I would see where you have a point, but after seeing two other website reviews, OS review is right in line with the other two.

Also, OS wasn't the only review site to compare with Madden. So, the other review sites must be wrong in their line of thinking, too.
 
# 20 GlennN @ 08/01/15 04:45 PM
I agree the reviews should be objective, which means the comparison has to be Madden (since that is currently the only other football videogame). That said, I also agree the tone of a review can be positive or negative and can either build or diminish the potential audience and hope for the game. Granted that's kind of a fine point. To me, this game most reminds me of Maximum Football, another PC football videogame from a few years ago that gave me high hopes, but ultimately came up far short.
 

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