recspec's XS Junior League Dodgeball (PlayStation Network (PS3)) review

Everything You'd Expect From a Junior League.

XS's latest PlayStation "classic" is a dodgeball game that is similar to Super Dodgeball, but numerous technical issues keep it from being worth the money.
 
This game has a very simple approach, there is a tournament mode, where you battle through various exotic dodgeball locales such as Parking Lot, Mansion, and the ever popular Gymnasium. 
 
There are 8 different characters you can select, these people will be leading your team. If you haven't played Super Dodgeball before, the set up is like this: There are 4 teammates on each side, then 1 on each outer edge of the opponents territory. You can pass the ball to each teammate, and try to hit the other 4 players. Of course, this is a more brutal form of dodgeball, You do not go out after you get hit, you go out when you lose consciousness aka your life bar runs out. First team to have all teammates knocked out loses.
 
Sounds simple enough, but the game just doesn't work. Shots that should follow a straight line go off in an unknown direction for no reason at all. Passes meant for a teammate get thrown to enemies, and the items. The items are meant to power up your teammates, raise their super shot bar, heal life, revive teammates. The big issue is, it is near impossible to pick up these items, you can try to follow the shadow, but you never seem to be in the right spot. Over the course of beating the tournament mode, I was able to pick up 2 out of maybe 100 or so items that have passed through the court. I just gave up on them. Of course, the AI has no problem, so it becomes pretty one sided.
 
The items would be a bit easier to catch if the player select was a bit more steady. The player you are controlling randomly switches. You will be getting ready to dodge, then all of a sudden you switch to another player, and the player you were just controlling gets a dodgeball to the face. Overall, the controls are just shoddy.
 
I mentioned this earlier, but the aiming is horrible. You can be running straight along a line towards your enemy, be holding right on the dpad, and still miss your shot, and not because they dodged. Dodging shots is also a joke, you can dodge the same shot 3 times in a row, but for some reason the 4th time it will hit you. Even though the timing window was no different, Catch or die.
 
There is a bit of skill to using super shots and power shots. All of the Power Shots are the same, your main character will have some fancy animation tied to a monaural sound effect, then the shot will hit all opponents, bringing them down to a state where one hit will knock em out. Super shots vary from corkscrews to disappearing shots. There is a certain learning curve to firing off these shots, and you can't help but feel good once you pick it up. But it still doesn't help that the aiming is horrible.
 
The AI is pretty erratic, but with all the handicaps the game puts against you, it's near impossible to tell whether they are good or not.  One match they can be passing like mad and pulling off repeated shots, the other time you can practically win in a minute.
 
After beating the game you get a congratulations screen with your character, with the assumption that you need to beat the game with all of them to unlock a last surprise. After finishing though, I didn't feel any accomplishment, I felt like I got lucky. Even after learning the best way to win, it still felt like I had no control over the outcome of each match. If you are looking for a quick dodgeball fix, find one of the Super Dodgeball games, pass on this one.

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