by Sergio Brinkhuis
reviewed on PC
No frills versus entertainment
As the football season gets underway and teams compete to be the best of their nation, three football management games enter the pitch to fight out their own little battle for supremacy. The three contenders are Championship Manager, Football Manager and FIFA Manager. The first of the two has been dangling at the bottom of the ratings food-chain, and has done so for good reason. Eidos has yet to get their act together after their split with Sports Interactive. The latter two strive to be on top.
Sports Interactive's Football Manager is the game for the hardcore wannabe football manager. It offers a 'no frills' engine that will have you manage your players both on and off the pitch but little else. FIFA Manager is more diverse and offers more entertainment value, allowing you to manage your club into great detail.
Failing to evolve
In recent years, Football Manager has been pretty much the same and this year is no different (perceptive readers will be sensing where this article is heading now). The interface has received an overhaul and while everything looks a little more colorful, things haven't improved. The new menu isn't particularly intuitive and your mouse will be traveling a greater distance across the screen than it ever has before. Even after spending hours in the game, you will still be hunting for the right option in the various menus. A new presentation doesn't make for a new game however, although it would seem that SEGA and Sports Interactive think it does...
Sure, Sports Interactive boasted that Football Manager 2008 is "packed full of so much newness it could well take a lifetime to discover every new feature". Fans know that they say that every year and have yet to deliver upon that promise. If we have a closer look at the 'newness', it fails to impress.
The Transfer Center feature shows you what players you are bidding on and which of your players are about to be offered a new contract by another club. Handy, rival games have had it before and hardly worth mentioning.
Most gamers will hardly notice the announced Match-Engine improvements, other than in a negative way that is. The amount of goals that are disallowed by the refs is simply staggering. It is no exception to see three disallowed goals in a single half and it is absolutely rare to play a game without any disallowed goals at all. Penalties on the other hand are a rarity and the overall experience will leave you wanting for 2007's engine.
No Pros and Cons at this time