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FIFA Manager 06 PC CD-ROM

Published by EA Sports
Developed by EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £34.99

FIFA Manager 06, an introduction.

FIFA Manager 06 is the latest in quite a long series of football management games. It all started with FIFA Soccer Manager back in the late nineties and then the series was renamed as F.A. Premier League Manager before becoming Total Club Manager. Whilst the games have all had different names they have all had similar problems. The interface for each game has been cumbersome and as far as realism is concerned, the games have all been way off the mark. Will FIFA Manager 06 be any different? Let's find out.

What's the game about?

Naturally FIFA Manager 06 allows you to take the reins of your favourite club and lead them to glory. Unlike Football Manager 2006 and the lamentable Championship Manager 5, FIFA Manager 06 allows you control over much more than a manager would have to deal with in real life. Fancy sorting out the sponsors, enlarging the stadium, taking out a loan and deciding what names go on your advert boards? Well FIFA Manager 06 will allow you to do just that. You can even create your own team and lead them to glory if you wish.

What's good about the game?

The main complaint levelled at the Football Manager games is that they don't have a 3D match engine. FIFA Manager 06, like the previous titles in the series, comes complete with a modified FIFA game engine so you'll get to see your team run around in full 3D glory. The game has 30+ nations which you can manage and even with all of the leagues running the game manages to process the data at a very nice speed. When you're setting up a new game you're given the option of playing as a club manager, playing as a club manager and a national manager simultaneously, playing a career (and taking a job that comes your way) or creating a team and managing them. The game gives you a choice of playing as just a manager or taking on a director's or chief executive's role as well, so if you want to sort out the advert boards you can. There are plenty of options available to you. If you want to open a youth camp in some far off location you can which is a nice touch. Taking a leaf out of Football Manager's books you have slider bars to adjust tactics and you get to have half-time team talks with your players (the choices are more limited here though and simply confined to criticise, motivate and praise). You're also told immediately how the player has reacted to your talk.

What's not so good about the game?

The main disappointment is that the game manages to retain those aforementioned problems of being low on realism and having a bloated and cumbersome interface. The developers choose to implement a web page style interface and whilst it looks very smart it feels unwieldy and a much simpler interface would have been much more functional. Whilst it's great to see your team in full 3D, the action is unrealistic (scores are particularly unrealistic) and you'll see the same player animations over and over again during the course of a match. You'll also see a variety of errors from the players in the 3D match mode which look plain silly and these can often lead to goals. There are a variety of camera angles you can use to watch the match but the all important overhead view that enables you to see the whole pitch in one go is not included (you can view the action from overhead but it only covers a small section of the pitch). Of course you don't have to watch a game but if you don't fancy generating an instant result you can sit through the text commentary. The problem with the text commentary is that it doesn't feed the imagination and all you get are very brief memo style notes that tell you little about what's going on. Player transfer fees and ratings are mostly inaccurate too which is annoying. Worst of all though is the unstable nature of the game. The game crashes back to the desktop frequently (we've tried the game on various PCs with the same result) in a variety of situations and there is still no sign of a patch to solve the problem.

How does it look?

FIFA Manager 06 actually looks pretty smart. Whilst the interface is unwieldy it certain looks smart and with the game having the FIFA licence you have quite a lot of player images and official team logos in the game. The game engine looks OK but could look better to be honest. That said though the player models and stadia look good enough and those want to see 3D matches will certainly be satisfied. As we implied above, the camera angles in the game are not really good enough for you to see if your tactics are working and the game could have done with a radar at the very least so you could see where your players are and how they are performing at all times. It's a shame that the game only supports the 1024x768 screen resolution though as if you're using a 17"or greater TFT screen, the text in the game will appear blurry.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

FIFA Manager 06 won't cause deaf gamers any problems. The 3D matches don't have commentary so you are not going to miss out on anything. All other details in the game are in text so there no problems at all for deaf gamers. The game manual has around 40 pages and it's fairly comprehensive in introducing you to the various features in the game.

Final thoughts.

Football management games live or die on their ability to mimic real life. In this respect FIFA Manager 06 falls short and doesn't reflect the real game in the slightest. As a game it's not bad at all but the match engine needs to be sorted out. Player animations are far too repetitive and too many basic errors occur during the game which often lead to goals. Rather more worrying is the game's tendency to crash to the desktop all too frequently. Of course a patch could fix this and judging from the official forum of the game a patch is due out fairly shortly which will hopefully sort the instabilities out. Out of a choice of 3 football management games FIFA Manager 06 is the second best you can buy but it's still a country mile from being number one.

 

Overall Game Rating: 5.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:


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FIFA Manager 06 is a competent football management game that has plenty of good features but lacks realism and a believable match engine. The biggest problem though is the instability of the game as it crashes quite frequently although thankfully a patch appears to be on the way.