PC ¦ PlayStation 3 ¦ Xbox 360 ¦ Wii ¦ DS ¦ PSP ¦ Others ¦ DGC Grade Table

LMA Manager 2007 PlayStation 2 & Xbox 360

Published by Codemasters
Developed by Codemasters
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £49.99 (Xbox 360) £34.99 (PlayStation 2)

LMA Manager 2007, an introduction

It’s that time of year again when the latest football management games begin to appear. First up this year is the latest entry in the LMA Manager series and this year sees the series make its debut on the next generation consoles. There was a time of course when LMA Manager was the only worthwhile football management game on the PlayStation but these days it’s a multi-platform series with LMA Manager arriving on the PC, Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 2. No longer is the game up against weak opposition and the expectation for each new version is greater than ever.  This review looks at the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 versions of LMA Manager 2007.

What’s the game about?

LMA Manager 2007 builds upon the success of previous games in the series by making some improvements and refining various aspects of the game. Once again you have a choice of the English, Scottish, Italian, Spanish, German, French, Dutch and Portuguese leagues to manage in.  Unlike the Football Manager series, the LMA Manager series allows you to do more than simply ‘manage’ your chosen team.  If you want to you can take on everything from the chairman’s role to the trainer’s role and much more. The series has never had the depth or realism of the Football Manager series but for those who like to see their matches played out in 3D it’s been the only serious option for quite some time now. It’s also more accessible than most football management games and you can choose to play in normal or expert mode with normal mode having an overall rating for players and the expert mode requiring you to work out how good a player is by analyzing each player’s statistics.

What’s good about the game?

Probably the most improved aspect is the match engine. Although it’s not perfect (as we’ll talk about in a moment) there’s no denying it’s improving. Player movements are better. There are more realistic animations this time around and the ball seems to deflect in a more realistic fashion although there are instances when the ball deflects in an unnatural manner.  The Xbox 360 version also has a match engine that looks significantly better than the PlayStation 2 version (which was to be expected). On starting a new game you can choose to either go with the data that was correct at the start of the season or download the latest data that takes into account all of the transfer activity before the transfer window closed. LMA Manager 2007 is the only football management game on the Xbox 360 that allows you to create your own team and play with them in a country of your choice.

Other improvements made in this year’s game include a reworked transfer system that allows you to negotiate in a more realistic fashion. The training system has also been improved and you can now alter the each player’s training schedules allowing you to find a regime that suits each player. Training matches can now be made longer if want to check how your players are progressing before you throw them into an important match. Some of your transfer budget can now be spent on ground improvements. The Xbox 360 version has been programmed to take advantage of its multi-core CPU meaning processing times are actually quite impressive. The Xbox 360 version allows you to watch highlights of any match in your division. The Xbox 360 version also allows you to store all of your game history which is a significant improvement on the season long limitations of the PlayStation 2 version. Unlike the Xbox, the Xbox 360 does have four buttons on its shoulder and can therefore have an identical control scheme to the PlayStation 2 version, which is as user friendly as ever.

What’s bad about the game?

Everyone who has played a football management game would admit there has yet to be a game that contains a 3D match engine that is truly convincing. Whilst LMA Manager 2007 has made some progress you can’t help but feel there are still problems that need to be ironed out. Certain deflections are just strange. Some player movements, whilst better, are occasionally unnatural and certain goals you’ll see again and again which is a little disappointing. Whilst saving your game is no problem on the Xbox 360 (in fact you can make do with a memory card) it may cause PlayStation 2 gamers a few problems if they don’t have the rather large requirements of 2MB of space on their memory cards.

Whilst this is the first appearance of the series on the Xbox 360 it must be noted that for PlayStation 2 owners who purchased LMA Manager 2006, the differences in LMA Manager 2007 are not that great. You’ll still see crazy transfer activity with teams putting in unrealistic bids for players and teams who haven’t got that much money seemingly buying players by the bucket load. In my game as the West Brom manager I was surprised to see Wolves offering £3,000,000+ for several players who were worth much less. This was odd because not only is it unusual for players to go from Wolves to West Brom (although it has happened) but it’s widely known that Wolves, like most teams, haven’t got money to throw around. I’ve also experienced teams agreeing a fee with me for a player only to cancel the transfer because they have the maximum allowed players in their squad, which is kind of annoying. I would have liked a third option when it comes to playing matches. Presently you can either watch the match (which takes some considerable time) or simply have the time tick away with no way of interacting with your team. It would have been nice to either have a detailed text commentary mode or have an option to watch a 2D overview of the action with the ability to change tactics and make substitutions.

How does it look?

There can be no denying that when viewing the match that the Xbox 360 version looks better than the PlayStation 2 version, even when viewed on a standard TV. Disappointingly though there are occasional frame rate dips on the Xbox 360 version that are not present on the PlayStation 2 version. The loading time for the match engine, on both versions, is quite long which is unfortunate. The presentation for both versions is actually pretty impressive with uncluttered screens and visuals that are easy on the eye. It’s a shame that most league tables don’t all fit on one screen and that you’ll need to scroll around but otherwise it’s difficult to fault the visual presentation of the game.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

LMA Manager 2007 is no different from previous titles in the series when it comes to how deaf gamer friendly it is.  All of the game’s information is displayed textually and numerically so there’s no problem there. The matches don’t have any commentary as such so there’s no need for any subtitles. By default the player’s names appear above their heads so you’ll know who each of them is. The match highlights do have commentary and this isn’t subtitled but in all honesty you probably won’t be bothering to watch the highlights all that often so it’s no real loss. The game manual weighs in at around 40 pages and does a good job of explaining what you can do in the game as well as the rules and regulations for each of the eight nations’ leagues that are included in the game.

Final thoughts.

Having played both of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 versions of LMA Manager 2007 I have to say both are enjoyable football management games. Without a doubt LMA Manager 2007 is the best football management game you can purchase on the PlayStation 2 console and is the only PlayStation 2 football management game I would consider. However, the changes from LMA Manager 2006 are not as numerous as you might have hoped for. Xbox 360 gamers have the impressive Football Manager 2006 of course but LMA Manager 2007 is also worthy of your attention. It’s not quite as realistic as FM2006 but it is more user friendly and is the only football management game on the Xbox 360 that allows you to watch your team in full 3D and give you total control over every aspect of running your chosen club.

Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

Once again the LMA Manager series has proved itself to be the best football management game on the PlayStation 2. It's also the only football management game on the Xbox 360 that gives you total control of your chosen club.