FIFA Manager 07 PC DVD-ROM

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

In order for a football management game to come out of the shadow of the Football Manager series it has to offer something really different. It’s simply no good to just create a football management game that goes along the same lines, unless the game in question is something very special indeed. The Championship Manager series is a pale imitation of what it once was and to make matters worse the game’s creators, Sports Interactive have not long released the best game they’ve ever created in Football Manager 2007 widening the gulf between themselves and the competition. FIFA Manager 07 has its hands full then. Let’s see what it has to offer.

Setting up a new you’ll come across some rather strange options for a football management game. You can choose to be married, whether you have children or not and if the children have a disposition towards football. You can even choose to control a player throughout his career. The ‘normal’ options allow you to control just a club, a club and a nation, whether to turn off the option to be sacked and you can also turn on a display aid to allow you to see who the star players are. There are a ton of leagues to choose from and you can select the leagues and divisions you wish to run too. There are also a very nice amount of fully licensed leagues here. In fact, aside from the wackiness of dabbling in whether your manager is married or not and has kids that like football, the first impressions are quite favourable.

Unfortunately it all begins to go quite wrong for a variety of reasons. The interface might look very swish but it’s unwieldy and irksome to navigate. Having a wife may seem like a good idea but when the interaction simply requires clicking on buttons to give her presents, purchase items or have babies it soon becomes an annoyance. Within minutes of playing the game you are hit with news of stupid transfer activity such as Cassano leaving Real Madrid for Tottenham on loan and other world class players up and leaving for lesser teams (and I certainly mean no offence to Tottenham fans). The match engine is also a major source of disappointment. Yes a 3D match engine is offered and unfortunately it shows that 3D match engines have a hell of long way to go before they are considered realistic as you’ll see all kinds of weird player movements. You can choose to have text descriptions of the match instead of watching the game but this isn’t really any better. As basic as the 2D match engine in Football Manager 2007 may be in terms of appearance it allows you to fully understand if your tactics are working. The match analysis tool (MAT) does offer an FM like view of the game but you can only watch this after the events in the match have taken place therefore making it pretty useless to use to prevent problems occurring although it is a rather useful too as a post match analysis aid. The 3D match view does have a radar that allows you to view a rather basic 2D view of the match but it’s just not good enough. The act of controlling a player in the 3D match mode simply isn’t interesting due to the fact the player control is horrible and it’s a fair bet most won’t endure it for long.

So is FIFA Manager 07 a complete disaster then? In truth it isn’t and that’s what makes the games’ failings more annoying. The developers have obviously taken a leaf out of Sports Interactive’s books by using the sliders to allow you to tweak the tactics and it works quite nicely. You’ll get to run not only the first team but also reserves and youth teams. The virtual website is actually quite a nice touch and adds atmosphere to the game with its match summary and fan polls etc. The MAT is useful when you want to look back on a match and try to work out where things went wrong and what players actually did. The 3D match engine looks quite good from a technical standpoint. You can deliver half-time team and talks and you’re instantly told if the individual player talks have had an effect. In fact the game shows promise but sadly it hasn’t been realised.

It would be all too easy to look at our final rating for the game and simply come to the conclusion that we didn’t like the game. This isn’t the case. In fact there are parts of the game we really like. The interface looks great but could be easier to navigate by having a fixed sidebar to allow easy navigation. The MAT is rather useful but we would have liked a ‘live’ 2D match engine as an option. The whole marriage thing ought to be dropped or at least fully developed into some kind of role playing aspect. As it stands it’s a waste of time. Things need to be made more realistic and the crazy transfer activity needs to be sorted out for the next version. As for controlling a player it’s just a mess and it’s another thing I would cut for the next year’s game. As with all sports management games there are no problems for deaf gamers. That said, hearing gamers will hear the players call out to each other during a match (in 3D match mode).The real question is whether or not the developers can build on the potential that this game shows and deliver a good game next year. If they can we might have a worthwhile alternative in the world of football management simulations.

Overall Game Rating 5.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

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FIFA Manager 07 definitely has potential but there are several aspects of the game that require a lot of work.