FIFA Manager 2008 PC Review
I am sure right now at this very moment in time you think you are better than Steve McClaren. It can’t be that hard to stand under an enormous, near comical umbrella for 45 minutes, can it? However, regardless of your thoughts on the current England international situation it has to be said that it’s a great example of why football management games sell so well. It is this heartbreaking disappointment of the real life game that makes you want to right the wrongs you have seen befall your team, and make them perform to the standard you think they should be in each and every game.
Of course, the Football Manager series is the go to game if you want these thrills, but competition most certainly breeds excellence so it is nice to see another company pushing to try and catch up with its near legendary status in the field. Thankfully, FIFA Manager puts in a respectable effort, and right from the outset does its best to differentiate itself from the SEGA published table topper.
Certainly, based upon first impressions, it is clear to see each game has its own unique identity, with FIFA Manager been very liberal in giving you a roll that involves more than just managerial duties. If this is not initially obvious but after you pass the first few screens it definitely gets much more noticeable. Sure, winning games is still the most important part of you job, and you will get sacked (without a stupidly high amount of compensation) if you don’t perform, but now there is also a collection of other tasks to amuse.
Options such as been able to set ticket prices, plan stadium expansion, and announce supporter days are all more or less expected for the game. Stadium expansion is particularly well done, with many options available to get your ground to look just the way you want – should you have the money available of course! However, tip of the bunch is the option to have a considerable amount of control over your personal life, with options for many different social events, the relationship between you and your wife/girlfriend, and even the rearing of your children all included in the game. Initially, while these may seem like staggering additions – they did for me anyway, as the last five years have been all Football Manager for me – they do work, and failure to manage them right will be detrimental to your time at the club.
Still, the game is just as stat filled as you’d expect, perhaps even surpassing expectations. In fact, if you were to set up the game to let you have full control over ever facet of both club and personal life then an almost infinite number of stats, facts and figures will appear before you to truly bemuse even the most ardent fans on the genre. However, if you just round this down to the normality of team management then it really shows Bright Future have put a lot of work in where it really matters to make FIFA Manager 2008 a respectable addition to the genre.
Transfers are fun to partake in, making it truly seem like a fight to get the player you need without ever feeling unfair. Even better, the media features on show are the best seen in the genre, with great press articles informing you of important events. Tactics and Training also have all the familiar bar-sliding options you need to set up the team just as you want. Furthermore, even the 3D match engine manages to look and feel believable, but regretfully seem to crucially lack the ability of being able identify on-field tactical problems with ease. Also, it is home to some particularly annoying commentary, but that can be overlooked as it does not directly affect gameplay. Finally the overall menu layout is eye-catching, and is certainly more visually appealing than what’s on show in rival games, but is also regretfully a bit more cluttered than needed, with an almost overabundance of information appearing on each and every screen.
So, regardless of its many extras, visual splendour and gorgeous presentation, the game seems to lack the appeal of Football Manager. Yes, it is fun to play, which is an impressive feat in its own right, but you never really get the ‘one more go’ feeling that these type of games need to be truly successful. In truth, when all is said and done, the game is best seen as a compliment to SI’s latest effort rather than being the go to game for budding mangers. Sure, FIFA Manager 08 is without doubt an acceptable side dish, but if you are looking for it to serve as a filling main course then you will still be left feeling hungry. And no, I don’t know how I managed to end this review with a food metaphor either.
Great game, could be quality with some refinement.