Reviews// Football Manager 2007 (PS2/PC/360/Mac)

The truth hurts - Exeter City to Shrewsbury Town

Posted 20 Oct 2006 12:10 by
SPOnG says: Without playing FM2007 for months through at least five seasons, coming up with any realistic criticism of what it lacks or how the additions really add to the game is the act of a charlatan.

Anybody who tells you any different is lying. This is not a statement in expectation of a debate. Cease, as Bill Hicks would say, your internal dialogue.

If you are new to the genre, you have to understand that football management sims demand months of your time, energy, mental steel, patience and self-questioning agony before you can have any chance of recouping the cash you’ve paid out (let alone the relationships you’ve neglected).

If you’ve been hung on the hook of the footy manager sim, you will already be nodding sagely.

The new version of Football Manager underlines these points with a huge, red, stinking permanent marker.

No question.

So, if you are expecting this review to explain how the new feeder club system, board takeovers, player interactions, team talks, staff feedback, past experience, interface (‘flexion’ skin and all), scouting granularity, database selection, news-feeds and ‘scholars’ all come together at half-time of a late November six-pointer in your third season in control of Shrewsbury Town, after your star player has been nicked from under your nose following a venomous press release, which you sent in the heat of the moment, then you’ve got another thing coming, laddie (Phew! Tired Ed.)

As a sop to those who demand the kind of pat judgement that a review of say, an FPS can deliver - suffice to say that, based on an initial oh-too-few solid nights, mad on the compulsive draw of Football Manager 2007, well, it’s bloody marvellous.

However, if you stick around, SPOnG will be bringing you updates to this review as the year progresses.

This is the point when, traditionally in reviews of Football Manager, your reviewer is supposed to hark back to the beginning of the genre. Misty-eyed images of the adoration of Kevin Toms are supposed to be interlaced with, “When I was a lad, it was all Bundesliga Manager, and them lads knew how to get blood on their boots”.

Well, bugger all that. Let’s forget credentials and get into the fact that Football Manager 2007, like that execrable outing, My Defence by Ashley Cole, is here and now.

Unlike Rashley’s tome, however, Football Manager 2007 is definitely a rewarding experience. OK, I’m aware that not purchasing Cole’s opus to flash cash and cheap gash is also rewarding, but let’s move on.

Sega’s FM2007 is huge; it’s vast in fact. Like the game it seeks to emulate, it will suck you in and destroy any vestige of common sense, social interaction or perspective.

The fact that your team talk now comes before, during and after a game (rather than the latter pair), and that it can be tailored over time to suit individual players depending on their state of mind and sentience (we’ll leave Ashley there completely), means that you will no longer actually see real human beings as anything other than ‘punters’ or ‘stupid rugby-loving ponces’ or any of the other names heaped on the public by the fraternity called, ‘Guvnor’.

Forget life outside of the boardroom, the dressing room and behind that white line that separates you from the sheer pig ignorance (or godlike genius) of your team of over-priced (or brilliantly captured), preening (or booze-sodden) prima donnas (or donkeys). Once you’ve got your head around the control system, the flooding news, and the Nixonian politics of the game, well, once that’s happened you’ll be waiting for the 2008 version.

Let’s face it, FM2006 was largely maintaining a winning formula. FM2007, on the other hand, has seen the successes retained but new blood brought in.
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