Thursday, November 13, 2008
For someone who plays Football Manager religiously, I was extremely excited to test out the new Football Manager 2009 game on my PC. Football Manager 2009 will be released on November 14 (hey, that's tomorrow!) for PC and Mac on DVD and there will be a handheld version of the game for PSP. For this review, I tested out the demo version which is available for download here.
Football Manager 2009 has all the old goodies that I like from the 2008 and earlier versions. You'll get the very latest in squad updates and managerial changes but don't expect to find Harry Redknapp at Tottenham. I was told the game was completed just before that appointment was made.
There are several new features in Football Manager 2009 that I would like to talk about. Firstly, the 3D Match Engine. I have to admit that I have always loved playing Football Manager in its simplest form so I was a bit doubtful if the new 3D Match Engine will add anything good to my experience of playing this game. Well, surprise, surprise, the 3D Match Engine blew me away completely. It allows you to view matches in 3D from multiple camera angles and re-watch any part of the match by fast forwarding and rewinding the action using a new match time bar that flags the key moments in the game. You can see the players do flicks, dribble, shoot and make all sort of movements on the pitch. In fact, from now on, I can't play the game without the 3D mode. It's really that addictive. But for those of you who prefer "old school", the old 2D view of the match engine is still there.
Other new features that I like are Assistant Manager Feedback, Preferred Moves and Transfer Rumours. In Assistant Manager Feedback, you as the manager, get pre-match and in-match feedback from your Assistant Manager on how the team is performing and your player’s motivation levels. He also provides you with hints on how your tactics are working and how you could outwit the opposition’s tactics.
Preferred Moves allow you to train your players to learn certain skills/moves to add to their game. For example, you can instruct your wingers to do stepovers before crossing the ball.
And which football fan doesn't like reading about transfer rumours? The new Football Manager has a new Transfer Rumours engine for the manager to view the latest news on what players are being speculated on, and who’s said to be interested in securing their services.
Ok. Now to some of the not so good points about Football Manager 2009. You need a really fast computer with at least 512MB RAM (Windows XP) or Vista: 1GB RAM (Vista) and a 128MB video card with supported chipsets to enjoy the game's 3D match engine. I tried using a machine with 500MB RAM and the 3D match engine doesn't play. You can still play the game though but features like the 3D match engine will be automatically disabled when using less powerful computers.
Setting a match can also be real slow for those not on fast machines. It could take as long as 30 secs! Painful wait for those who just want to get on with the match as quickly as possible.
In Tactics, there's no more old style arrows where you can instruct your players to run diagonally or drop back using a "curve arrow". All players in the new Football Manager can only be instructed to move forward or backwards in a straight vertical line.
The new Press Conferences can also be a hassle for those who don't like to wait too long for a match to begin. Managers have to attend pre-match and post-match press conferences with local and national journalists and build up relationships with them over time. It takes a bit of your precious time but you can of course send your Assistant Manager to those press conferences if you prefer to skip them.
Overall, Football Manager 2009 lives up to its reputation as the world's best football management simulation game and for football fans, there's nothing like managing your favourite club all the way to glory. Most of us can't be real football managers but with Football Manager 2009, we can at least live our dreams of having the greatest job on Earth. That said, you have to excuse me now. I have to take my beloved Spurs to the top of the Premier League.
Posted by I.Z. Reloaded at 1:38 PM
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