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Sivosten webZine :: Football Manager 2008
Football Manager 2008

Author: Angel Genchev, Tuesday, 30 October 2007.

In Articles :: Games

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It's been a year and two patches, and finally the newborn of Sports Interactive saw the light of day. And quite ahead of the usually targeted Christmas market, as well.

For the hardcore manager, such as myself, SI introduce a handful of practical gadgets and cosmetic improvements in comparison with the predecessor FM07. The handy Transfer center and the considerable optimization of the News events, now divided into two separate screens (Inbox and News) come much useful to the player. But even handier is the long expected implementation of detailed coach reports on the players owned, now similar to the scout ones, including ability and potential analysis, in-squad comparison with others on the same position, and so on.

There are many more smaller advantages - the Calendar, the Important dates report; the Days-to-gain-nationality field in the player profile is quite convenient with the different league restrictions regarding work permits. And they have fixed the manager age "problem" at last - I'm not sure about the lower limit (I'm speculating on 25, but I haven't actually tried), but I find myself a bit more enthusiastic about being a 26-year-old young specialist rather than a 35-year-old one. The managers mentality is also much more accurate - I was quite surprised to find out that I'm being "very cautios", while applying a rather aggresive 3-4-3 formation for over a decade.

Theres just one thing I did not understand, both in this and the previous release - why one cant enter a media dialogue with a national manager... And I really had something to tell Mr. McLaren.

Anyway, most of the new stuff in FM08 in comparison with FM07 is just minor adjustments, and the fact that you can freely import tactics and trainings from the previous release only verifies that. I could single out three distinctive changes, although they play leading roles in the overall game progress.

First of all, the physical condition and the match practice have become really, really important - as it is supposed to be for the sake of realism. Now it is truly unwise to put a recently-recovered-from-injury or a long-term-non-used substitution directly into the first team. As for entering a new season without the proper off-hand - it's a natural disaster, believe me - I did so and the consequences are my torture to bear.

On a smaller scale, the same ground-rule is once again valid for the introduction of new signings. So be very careful when handling your selection, especially with some "brand new team" or "short bench" extravaganza. The goals are the cost, either missed or conceived.

The second major improvement is the divergence of confidence in several interdependant areas - financial politics, transfers and new players, competition progress, all of them dependant on smaller variables - for example, one very successful purchase could overrule a couple of misjudgements in the eyes of the fans and the board. And it's much better that way - I found it rather disturbing when after 14 years in charge of the anonymous Lancaster City, at the end of my second year in Premiership, which means climbing 5 divisions, I almost got fired for finishing just above the relegation zone. And it was the same year when my Dolly Blues lifted both the UEFA and the League Cup, though I was kicked out from the FA Cup the first game I played. I really miss this career. Anyway, now the balance of judgement has obviously moved in the right direction.

The final major change might look minor as it is, but after you've played a while you'll find it a great comfort. It's the possibility to adjust your budget between salaries and transfer funds any time during the season. And you will like to move it, move it.

In conclusion, Football Manager 2008 is once again the improved and ultimate leader in its genre. But yet, it's not absolutely spotless - with the recent additions, the game becomes even more complicated, and in my opinion its hardly user-friendly for a newbie with the gameplay refinements. But I suspect SIGames are well aware of that, and their real blow is to be expected next year, with the announced release of the massive online FM Live. And I must admit - as much as I like Hattrick, when a project of this magnitude is backed up by a corporation of the Sports Interactive calibre, its natural to be some light years ahead.

But that's all to come, for now - happy and prosperous FM08!

Commentary topic: http://www.sivosten.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=192255#p192255

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