I’d like to start this post with a public service announcement; Football Manager Steals Lives. Our own Matt will agree will this assessment, as his review will explain that it’s still the same addictive managerial experience it has been in the past. Game isn’t helping matters either by providing this deal that not only puts this dangerous title at a tenner, but nets you a saving of almost a fiver over the next cheapest retailer at ShopTo. In all seriousness though, it’s a great deal for the wannabe managers amongst you, and for this price you’ll be forgiven for giving in to the obsession once again. Thanks to nictster08 @ HUKD!
I’ll start this post with a warning; Football Manager 2011 steals lives. Our editing overlord Matt will testify to that as he fell to its addictive nature yet again, and you can read all about it in his review. For the most part, it’s the same statistics song and database dance you’ll come to expect from management sims, but to keep things fresh Sports Interactive have added some new features, including the ability to relive the Wayne Rooney farce by having “head-to-head” negotiations with your players and their agents over contracts. In addition there are several other improvements with the interaction in many areas of the game making it arguably the most accessible entry in the series so far.
There's often not much to choose between sports titles, such is the annual nature of the genre, but there were a few surprises in 2010 to be found. First of all, the fight between PES and FIFA proved to be much closer than that in 2008 and 2009, with Konami implementing some brilliant new features and EA reminding everyone that football is a contact sport. It's difficult to mention sports games in the past twelve months too without acknowledging motion control. Both PS Move and Kinect enjoyed popular sports collections upon release, putting a slightly new spin on things and creating new possibilities for the fitness game niche in the process.
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If our failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup has you weeping into your England flag, then fret no longer, as HMV have slashed the price of Football Manager 2011 to just £14.99. Forget Russia's dubious win, simply sign on to your best team as their new manager and lead them to virtual glory. I should warn you, however, Football Manager is as damaging as substance abuse. It's just too damn real. I once found myself berating my team at half-time, threatening to delete the game from my hard-drive if Van Persie didn't start hitting the back of the net. Suffice to say, I need help.
Whether you're the biggest football fanatic in the world or somebody who can't stand the game, the chances are at some point or another regardless of your enjoyment of the sport, you'll have drifted into the world of the Football Manager games. If you have, then you'll more than likely have had your life completely taken over by at least one of the titles in the series, and your friends may well have witnessed the almost immediate change in you, from somebody with an active social life, to a reclusive hermit who can't tear themselves away from the screen. So, whilst £17.99 is a good price, you'll also have to decide whether or not you can commit a significant portion of your time to the game as well, because you WILL become addicted to it! Thanks to DMcG1873 @ HUKD.
As inevitable as the tide, the next iteration of the Football Manager series is fast approaching release. For the most part, it’s the same statistics song and database dance you’ll come to expect from management sims, but to keep things fresh Sports Interactive have added some new features, including the ability to relive the recent Wayne Rooney farce by having “head-to-head” negotiations with your players and their agents over contracts. In addition there are several other improvements with the interaction with many areas of the game but the main portion of the game remains the same. With a pre-order price point like this one it’ll be hard for the die hard fans to resist.
If you don't like football, you might have never played a Football Manager game. If you do, you'll be champing at the bit to get the latest news straight from the horse's mouth. David Brown strapped on Miles Jacobson's nose bag, marked “Studio Director at Sports Interactive” in solid gold lettering, and guided him nicely into the interview pasture, where he grazed on delicious questions and spewed out nourishing answers to help the expectations of all fans to grow. Enough with the equine analogies, on with the words:
DB – Talk to us about the new Reserves and B-Team changes you've made.
Miles Jacobson – Basically, there are some countries where the game sells really well, but we're not modelling their leagues in the right way. In Spain, as an example, Barcelona have a B team and a C team who are both involved in the league structure, they're not just a reserve team. There were some issues that were reported to us about moving players around in those leagues and when those players had to be registered by. Then we got some feedback from Denmark as well, which is one of our strongest territories, saying that the amateur side of the game in Denmark is wrong. You know, teams of different stages will become amateur and, when they get into certain divisions, they can't be any more. It ended up, going through it all, that there were around 20 countries that were featured in the game that had either B team or amateur set ups that we were doing generically and were doing generically incorrectly.
There were some changes that needed to be made in those areas and we worked with people from those countries to make sure we could get it as accurate as possible. It's the kind of anal level of detail that we look at with the game, but that's what makes it what it is. We're being used in university courses now, which there'll be more about later in the year, to do with sports science and sports law.
DB – Would it be interesting to manage a reserve, like start at, say, Liverpool as the reserve team manager and try to make a name for yourself that way?
MJ – No, and the reason I say no so quickly is it's been brought up a couple of times before. It'd be kind of boring, because you wouldn't be doing any transfers. If you were managing just the B team, which you can do as Castilla (Real Madrid's B team that plays in the lower leagues in Spain – Ed), that’d be fine; but if you were managing just Liverpool reserves, it's the simple case, for me, that most reserve teams are told what tactic to play by the main manager. There might be three or four players that they actually get to pick, whereas the others are the main manager saying “I want you to play this guy at left wing, this guy at left back.” There's just not much to do as a reserve team manager.
DB – How similar is the new set piece creator to the one introduced in the latest Championship Manager game?
MJ – Nothing like it at all. If you remember the tactics creator from last year, that's what the set piece creator's like. It's basically a way to go through the different options you can do for set pieces and to create different set pieces for different tactics you're going to use. It's there so that you can set up your set pieces and get your team training in those as part of the match preparation module. It's not there to find exploits in the match engine, it's not there to set it up doing silly things that you couldn't do in real life. It's a very sensible wizard system for helping you do set pieces, and one of the reasons it went in was we found people didn't really edit their set pieces much, yet when I've been going off to training sessions at clubs, it's a very important part of what they train in before matches.