LMA Manager 2007 Review
LMA games are a little bit like EA titles; they keep chugging along year in year out and never fail to release a new title for the start of the footie season. The latest version of the game LMA 2007 has now ventured into the next-gen realm and has been released on the Xbox 360. Of course with a game like this you don’t expect awesome next-gen graphics or flawless cut scenes, but instead you expect to play a game with an immersive single player mode, a game which makes you think with your very own brain (that’s the thing at the top of your head). So is it as good as or better than previous instalments? Well let’s find out.
Now the reason so many people buy games such as LMA is because it lets you live the dream of winning something with your favourite footie team (a dream I know oh so well). It puts you in the managers seat where you have to bring in new signings, get rid of dead weights, create new stadiums, upgrade training conditions, work out team tactics, sign new advertising deals, choose your captain and of course choose your team.
The first thing you have to do in LMA is in fact choosing whether or not you want to take control of all of your teams duties or if you need some help from the computer. You can opt to get a member of staff to sort out player contracts and another staff member to sort out stadium upgrades and advertising contracts. Personally I always choose the full control option as upgrading your stadium and wrestling with players over their contracts is what makes this game so addictive and it’s just so dull if the computer does everything for you. It’s like your mum feeding you while making plane noises, great when you were 5 but now you want to make the plane noises yourself.
If official teams aren’t your thing then you can set up a fantasy single player career where you are given £65,000,000 and £800,000 in wages to create a team to take the world on with. 65 mill sounds like every boys dreams, but after you sign two big strikers and you will find yourself struggling for cash and you’ll end up selling them in the Jan transfer market anyway. So really it’s always best to start with the real deal whether your team is Newcastle (the best team and that’s not open to discussion), Lyon, Real Madrid, Cheltenham Town or Rangers.
In total there are eight playable countries including England, Scotland, Spain, Italy and a few others all of which have a number of different leagues to choose from. Like a few other LMA titles though there are a number of countries where you can’t manage, but you can still buy players from them … weird but I’m guessing they were trying to save space or something.
A new feature in this game is manager customisation, its nothing like Saints Row, but it’s nice all the same. You can change the mangers face and also the clothes that he’s wearing to make him look hipping and a hopping. Next you have to select a difficulty and if you choose expert then you have to really follow football to create a great team as expert mode takes away the player ratings. So in other words when you buy a new player you either have to remember who’s worth looking at from the real world or you have to just guess as there are no ratings to compare your players with the transfer listed strikers.
The other difficulty setting obviously puts the rating bars back in and it’s perfect for those who don’t follow football as you can then compare the various player skills. Finally you will have the chance to download the latest transfer stats from the marketplace for free. This is great as the game doesn’t include many of the signings that switched clubs on the final transfer day like Siberski from Man City to Newcastle.
Once you’ve done all that you will then be transported to the main manager’s page and you will immediately see just how easy it is to navigate. The menu is split in two, on the top half are all the ‘categories’ like email, transfer market, squad etc… then on the second layer there’s the sub categories, so in other words if you go to the Transfer Market the sub-categories will then give you the option of going to your shortlist, transfers, contracts and the setup is the same throughout all the categories.
To actually flick between the various categories you simply have to tap the right and left bumpers and then you have to tap the right and left triggers to change sub-categories. I mean it couldn’t be any simpler. Once you have reached your sub-categories you will then have to use any one of the coloured buttons to navigate through the page. Throughout all this there is in fact a little bar which gives you the various commands that you need to use, they’ve made it so easy that a blindfolded two year old could select a team, buy Ronaldhino and win the FA Cup (he says as he blindfolds his lil sister).
The game will get you thinking pretty intensely as you will find yourself sorting out your teams training regime and this can be done by grouping the whole team and telling them all what to do, but for the perfect results then its best if you set individual regimes for each team member. A long and arduous job, but if you manage to do it right you will be unstoppable. At the end of the week you will be sent a training report so you can see who’s been doing the best, which again if you read you will realise that some of your first teamers shouldn’t be in the… well first team for their upcoming match.
So now we come to the actual match and you will be pretty busy as there’s so much you can change. Granted sometimes you won’t want to go into the match engine and instead opt to simply let LMA predict the score for you, but when you do watch games you will find that you will be able to change your team in so many ways.
You can of course do the simple things like change penalty takers and substitute players for tactical or injury purposes. You can also shout or scream (well you don’t actually shout) commands to your team, for example you can tell them to go all out attack and throw everyone forward, or you can do the opposite and get every one behind the ball defending. You can also order your team to throw long balls forward or you can tell them to hold on to the ball and keep possession. Finally if you’re team is 2-0 down and you’re being outplayed you can only do one thing and that’s change your formation which can again be done in an instant and can turn the tide in a match.
There is also a setting that will speed the match up which you will end up doing a lot of the time as the crowds on this game aren’t worth talking about. At least when your in fast mode you can put a little green trail on the ball so you can keep up with the match and see what’s happening. If things have just become to embarrassing and you’re losing five nil to Accrington Stanley then you can skip the match and the game will predict the score of the match within ten seconds.
When the match does end you will be transported to the Football One news centre where all the latest news, results and league tables are on show. This is actually a rather neat little feature, for one you can keep an eye on the transfer market through this. Plus if there’s a huge transfer signing, or match result it will become a newsflash and with that comes a neat little video voiced over by the legend that is Gary Linekar. There is a highlights section (which is self-explanatory), but to be honest I never once used it and I doubt that many people will use it as it takes an age to load and its not exactly exciting, if you know what I mean.
Graphics can’t be judged like normal games as it’s not a game which is meant to ‘WOW’ you. LMA’s match’s, despite having occasional glitches like balls bouncing of players and your team running the ball of the pitch for no reason, still looks pretty good. I mean it’s a lot better than previous versions and I would much rather watch the LMA matches than coloured dots moving about on my screen. The newsflashes are also a nice little touch which looks very nice indeed. The actual menu system looks very slick, it’s designed perfectly and everything from the mini stadiums to the menu banners look very swish. Overall the game looks simple yet swish.
This game can connect to Xbox Live, but it’s not to play multiplayer matches, but instead it’s so you can download updated player stats. Technically speaking they could keep this game out on the marketplace for the next few years and just keep updating it every 6 months. That as we already know won’t happen as it would mean Codemasters will be making no additional profit on the game and profit is everything to a company as big as Codemasters.
Overall the game is a great game for both Novice’s and Pro’s alike. The game requires a lot of in-depth thought if you want to become truly unstoppable, then again you can just let rip with a team of unfit, unorganised chavs just for the fun of it. The result of that is hilarious to say the least. LMA looks nice, the match engine is awesome and it’s unbelievably addictive. You will find yourself at 2am saying ‘just one more game’ and that one game will suddenly last 12 days 3 hours and 38 minutes. This is better than Football Manager 2006 without a shadow of a doubt and I would definitely recommend this to any footie fan.
Originally Written By: Lee Matthews