Oh no, not another footy game I hear you cry. Now with EA Games releasing Fifa 07 and Konami releasing Pro Evolution Soccer 6 and Codemasters new LMA Manager 2007, isn’t releasing another football game just a bit too much? Well not really because this has got to be the best yet. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Football Manager 2007 is a huge improvement over its counterpart. Let’s see why.
Football Manager has remained a classic game since they first came on to the scene way back in 1992 with the Original Titled ’’Championship Manager” which for the first time gave the gamer a chance to manage their favourite club and take their team into the history books. The big question you have to ask yourself is ‘Can you be the next Jose Mourinho or Alex Ferguson?’
Sports Interactive bought the series to the Xbox 360 earlier this year with Football Manager 2006, which wasn’t a huge success but undeterred, SI have came back with Football Manager 2007 which I feel is the fastest, easiest, and most accessible version available to date.
Sega and Sports Interactive have really taken on board the fans comments and criticism to release an amazing football manager experience directly on to the Xbox 360, and have added over 100 new additions and 3 exclusive Xbox Live gameplay modes. But with all these new additions, is it really worth the £39.99 price tag? Let’s find out.
The first thing I noticed that Football Manager 2007 has over its predecessor was a huge improvement on how Sports Interactive wanted to appeal to new Football Manager Fans. With useful hints and tips during the processing stages of the game, and an improved tutorial, plus more feedback from your coaches and assistant managers, the added content will give you a better feel for how your team is performing. This can be a little overwhelming at times, but really does work well once you’ve got used to it. But Sports Interactive hasn’t stopped there – Oh no. There’s been a huge shake up in the way that youth teams are now set up and you can now see full youth squads for every team that has set-up a youth club, which is brilliant as it’ll give your players a regeneration in the game.
Another very cool addition I noticed was that you can now give your players a team talk before, during, and after the game. So you can now send your team out with a fighting spirit, or at half time give them a good talking too, or a pat on the back which will affect how they play for the rest of the game.
The most requested feature on the Sports Interactive official forum and unofficial forums has been to add Feeder Team’s also known as ‘’Farm Team’s’’ into the game, which thankfully they’ve responded to. Now feeder team’s work just as you’d expect them to work, allowing larger clubs to set up an affiliation with smaller clubs and vice versa to let their not so experienced players get some first team games to improve their stats and knowledge of the professional game. And for the most improved players, the Feeder Team program promises them a place in big club football. You’ll also be able to set up regular friendlies with other Feeder Teams around the world, and/or loan players to the club to help them build up their team sheet.
No attempt has been made by Sports Interactive to liven up the screen’s with music and sounds but you do have dynamic crowd noises that will get louder or quieter depending on how your team is doing on the pitch, It’s a real shame, as while surfing through the menu screen’s you do become just a little bit bored, It would of been nice to have some background noise. (Buy an I-pod with FM07). Hopefully next year SI can introduce music and more in-depth crowd sounds, which don’t cut out during half-time.
As for the graphics, there isn’t really that much to say, as most of the action takes place on spread sheets with the only animated screens being on the pitch during games which could now use an update with 3D models to immerse you that little bit more, and give you a better chance to review the match. But this is only a small complaint. With this said, Sports Interactive have worked hard to build a whole new interface to make the game easier to pick up and play, without all the clutter found in earlier versions.
So in the very exciting world that is football, with managers and players always being in the media, and with this being an authentic simulation management game, you will now be able to address the media, and what better way to give your players the respect that they deserve than in the eyes of the press. FM2007 offers you more versatility in terms of what you can say in the media, and the media as a whole seem to play a larger part of the game, asking you leading questions that will determine your attitude toward an injury, and so on.
Going on to the Xbox Live side of the review, you’ll be glad to read that the Xbox Live vision Camera is supported while I have not been able to use this feature; it is believed that you’ll be able to take your photo and use it in your manager’s profile. This is a very neat idea indeed.
One of the three exclusive Xbox Live modes is the ‘Fantasy Draft’ which is new to the Football Manager series on the Xbox 360, letting you have up to eight players, build their fantasy squad from a huge database and battle it out via Xbox Live, in a selected cup or league to see who has created the best football team.
Now for all you achievement lovers out there, Football Manager 2007 has 50 achievements for you to try and get that famous 1000GS, from signing that first superstar to your team down to taking your club to victory and winning that magical cup. A full list of Achievements can be found on our achievments page for the game.
So, the most important part of the review, Is this worth the price tag of £39.99? In short, definitely. With improved scouting and very in-depth single and multiplayer game modes, this has got to be the best football management game in quite a while. And with a replay value to die for, it’s time to let the manager inside of you come out.