Football fans prepare yourselves! The ultimate football manager simulation is back! Work will be left undone, dishes unwashed, beds not done, girlfriends and wives neglected. Yes, for the uninitiated, FM is really that addictive. I kid you not.
And it is with great difficulty, that I pry myself away from the game and present you here with the full game review of Football Manager 2008.
What’s good: Numerous improvements, faster loading and processing
What’s bad: No new tactical options
FM08 is choke full with new features, but despite its many improvements, one of the first things that you’ll notice is that it runs faster. Amazingly, Sports Interactive, the creators of FM, have managed to reduce loading and processing times and that can only be a good thing. Even on my almost 3 year old system, running 3 leagues and managing 4 teams simultaneously was a breeze and I experienced no severe lag nor extreme loading/processing times.
The next thing you’ll probably notice, apart from the new skin, is FM08’s new match day feature called ‘Match Flow’, which is in fact a second match engine. With ‘Match Flow’, we now get both pre and post game analysis as well as an improved team-talk system. It also allows you to alter team tactics on the fly, without the need to pause. All things considered, ‘Match Flow’ is a welcome addition, but apart from the pre and post game analysis, there is really nothing much to cheer about. Commentary remains largely unchanged and there are no new team tactics options either.
Another significant improvement made in FM08 is the ability to manage clubs’ funds. Need more money to sign Kaka? Take excess funds from the wage budget and channel it directly to transfer funds. This is one of the more useful and thoughtful improvements. With this, managers now have more freedom and flexibility when it comes to signing players.
Board and supporters’ confidence have also been revamped. They are now more informative and will even tell you things like “They feel XXX player is a good signing” or “They feel XXX player is a poor acquisition”. It will even notify you of specific results that supporters feel were particularly damning.
Training and scouting functions have been upgraded as well. Coach and scout reports are now more detailed and that is really especially helpful when deliberating on a potential signing. Of course, the accuracy of the report remains largely dependent on the skill of your coach/scout.
There are also many other minor improvements as such a new player awards system that has more awards and is also more accurate. There is also the ‘Transfer Center’ which allows managers to monitor the club’s transfer activities in one convenient screen. In addition, the player and team statistics screen have also been revised to allow for easier and faster viewing.
As you can see, this FM08 is in many ways superior to last year’s offering. It not only runs faster but also incorporates many new features that are both useful and notable. However, I would have liked to see more changes made in respect to the tactical aspect of the game. It is here where FM08 falls short. This is after all Football Manager, and tactics should be its emphasis. Team and player instructions sadly remain the same and in my opinion, FM could really do with a more flexible player positioning system.
However, even without new tactical options, FM08 is still by far the most accomplished football management simulation I have ever played. The lack of new tactical options is a letdown to be sure, but the numerous new features and options more than make up for it. Fans of the FM series should definitely check it out.