Football, football, football. It’s all that’s bloody on TV these days. Great, isn’t it?
Our love of Sports Interactive’s seminal Football Manager games is easy to see from our [previous reviews]( http://www.mansized.co.uk/reviews/review.phtml/344/471) of the series. And each of those massively high scores has been well and truly deserved.
Though last year’s port of the previously PC only series to Sony’s PSP was an unbridled hit, there’s always room for a little updating, additions and all round tweakage. So SI and Sega are back once again with the 2007 iteration.
So does all the tinkering make it worth shelling out all over again for football management on the move? You’re damn well right it does! With a list of extras longer than anything we’ve previously seen, they’re on to yet another winner. Those shareholders must be very happy people.
As much as we’d love to give you a huge run through of the ideas behind the Football Manager series, surely the name itself is more than enough, right?
No? Well, Football Manager has always given you room to choose what you want to do. Want to take over Chelsea and set them on course as the world’s most powerful club by nabbing the best youngsters worldwide? Go for it. Fancy taking charge of a Conference South club and turning them into Champions League qualifiers? No problem, although we’ll see you back here in a couple of years.
But what’s made the 2007 such a different prospect than previous years has been the heightened sense of realism. Previously, you could have taken a struggling League 2 side to the Premiership title within 5 years with some kind of super tactic. This time around, you need to gradually build a squad capable of slowly making their way up the leagues, assemble a quality coaching team, set up a scouting network and link up with an Asian club to bring in some much needed revenue.
And all this has once again been gloriously transferred to the PSP. Though last year’s iteration was indeed a hit, it was missing a large portion of what made the PC version so great.
Firstly, the "Fog of War" that hides the attributes of un-scouted players makes creating a cracking scouting network an absolute must. All you need is to make one wrong purchase due to a poor scout recommendation that takes up your entire transfer budget and you’ll be languishing in the relegation spots. With the way managers are being fired left right and centre this season, you’d soon be out of a job.
Your coaches give much more detailed reports too, informing you on who happens to be putting in the extra hours in training and which fancy dan thinks they’re too important to get some work done on the training pitch. Again, you need assemble a coaching team you know and trust. Plus, getting a tactical coach who shares your formation choices always makes things much much easier.
In fact, just about everything is improved. There’s more places to manage, more clubs to scout, the in game engine – although still not as visual as the PC version – in particular has had a large amount of work ploughed into it and it’s even much speedier than last year’s model.
Hence, Football Manager Handheld 2007 receives the same high score as its PC brother. Packing the same addictive gameplay and allowing us to carry it anywhere in the palms of our hands, FMH2007 stands as the true high point for other handheld ports to aspire towards. Just don’t follow our lead and be on it all the time at work. Doubt the boss will like that.