Sports Interactive's best game to date combines stability and variety in a truly immersive football experience.
- Amazing depth
- Great long-term options
- Realistic match engine
- Improved scouting
- More help for beginners.
- Fairly basic sound.
Football Manager 2007 is Sports Interactive's third game since leaving the Championship Manager name behind, and while it's a case of evolution rather than revolution, it turns screens of statistics into something so absorbing that it is possible to lose entire hours, days, and weeks of your life.
The game, like most of its genre, thrusts you into the front line of football management at a club of your choosing. Where that may be is entirely up to you, and FM 2007 provides an almost endless list to choose from. You can choose from the glamour of Barcelona or AC Milan, head to smaller clubs such as Accrington Stanley or Woksop, or take a punt with clubs from leagues you've almost certainly not heard of, such as the Hong Kong First Division. You can manage any of these clubs--and even international teams, should you so desire.
After you're installed in your new job, you'll need to inspect your squad to work out where your team's strengths and weaknesses lie. That's something that may be much easier to do with big clubs, especially those with players you're familiar with, than it would be in lower league teams, so if you're a beginner you might find it easier to start off with either a top team or one you know well.
You'll also start your management job with some idea of what the board and fans of your chosen club are hoping you'll achieve over the course of the season. Managers of football clubs live and die by results, so if the board is expecting promotion and you're delivering too many losses, you may find that your first contract ends prematurely. However, if that does happen, it's not the end of the game; you can apply for jobs with other clubs that have vacancies at any time, and you can even throw your hat into the ring anywhere if an incumbent manager's position is looking shaky.
Once you have a feel for your players, either through real-life knowledge or some careful inspection of the players' relative statistics, you can begin to construct your title-winning team, choosing a formation and tactics that best fit the level at which you're playing. This can change from division to division, but while world-class players might prefer slick, fast, passing manoeuvres and elegant counterattack play, you'll probably be happy for your inexperienced, unfit, part-time lower league players to just lump the ball unceremoniously up the field at any opportunity--hit and hope.
As well as deciding whether to play 4-4-2, 4-3-3, or one of any number of other formations, you'll need to keep an eye on the financial state of the club, as this will give you an indication of what your transfer budget might be. Again, this reflects directly on the level at which your team competes, but unless your club is in debt, there's usually something in the kitty.
Having financial acumen is crucial, especially at smaller clubs, and you'll want to send out scouts to watch prospective transfer targets. FM 2007 introduces a new format to this section of the game, adding in knowledge bars for scouts based on their past experience. Some of them will specialise in certain countries or regions, and while smaller clubs might confine missions to a relatively local area, if you want to compete on the world stage you'll want a good depth of global knowledge at your disposal. Particularly important are staff members with South American experience, which may let you tap into the potentially priceless players of the Brazilian and Argentinean leagues and uncover the next Pele or Maradona before anybody else--and before the price gets too high.
Larger clubs will also have youth academies, which will give you an influx of youngsters each year, some of whom may make it through the youth and reserve teams and even break into your first-team squad over time. And another nice addition this year is the option to ask the board to consider setting up a formal arrangement with another club to send or receive players on loan. These agreements, known as feeder or parent clubs, can be very useful for big teams, allowing them to farm out promising youngsters for valuable first-team experience, and for small teams that would never normally be able to attract the young talent. It's something that has been around for a few years in real life, and it's great to be able to see the relationships transfer into the game.
- Player Reviews: 51
- Game Universe:
- Worldwide Soccer Manager 2006 (PC, MAC, PSP, X360),
- Worldwide Soccer Manager 2007 (PC, MAC, X360, PSP),
- Worldwide Soccer Manager 2005 (PC),
- Football Manager (PC, AMI),
- Football Manager: World Cup Edition (C64, AMI),
- Football Manager 2 (C64, CPC, PC, ST, ZX, AMI),
- Football Manager (C64, CPC, BBC),
- Football Manager 2004 (MOBILE)
- Number of Players: