Though it offers some improvements, the continuing failure to address long-standing concerns is frustrating.

User Rating: 7.5 | Worldwide Soccer Manager 2007 PC
It is difficult to review a game such as Football Manager 2007. Though it is by itself an astonishing game, with a massive database and plethora of options, these factors are mostly the legacy of previous versions. Therefore, assessing a new version depends firstly on features added, secondly on existing issues refined, if not sorted out altogether. The former is a mixed bag in FM07, the latter is an issue.

Of the new features, the most impressive is the scouting. The idea of having players only available if they are well-known or revealed through your club's knowledge is a good one, and creates an interesting challenge particularly for smaller teams. Though it can be "cheated" somewhat - the assistant will still provide a fairly accurate opinion of an unknown player's ability - it does add a sense of scale and realism to the game world.

Club affiliations have their flaws. Though it can be nice to have a larger team sending down players as a parent, feeder clubs are often of little use. First-option on their players is next to useless, since they often have few players and are a drop in the ocean of the game world. Sending your players to affiliates to get work permits is a laborious and ultimately pointless process when you can sign so many EU players. The inability to direct the type of affiliate you want is also a flaw.

Team talks are limited and frustrating. Why can you not tell a player they are playing for their spot, or that the team needs a win? The extremely limited options mean there is little challenge or variation in this feature. Most frustrating are the problems that have been reported long ago, and are still not fixed. The link between performance, ability and reputation is inadequate, and players can go for ridiculous sums without ever performing on the pitch. Worse, computer player show little understanding of contracts. The user's players can be uncontracted, performing at the highest level and still be ignored by the computer. For instance, I had one who was third as Players Player of the Year in the Premier League while on a rolling contract, and was never once approached by another club. The computer also makes baffling decisions, such as keeping a third-choice keeper on massive wages at their club after his contract expired. Player AI with regard to contracts is also frustrating, with demands often jumping wildly out of proportion to performances. Manager contracts are both pointless and again do not reflect performance.

These are not new issues, and would be far better to focus on than new features. The lack of decent feedback on games, such as breakdowns of where shots come from (think the PES series) is baffling for a game which is supposed to promote in-depth strategic thinking.

Until these problems are resolved, the progression of the FM series will be impeded no matter how many new features are tacked on. Each game is still terrific, but the flaws continue to hold it back from true brilliance.