Football Manager 2007

excellent
key review info
  • Game: Football Manager 2007
  • Platform: PC
  • Gamepad support: N/a
  • Reviewed on:
  • Written by: Alexandra Dogaru
  • Show system requirements

Another year has passed and it was about time for our football managerial skills to be put to work again. Now, football (or "soccer", as the Americans call it) has always attracted a huge number of fans. It doesn't really matter whether we're experts on game tactics and read all the articles out there on newly discovered players or just love to gather around from time to time and encourage our favorite team while grabbing a bottle of beer and some popcorn (or peanuts - whatever suits you best). I pretty much doubt there's even one guy out there that is incapable of a few tricks with the famous round ball. It's fun to test your physical abilities against friends and it's just as captivating to talk for hours about what went on in last night's match. It's great to state your opinion on who's to blame and who's to praise, who's fully fit and who needs a more intense training. And above all these, it's even more challenging to manage your own team. It's probably what the developers at Sports Interactive Games thought too, because each year they give in their best to come up with the best football manager game there ever was. I must admit (despite the new SEGA partnership - as Eidos seemed to loose their faith in the series) they pretty much rose to the expectations with Football Manager 2007.

Concept
It all starts one day as you decide to take up a new job. Well, you probably got tired of everybody being a little suspicious whenever you say Ronaldo is starting to get old and an adequate replacement should be found as soon as possible. Now it's your time to shine. Create a small resume and apply for any job as coach. At first, the list of choices will seem quite narrow, but as you advance up the ladder and you obtain world recognition the greater teams will spoil you with more and more attractive offers. Prepare to walk on a path that will take you to most of the football cups of the world. You'll be able to keep an eye on whatever competition you may desire (and keep it as wide opened or shut as you like).

Once you apply for a job, give the club a few days to reply. Usually, if there's a job offer, then you'll probably get accepted as quickly as possible (well, unless you make some outrageous demands to the board). Settle in, get welcomed by the board chairman, get to say "Hello" to your new colleagues and then get to work. If you took the job just before the new season starts, then you'll be granted with a few weeks to get to know the team and put them through a more personal approach training that ensures you of the team's physical sharp shape. Spread a few rumors to the media, comment a little on your opponents while making sure the fans still love your team by assuring them of your many successes to come. So they'll be a little disappointed once in a while as you get bitted by an amateur team in a friendly encounter, but you'll just say it was a tactics to encourage them. It's all your story - step into the history of sport.

You'll be happy taking care of the team and the board will be happy to spend even more money on you than before. Assign someone to take care of most of the transfers or do it yourself (well, there are certain contracts that are simply impossible to refuse and the chairman will be sure to close those, but that only shows the good work you have done in training the team). Make up training schedules and put the players to work or allow them to use the general schedule, but keep in mind that you're not just interested in providing your team with a day-to-day workout - you want to get ultimate football players out of them. Check up on them from time to time to make sure they've evolved in the direction you were expecting. Give it a little while and you'll have the best trained team in the league.

Being totally open-ended, there is no right way for you to start your career. Help yourself to wondering through all the statistics screens at the beginning, watch the tutorial videos and get to know all your team better (not just the players, but trainers and coaches too) and, of course, assess the competition. However, there's nothing stopping you from setting up a friendly match the very next day at "work" and see for yourself what the players can do. Don't expect to take Mourinho's place at Chelsea too soon though (unless you chose to manage Chelsea from the start).

Gameplay
Since I was sincere in my resume and stated that I have no experience as a manger (or as a football player) I had to start off unemployed, taking on any job there was. Turns out there still were a few teams in need of my leadership. Of course, nobody says you can't just pick a club at the very start of the game. You'll have plenty to deal with as you'll also be able to get a glimpse on the youth team and send your players to feeder clubs (the bright brand new addition to the FM series) or take new ones on loan. The life of a manager seems pretty busy with the media weighting your every comment, players coming and going all the time, unpolished jewels just waiting for their "fifteen minutes of glory", opposing managers making threats or pledging their respect and tons of great looking players that need to get in the tight budget (well, that depends on the club you're managing obviously).

I'm not sure there are all the teams in the world present, but a very large part of them is (yes, I am indeed extremely happy that I am able to play in the Romanian Division A and no, I can't really think of a division that is not present here). All the continental cups are also playable along with the world championships. If you have enough patience, you can even apply to coach a youth team and then make a fortune out of selling your newly raised Pele class starlets.

Football Manager 2007 is definitely a game that can keep up your interest for an extensively long time. Luckily it isn't extremely resource consuming so it can run in the background whenever you're too busy working and pop up just in time for the lunch break and keep your mind occupied with all the good and bad things that happened with your players (What do you mean Beckham caught a cold? Send him home this instant so he stays away from the rest of my players). You need to keep a very close eye on your team's morale as if they are unhappy they can't perform their best and the fans won't like that one bit. An inspired pre-match, half-time or post-match speech can make wonders. Just like a bad choice of words can attract the board's wrath and if you prove that you can't fit in, might eventually get you fired. If you're upset with a player you can even discipline him for a bunch of reasons (or for no reason if you're evil enough).

Don't take it as a light challenge. Winning a few matches is not that hard, but constantly keeping up the pace with the best teams in the world is definitely more complicated. Also be sure to send your scouts looking for promising players, don't just try to integrate a famous football player that may even unbalance the team. What's more, some players have a big influence on their teammates so giving up on their contracts may attract the rest of the team's disapproval.

What I'm basically saying here is that we're facing a great game. A huge players and clubs database will make the delight of every fan of the series (and any newcomer that might enter the fascinating world of football). Countless statistics and charts will try to offer a view as wide as you may need to keep up with any needed info on the competition.

Well, sound is by far the worst part of an otherwise captivating game. Aside from the fans cheers or discourages, there's not much to please your sense of hearing. I know I would've greatly appreciate some FIFA like comments or at least some voice acting on the news, but on the other hand, if you play the game as you find the time for this, than probably an elaborate feature would've actually ruin it. Besides the customizable highlight selection and game speed during a match would have interfere with the comments. You surely must have a favorite music CD in case it all seems too quiet. I'd better not grade this aspect of the game.

Video
Players' statistics, clubs' statistics, awards, scandalous articles in the media about yesterday's game, financial reports, contractsÂ… here's everything connected to the world of football. And they all show up nicely on grass green backgrounds framed in the colors of the club you're managing. Menus are nicely arranged in the whole picture. A quick launch like bar is at the bottom of the screen taking you to the most time demanding places - the news, game tactics and scouting screen among a few others. The managerial tasks can also be quickly accessed from the top of the screen - the manager menu. To tell you the truth, the game's interface resembles a much elaborated web browser (practical and appealing, but for certain it doesn't knock you off your feet).

During a match the screen can be split in two so you won't miss out on any of the highlights and at the same time keep an eye on the goal updates, the match stats, players' ratings or keep the tactics scheme opened for a fulminating change of gameplay if needed. The pitch is still a 2D image of a football field on witch colored bubbles wander agitatedly and the pictures' database is not as complete as we'd like. Aside from these, I'd say it all looks just dandy.

Multiplayer
You're able to create up to eight profiles that will experience simultaneously the tension of a football season (or several seasons). Creating them at the same time is not necessary, but once you created them you'd better find somebody to take care of them (or why not do it yourself if you feel like you have too much spare time) before their teams turn to dust and ashes. LAN and online games may be hosted (and joined naturally) as well.

Conclusion
Another masterpiece from SIG. For a few years now the FM games managed to stay ahead of the competition and were year after year granted the title of the best 2D football manager games (I guess the name suits it wonderfully). Despite some minor drawbacks (that are patched as we speak) the game provides wonderful gameplay. Learning is all - there's no magical perfect tactics or perfect players. Be creative and choose your strategy so you'll be better then your opponent (and thank the developers for the exhaustive choice of players and clubs). This should keep you occupied until next year's title.


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story 0
gameplay 10
concept 9
graphics 9
audio 0
multiplayer 8
final rating 9.2
Editor's review
excellent
 

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