Learn to play a one-two with your inner accountant
It's odd that one of the most popular games of our time is, essentially, a spreadsheet. The point of Football Manager 2007 is to balance a team sheet to make sure that all the parts – defenders, strikers, and so on – are operating to their potential. At the same time, you have to make sure the books balance, otherwise you'll be heading for the sack.
The gameplay is much the same as it's been for more than 10 years – pick a club to manage, then pick a team and tweak it until they're doing well. As ever, for football fans, it's extremely addictive. Having been on the wagon, Football Manager-wise, for a year, we were sucked into this one and ended up playing for several hours straight through.
Improvements have been made to the scouting system, so the club's scouts are now more intelligent and useful. It's also possible to pick a feeder club, a two-way relationship that benefits both clubs by bringing talented youngsters to the attention of larger clubs. For those managing smaller clubs (always a worthy challenge) you can even become the feeder club.
One hidden extra that's still there is the existence of average youngsters who, if you buy them, go on to become world stars. Finding those players is part of the fun, and there are even discussion forums dedicated to that task.
Gameplay is a touch faster – the big problem of old was waiting for minutes after each match while the computer worked out other results. That's much quicker now, with some of the processing going on while you play. Even with a large game – it's possible to have several European leagues active at once – the game flowed smoothly.
Graphics, as ever, are basic but they get the job done, and sound only comes on during a match – crowd and ball noises, which help add a little atmosphere. The excellent manual goes through all the various settings in detail, and there's plenty of help on the web.
Other than that, there haven't been many changes, the obvious one being that new players are included from the current season. For anyone already engrossed in a previous version it might not be worth the upgrade, but for those who haven't played in a while or for newcomers who enjoy football (or even those who enjoy statistics) Football Manager 2007 is well worth a punt.
Overall: Fifa 07 offers an improvement on EA’s previous attempts at creating the best ‘soccer’ game, but it’s still not a patch on Pro Evolution Soccer
Sensible Soccer 2006
Overall: For a nostalgic football journey, Sensible Soccer 2006 is great
Good points Still excellent fun for football fans New innovations are welcome additions Much faster to load Bad points Can be hard to get to grips with for newcomers Overall Football Manager is, without a doubt, still the best football management game
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