You too can sign Andy Carroll for £35m
Football management games are famously polarising: some people would rather watch paint dry than play what appears to be a boring set of text and graphs.
But for some fans they can be very addictive; it's possible to start a game, look up and find that it's six hours later and you've forgotten to eat anything.
The premise is simple: become manager of a football club and enter a world of statistics, tactics, negotiations, media management, training and ultimately either glory or heartbreak.
Without question, the 2011 edition is the most comprehensive and in-depth Football Manager to date - the levels of detail are astounding.
Going into the game for the first time is a bit daunting and it took us a while to get used to all the options. Helpfully, the game does its best to step in and offer advice and direction.
Eventually, though, you're on your own. Like a lonely, beleaguered manager of a non-league team of no-marks you must plough your way through a wealth of dilemmas. Who do I play at right back? Is my hot-shot youth striker good enough for the first team? How can I gain promotion with such limited funds?
Football Manager 2011 does well at translating hard graft into results. It draws the player in, compelling them to tweak tactics, bring in new coaches, establish a new youth training strategy or build a scouting network.
In-game communication has taken a big leap forward. You can now have conversations with the board, the press, players and even agents. Whilst the conversations are a bit robotic, picking the right path through them is essential if you're to avoid stepping on any potential banana-skins.
Elsewhere, there are changes to training with even more options and specific controls available to prepare for each match. So if you have a tough game against an attacking team, perhaps look at doing extra defensive training.
The 3D match engine has seen some tweaks and is now more fluid and watchable. In-game tactical options and stats can be controlled and viewed in real-time, offering even more detail.
As a consequence of all these updates, playing Football Manager can feel a lot like being plugged straight into The Matrix, which for many fans will be approaching perfection. And with most shops offering it for £10 or £20 off the retail price, it's great value too.
PEGI age rating: 3+
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The most comprehensive and engaging football management game to date
Loads of stats, loads of detail, utterly immersive
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