It is not often I play stats based games like Football Manager 2008, I think it’s something to do with the time you need to commit to a game like this, and knowing once you start to play it you’re in for a long ride and there is no difference with Segaâ€™s Football Manager 2008.
The main issue with games like Football Manager is the endless screens of stats, and not a lot else, but at the end of the day it is these comprehensive stats, up to date leagues, teams and players that make the game what it is.
The interface for the most part is easy to navigate and the menus let you get to all the different screens (tactics, transfers, news, and even you very own inbox) with relative ease. You will receive updates often from your board of directors and they will let you know what they expect from you in terms of success. You also receive information from a fan spokesperson keeping you up to date on how confident the fans are with you as a manager and how the team is progressing.
Other feedback comes from scouts keeping a watchful eye on new talent and potential new players and assistant managers will give you feedback from training sessions of your current squad, you even have media speculation, with comments from players who are reportedly unhappy with their current club and other such realistic media snippets.
Once you have chosen your team and picked your tactics it is time for kick off, and you see a top down view of a football field with your players represented by their shirt numbers moving around. Although at first it can be a little dull to watch, you start to see mistakes by your players or holes in your defence or other areas which you could fix with a change of tactics or personnel. This is where the game sucks you in, the endless tweaking for perfection, each team you play against will require you to look at your tactics and adjust your team set up accordingly, you will wonder where some three or four hours of the afternoon wentâ€¦
Thinking like a manager may seem easy for those of you who support a football team and watch football matches week in week out but you will realize there is a lot more depth to the game than a change of formation and the odd substitution. Even confidence has an effect on players and the team; a player low on confidence will not perform well. Unhappy players will not play to their full potential either, so keeping everyone happy, especially your star players is a must.
Overall the game is rather addictive once you get going, and it is not easy to win matches from the start, you do have to adjust your tactics and you will end up buying and selling players in an attempt to build your perfect team, but with things like player injuries, suspensions and sending offs, as well as the other team changing tactics mid match, you will be constantly kept on your toes.
Football Manager 2008 does a fine job and with an impressive database of information, lots of features too look out for this is certainly worth a look even if you do have older versions of the game.