Football Manager 2008 Reader Review
Once again the most comprehensive management simulation returns to draw you into a world of statistics. The addictive power of this game is as strong as ever � cups of tea go cold, sandwiches go half eaten and that toilet break is put on hold for as long as possible for just one more game.
To anyone observing the relationship between player and the game the addiction must look a strange sight, but these people have not experienced the beauty of a 6-5 penalty win in the semi-final of the Setanta Shield, secured promotion on the final day or felt that sense of pride as the talented youth you brought in scores on his debut.
However, when you finally drag yourself away from the computer you�ll start to feel a sense of fear � despite all your investment you start to panic, and shiver when you�re alone in bed at night for despite all the time and all the love you give the game a thought starts to rise up, unbidden, in the back of your mind, growing ever stronger:
Maybe Football Manager doesn�t love me anymore�
It starts strangely. FM08 looks quite different to many previous games � newer, brighter and more user friendly in order to help a totally new player fall in love. FM has also introduced Facegen technology so that newly generated players come with an image, although players in the game without a picture will have no image.
The downside is that the veteran is left feeling a bit forgotten as the game searches out new worshippers. The change to the layout takes some getting used to and the lighter skin is at odds with most previous default and the most popular user made skins which tend to be fairly dark and easier on the eye for longer sessions. Possibly due to facegen implementation the new design has changed the image sizes too, rendering your previous gifts to the database of player and club logos a trinket of a forgotten time.
FM offers you more with improved confidence sections � the board will set season aims for every competition as well as long term ones, while the fans spokesman will let you know what the fans think about previous matches, player form and recent signings. You start the game dreaming of success, of FM declaring you the master of her engine, the greatest tactical genius in her history.
However it sadly doesn�t quite work and FM makes the rather sudden transition from caring lover to nagging housewife. Your board will demand the impossible � start with a big club and be met with demands for success in all competitions, draw another big club early in a cup competition and find no sympathy from the board, who may simply sack you for having the gall to lose on penalties away from home when your star player is injured. The fans offer no pleasing response either, failing to recognise that that player-coach is a backup and lambasting you for months for your foolish purchase.
As FM disappoints in the confidence section you cast your mind back to the promises of yesteryear, you realise these promises were never fulfilled, and you curse your stupidity for falling for the same of lines again. Transfer dealings are in a poor state, the media engine is farcical and team talks are still incomprehensible. Despite pointing out these issues repeatedly over the last few years she shows no remorse as you serve out a touchline ban for complaining about a bad offside call � in fact she will go so far as to humiliate you, by letting you know that in fact the call was right all along, and the replay it showed you must have been something else. �Never question my match engine again!� she cries � and you learn this lesson, selecting the �no comment� option whenever approached by the media.
Despite her faults, once you are in, you are in and you scream with joy at a last minute goal, or curse your defenders for losing their man. The match engine remains the best there is and remains as exciting as ever. The night may turn to day as you hit continue again looking for just one more match to play and you know that you wouldn�t rather be anywhere else.
But you also know something else � you have been a fool for believing in her so completely, and despite the promises, next year she's going to have to show you some love...
7 / 10