Anthony Capone
12 May, 2008

Football Manager 2008 Review

360 Review | By football, they mean the rounder variety of the game.
New players to the Football Manager franchise should sit up and take notice. This game isn't just another simulator like FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer – you never really get to push the button that kicks that ball. Rather, Football Manager is a strategy game in which players spend the majority of time looking at menus. From the beginning, you become the boss of a football team, being responsible for financial matters, game tactics and player management and training. Indeed, if you're ever wanted to be a soccer supremo, then Football Manager 2008 on the Xbox 360 is the game for you.

Before you can start playing Football Manager 2008 for the first time, players have to spend a few minutes configuring a new game. From the countless nations and teams on offer, you can choose up to three squads to control over the course of the game. Players then create their manager profile, and as an added touch, you can display a picture of yourself using the Xbox Vision Camera. Finally, you select the individual team you actually want to manage. Only then can you take the place on top of the football hierarchy.

It is very easy to become overwhelmed if you're playing Football Manager for the first time. Thankfully, a text box known as the 'advisor' frequently pops up during your initial play through to explain the game's various mechanics. Though Football Manager feels more at home with a keyboard and mouse on the PC, the Xbox controller is adequate enough for navigating through game's numerous menus. Still, we experienced a few issues with sensitivity and it also took us a few goes to become used to the entire control scheme. But those issues aside, the actual gameplay process is very rewarding.

The inbox allows you to keep track of most aspects of the game.

The inbox allows you to keep track of most aspects of the game.
In order to succeed in Football Manager 2008, you have to be a good administrator both on and off the pitch. Preparation during downtime is really the key – maintaining a good hold on financial and player matters will ensure success on the field. Thankfully, you are provided with an inbox to interact with staff, players, fans and the media. The inbox really acts like a combination of a news feed and in-tray, and it ensures that you are in touch with your side at all times.

The important thing to remember is that as your team becomes more successful, extra finance will become available. More money means better facilities and players. To become successful in the first place, you have to win matches. This, in turn, is done by keeping a close eye on your team. You improve the performance of the squad by hiring new players and sharpening the skills and fitness of your current members. Other football sides can also enquire about buying your own team's players. Indeed, selling players is another way of bettering the team, with the added bonus of getting additional funds at the same time.

The process of searching for new players for your team by looking through news and databases is lengthy but fun. When it actually comes to luring new team members from other clubs, it is quite costly and frustrating. The contracting process for signing new players is also rather complicated, but you still get a feeling of satisfaction when you secure a fresh face for your football team.

Aspiring managers don't actually have to train their team, but doing so can measurably improve their performance. You can work on skills such as attacking or strength, but you have to be careful how you set up the training. This is because teaching staff and intensity of training can have a profound effect on individual players.

The better your staff and players, the more you will win.

The better your staff and players, the more you will win.
Building up your team, balancing the books and keeping fans happy is entertaining. Though the entire process is complex and time-consuming, Football Manager 2008's gameplay is fun and addictive. However, preparing your team of players is only half the game (pun intended). The remainder of your time is spent laying down tactics and observing the team on the field.

Before players hit the field, you have to lay down the plan of attack (and defence). The strategy screen displays a soccer field, and you have to implement tactics for use in the given game. There is a diverse range of strategies that can be applied, or you can devise your own. For example, you can customise how hard you want the team to attack, or even order players to switch positions during the match. The amount of options is truly mind-blowing, and may indeed prove too much for novices. Before the match finally starts, you're given one more task – to speak to the media and your players. There are a number of dialogue options to choose from, and each will have a particular effect on the soccer team.

Once the match finally begins, players are given a number of different screens for tracking the different elements of the game. You can switch between any of these screens, and commentary will continually scroll at the bottom to give you an idea of what is happening. One of the screens is a 2D representation of the field, with dots signifying players. This setup may sound simple, but it really gives you the sense of being the team manager. Further, by forcing you to imagine the match in your head, you really feel more involved in the game.

Football Manager 2008 features a simple and easy-to-navigate interface.

Football Manager 2008 features a simple and easy-to-navigate interface.
Another of the in-game screens is a radar-like representation of the pitch. On this screen, you can change the tactics of your team just as you did before the game. Thankfully, you are also given the option of pausing the match, which really helps from a strategic point-of-view. There is also an option for adjusting how fast the match plays, but it is better to leave it at the default level.

Football Manager 2008 takes a long time to play, mainly due to the countless number of options for controlling your squad of players. Football fanatics will spend hours building up their team, and passing fans can easily derive a few days worth of entertainment. Up to eight people can play on Xbox Live, and there are a number of different competition formats and player options for multiplayer games. However, finding someone to play against online is extremely difficult.

Football Manager 2008 won't win any awards in the visual department. The game features clean and crisp menus, the interface is easy to navigate, and information and charts are presented clearly. Besides a few player pictures, there is little in Football Manager 2008 to fit the general video game meaning of graphics. The game is mostly about text and charts, and in that regard, it is sufficient.

For anyone who has ever dreamed of leading a team of players to victory, Football Manager 2008 is a great game. The gameplay is solid – the process of building your team and leading them to a strategic victory is very rewarding. However, the number of in-game options makes this title a little overpowering. Football Manager 2008 is relatively easy to pick up, but only the most devoted will find themselves seeing it out. Coupled with the absence of sound, non-existent multiplayer scene and fact the game is better suited to a PC control configuration, Football Manager 2008 may only find a home with the most dedicated of football fans.
The Score
Football Manager 2008 does a fantastic job of emulating the role of a football coach and administrator. Though gameplay is satisfying, Football Manager 2008 will only be of interest to devoted fans of the game, or those with the dream of being the next big soccer supremo. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Football Manager 2008 Content

Football Manager 2008 announced
28 Jul, 2007 Not exactly unpredictable.
Football Manager 2007 Review
03 Jan, 2007 "That's management-speak David, and I know you hate that..."
PSP Extras Feature
19 Nov, 2006 A look at the new Media Manager and more extras for your PSP.
5 years ago
Good to hear the interface is better, the one in 2006 drove me mental at times.
5 years ago
I think I'll stick to the PC version.
I've just got back into FM07 (don't own FM08, got the demo at an A-League game though), really enjoying it.
I got Stevenage Borough to the League One in my 4th season at the helm (currently 3rd after 16 games).
But yeah, this is pretty serious football, don't go into it thinking its like PES or FIFA.

Any news on FM Live?
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  27/03/2008 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $99.95 AU
  SEGA Australia
Year Made:

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