Football Manager was, and still is, one of the best selling games of all time. Now Kevin Tomms and Co have bounced back with a sequel to what has been called 'the greatest football managerial game ever'. The question is, looking back now, was it? The answer, of course, is absolutely not. It was good for its time, but with the subsequent release of games like Track-Suit Manager and Football Director 2 in particular, FM was overtaken. And sadly FM2 isn't likely to reclaim the pole position.
The original FM was the only game of its type at the time. All it consisted of was an endless loop of six or seven screens, asking you if you wanted to buy or sell players, showing you a league table and giving you very badly drawn match highlights. FM2 is, and it breaks my heart to say this, almost IDENTICAL to the original. All that seems to have been changed are the graphics and the fact that one extra screen has been added. ONE!
As before, you are the trainer, coach, accountant, club secretary, tea lady and cleaner, and it is your job to ensure that your team gets to the top of the division, gets promoted and wins the FA Cup. This is all done through a series of screens which contain, for the most part, Yes/No questions. Do you want to increase stand capacity? And so on.
Once you've made your long, weary way through the few choices available, you have to set up your team using a very confusing and tetchy control method which involves moving a pointer over a few black boxes and pressing fire, hoping you've selected the right player.
The important thing, and I think that this is the only good idea that this game contains, is getting your marking right. A third of the pitch is displayed at a time, and on the pitch you can see the statistics of the opposition that whichever player you put there is going to face: when you are placing attackers you can see the opposing defender's statistics. The basic moan with FM2 is that the game is a 'strategy' game, but the marking is the only strategic bit, and that isn't really strategic enough to be called strategy. You dig?
After setting your men, you get to watch the edited highlights of the match in glorious Addictive-o-
A very big let down, as far as I'm concerned. Little or no improvement over the original, which results in the game being outdated, short lived and most of all, boring.