The football management simulation is now more popular than it's ever been. For proof, you need only look at your local computer store shelves and you'll find plenty of examples of the genre.
One thing that you could possibly fault in the football management game is the lack of talent in the graphics department. I know most of these products don't often require high-class pixels to make them playable, but why isn't there a game where you've got the graphics to match the gameplay.
Somebody at Daze must have been thinking the same thoughts because their latest licence, signed from German developers, Ascon, could well become the first football management game that looks as good as it plays.
System reviewed On The Ball: World Cup Edition last issue and it managed to grab itself a fair score, but it was lacking that certain something to make it a classic. This time with the introduction of the domestic league and cup competitions, On The Ball: League Edition might just sneak a winning goal in extra-time, but then again one bad tackle and it could get its marching orders off the field of play.
On the musical front, there is a choice between four tunes which can be accessed from the main screen. They're not the most awe-inspiring musical masterpieces you've ever heard, but they do the job adequately enough and there is always the option to turn them off.
The only other sound occurs when you're watching an actual match and all you hear is the crowd noise. There isn't anything as extravagant as a chant, but the pitch of the noise rises when either team has a shot or scores a goal.
Overall the sound isn't that good, but football management games have never required a decent soundtrack, so I shouldn't worry about it too much.85%
The actual standard of the various static screens within the simulation is unbelievably high, but where the game really scores is when you watch an actual match. You get a wealth of animations and could be forgiven for thinking that you were watching an episode of Match of the Day rather than playing a football management simulation.
The animations are used to show the various high-
To accompany the animated action there is a running commentary, à la John Motson, which gives you all kinds of information on how the game is going.
At the end of the day, On The Ball has got the best graphics ever seen in a football management simulation and for that reason alone it should be applauded. A500/A600 should note that your version of On The Ball isn't as colourful as the A1200 version, but apart from that it is fine.85%
On the whole the League Edition of On The Ball is far better than the World Cup Edition. You're going to get more long-term satisfaction from it simply because you get to do more and, more importantly you get to play more games of football.
On The Ball isn't quite as in-depth as Premier Manager or Championship Manager, but it beats them for graphics and it is highly playable. The more you play On The Ball, the more you will get into it, but it's not a game that will become the benchmark for the genre.