Without a shadow of a doubt Sensible software are the definitive football game developers. Although, looking back over the years, Aco, the masterminds behind the Kick Off series have to be awarded the 'most consistency' trophy.
Kick Off was their first release when kicked up a tremendous following which inevitably brought around a sequel - namely Player Manager. Back then Anco was the only name that mattered within the football game industry. After the success of Kick Off 2 they looked unbeatable. Although it may not have had the polished graphics that Sensible Soccer had, for gameplay it could not be matched.
Player Manager 2 arrives five years after the prequel, Anco have had time to weigh up the competition, waiting, and only now deciding to launch their eagerly anticipated sequel.
When you begin the game you are allocated a club to run. This can be any team in division 2. At 28-years old your retirement is imminent, but you now have the opportunity to take on a job as Player Manager in division 2 - revitalising your football prowess. You can select which position you would rpet to play, from either a full-back to a striker, and can also select whether to control the entire team or just play as yourself in your selected position.
Once you enter the game and all the administration processes are sorted you will be on holiday. From here you can call people up - scouts, physios, specialists and coaches - and can assign them to your club before the game starts. Also, you must arrange five friendly matches to be played in the pre-season. Once this is complete you must speak to some companies who are willing to sponsor your club throughout the season.
You can access one of the rooms it takes you to a more detailed view where you can click on notice boards, drawers, telephones etc. This is much the same way as On The Ball is operated, only there are more pictures and items to select.
The idea is to get your team into a coaching programme and organise a training programme. You can select numerous ways to coach your team - from individual attention to five-a-sides. It is impossible to describe the coaching and tactical depth that is included in Player Manager 2 as it would simply fill up these two pages alone.
If you want a serious, statistical football game with plenty of frills then Player Manager 2 comes top of the list
From your office you can organise team selection and transfers. All transactions you make in here are relevant to the actual team itself. You can call up the transfer list not just to buy players but to loan them too. Also, you can view all the club and player statistics to see the current form. If you want to play the game in depth there are many screens you have to view before actually stepping out on the pitch and this is where the true managerial featured comes to play.
The actual players each have their own unique statistics which range from their nationality to individual player history. Their ratings are determined in stars, with white stars representing the best players in that particular league, and the darker the star is, the less likely the player is to cope at your club. All the basic football attributes and rules are included - red and yellow cards, injuries and suspensions are all recorded and affect the team accordingly.
There is a special room on the top floor of your stadium where all the club's archives are kept. You can study every club in the league, looking at their history, records and current statistics.
A trip to the physio can be warranted if some of your players pick up injuries during the seasons. If it is something minor such as the flu then resting them for a day or two will bring them back up to full fitness. However, if it's more serious such as pulled hamstrings or back muscles, then a visit to a specialist is required.
Player Manager 2 doesn't include real players' names as such. This is a shame because it's difficult to assess the true value of players and make it exciting. For instance, it would be more interesting if Alan Shearer and Eric Cantona were involved in a brawl rather than B McNeil and T Harkouk - it would've added to the realism immensely.
Player Manager 2 includes immense realism. Your players can get injured in car crashes and even resort to brawls in nightclubs - which at the moment is nothing short of unusual in today's game.