Sega Football Manager 2010 review
After an impressive title challenge from its rival, Championship Manager, this year, the pressure is on for the current champion, Football Manager, to respond. Football Manager 2010 may not present as many innovations as Championship Manager 2010, but it offers more than enough in terms of quality and satisfaction to cement the series' position as top dog of the football management genre.
The 3D match engine has improved exponentially after its underwhelming debut last year, thanks to some excellent new player animations and key improvements to goalkeeper mobility. The sheer realism of matches is breathtaking, perfectly replicating the beautiful game, while the addition of touchline orders allows you to bark instructions - such as push up or sit deep - at your players without ever taking your eye off the ball. The only complaint is a smattering of bugs and glitches that sometimes cause the match action to jam for extended periods. If you're a Football Manager purist, you can also opt to watch the action in the traditional 2D and text-only views.
Football Manager 2010 has received numerous tweaks since last year's version, the most striking of which is a complete revamp of its layout. The result is a far more intuitive tabbed navigation system that makes it easier to browse the game's many statistics screens.
Although its unrivalled depth is likely to prove daunting to newcomers looking to sample the legendary series for the first time, this is certainly the most accessible Football Manager game in recent years, with copious amounts of player feedback helping you keep track of how your decisions are influencing your club. Your coaches are also more useful this time, offering their opinions on how your players are performing and where they can improve.
Another new feature is a match analysis tool that allows you to analyse every pass, shot and tackle your players make in a match. While it may not be quite as detailed as Championship Manager 2010's ProZone match analysis tool, it's certainly a solid and useful addition. Also new is the match tactics creator, which allows you to formulate bespoke strategies quickly, and it's now easier than ever to define player roles such as playmaker, holding midfielder and so on.
Football Manager 2010 is certainly superior to Championship Manager 2010, although it trails behind when it comes to scouting, set pieces and training, and the gap between the two franchises has undoubtedly narrowed. However, with the exception of a few glitches, Football Manager 2010 is another supremely entertaining football management simulation. If you want the best, deepest and most challenging management game on the market, look no further.