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Football Manager 2005 Review - PC

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Championship Manager 4 was hailed as the very best sports management game, much like its predecessors. Sports Interactive, the creators of CM4, have been developing Football Manager 2005 since the start of the year and it has been presented as a complete rehash. After the fallout SI had with Eidos, they were forced to get a new publisher and therefore a new name. So this is Football Manager 2005, it's a football management game, it's the sequel to the highly acclaimed Championship Manager series, and no surprises - you play the manager of a football club.

Game Play

It's first worth noting several things. FM 2005 is a very text based game; you won't find any fancy graphics here. Furthermore FM 2005 can be considered quite hardcore at times. It's a hard game to do well at, unless you play as Chelsea or Man United of course. So basically, this is a not really a casual gamers game unless you have a big interest in football.

When taking control of a club there are several urgent tasks that need attending to, and accordingly the board send you a polite message, with undertones of 'do this or you're sacked', welcoming you to the club and informing you of the position they expect you to achieve in the league. You now have several important tasks to complete: come up with your game winning tactic, sort out your squad and decide who stays and who has to go, fix up your training regime, purchase or loan some new players, and finally play some matches and see what happens.

The tactical control in FM 2005 is very comprehensive, but then this was also the case in CM4. You can design any kind of formation you want, obviously 4-4-2 is the standard option, but should you wish to have nine strikers in a kind of 0-1-9 formation, then you kind. That would, however, probably ensure a dismal defeat.

The specific tactical controls are very similar to CM4. Team orders can be set, such as attacking mentality, tackling mentality, creative freedom, dribbling mentality, and so forth. These orders can also be set to specific players, so your defenders can be on hard tackling and defensive mentality, while your strikers are gung ho with soft tackling - so they don't pick up cards or injuries.

The only noticeable increase in tactical control from CM 4 is the replacement of tick boxes with sliding bars. This means that where there used to be only two settings, on or off, for things such as forward runs and crosses, there are now around 6 different settings ranging from 'rarely' to 'often'.

Sorting your team out is pretty much the most important thing in FM 2005. If you've got a bunch of monkeys hoofing the ball around, it doesn't matter what kind of tactic you come up with. So kicking out the dead weight is important.

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