Football Manager 06
Due to a serious shortage of experts on Sports and Manager games, these titles tend to find their way into the hands of people who know little about them, ergo, my hands. I therefore braced myself when I was sent the retail version for Football Manager 06. However, do not despair because we have found a solution! I am proud to present to you our first ‘review for beginners’! In this review we want to target people who have little to no experience with the game. Fortunately for our more advanced managers we also consulted someone who has years of experience with this type of games. So if you’re a fanatic manager, be sure to scroll down this page.
As a veteran gamer I chose to install the game in English. A choice I soon came to regret. After I booted the game a tidalwave of soccer terms slammed me right in the face. Fortunately you’re still given the choice to change the language afterwards. If you’re not a native English speaker, I highly suggest installing the game in your native language. When starting a new career you are asked to specify the size of the database. This is an important decision because it will influence the information you are fed throughout the game. Choose a huge database and you will have a gigantic flow of information, choose a smaller database and the information flow will be more limited. Based on this information you will need to make important choices throughout the game. After you have decided on the size, you just pick which team you want to manage and you’re ready to play.
Or maybe not. After playing the game I began wondering why so few teams have problems finding a manager. The life of a manager revolves mostly around managing the club and perhaps a mere 5% around soccer itself. What’s more, when the man does get a chance to see his players in action, he’s forced to look at it in an isometric perspective!
I quickly loose my way when browsing through the hundreds of menus packed with data on players, matches and training schedules. Fortunately the people of SI Games and Sports Interactive thought of us, new managers. Both online as in-game you can find some very interesting tutorials that will try to teach you the basics of the game. Furthermore you can download a very extensive guide that was written by Mark Vaughan, Head of Development for Football Manager 06.
Those of you who never touched a manager game before will find it difficult to find their way in the game in the beginning. Still, it will pay off for the soccer-loving gamer to hang on and dig through the tutorials. Aside from the tutorials, this edition features a new system in which the player can press the F1 key at any time and the proper help screen will immediately pop up. Football Manager 06 may well call itself the ultimate reference on soccer management sims.
Anyhow, beginning players amongst our readers now know what to expect, time for the veterans to find out whether this edition of Football Manager 06 is worth spending their hard-earned money on.
Our expert firmly replied, “you bet ya!”. This version of FM06 features, aside from the necessary database updates, a ton of essential changes to the gameplay. One of those changes for instance is the addition of the efficient help function we described in an earlier paragraph and which will come in handy even for the more experienced gamer.
Another important addition is the fact that you can now negotiate with the members of the board about additional funding or even a raise in wages. Training also got a make-over. The rather clumsy system which they used in FM05 has been thrown overboard and instead came a system with slider bars. These bars make it possible to quickly create a training schedule with a minimum of parameters. Later on you can appoint each player to a certain schedule or decide whether the player can have two or three weeks leave.
Transfers are still largely the same as they were in FM05. When deciding on a transfer you will obviously have to look for a player that fits the overall profile of your team. When you find a suitable player, you may want to send a talent scout to observe the player. This will reveal the player’s hidden statistics. These statistics will make it easier for you to decide whether you want to attract the player or not. After you’ve done this you can begin negotiations with the club and in a later stage with the player himself.
A big step forward for the genre was the introduction of the 2D engine. This engine is able to play out any match in an isometric view at any speed you like. Here we find the only form of sound present in the game. I would like to advise just to turn off your sounds altogether because it is mostly limited to the tapping of the ball and the cheering of a few annoying supporters. New to the mode is the pep talk during half-time. Here you can have a little talk with each player individually or with the group in a whole. However, I do wonder whether this has any noticeable effect on the outcome of the match.
Last but not least, some minor gameplay features were updated as well. For example, each player now has a page with a summary of the positions the player can play in and in which position he feels best. Furthermore you’re now able to easily change tactics for your team. These tactics can be adjusted into the smallest detail. You can, for instance, dictate how aggressively a certain player can engage in a tackle.
To summarize briefly: Sports Interactive included a database with data from over thousands of players and teams during the season of 2005-2006, they improved the training system, made a number of changes to the gameplay and finally added a few handy tutorials which add greatly to the game’s accessibility.