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FIFA Manager 09 by Football Manager fan(atic) eye.
Written by Piterson - Sunday, 23 November 2008 23:57  |  Skomentuj artykuÅ‚

To write a good review is not easy task. To write a good review of computer game is much harder. Why? Because we can talk there about title loyality. That’s why in case of computer games I can personally enumerate two kinds of reviews. First one is written by person who is attached to concrete game. This person is fan of this game. That kind of review will be focused mainly on game’s advantages, disadvantages will be only marked or even laughed off. It’s of course “positive review”. But in other side review can be written by person who is attached to competitive game. Then author is focused mainly on game’s disadvantages and try to magnify them. Of course he marks advantages too but review is going to be negative. You can also mention about “sponsored review” but if it can even be called as review?

Title of this text may point out that it is going to be “negative review”, focused mainly on disadvantages. But my aim is completely different. I’d like to present objective opinion about this game. If I can handle this? Assess by yourself! Why me, as Football Manager fan(atic), want to objectively describe competitive game? There are two reasons. They are named Bartek and Lukas. Without their agreement this text wouldn’t be published.

I know this introduction is long enough but I have to explain few things more. Firstly my history linked with EA game and my presence on this website. I don’t have to convince anybody that I’m Football Manager fan(atic). For me other games don’t have to exist. My adventure begins with well-known game Liga Polska Manager (Polish League Manager). This polish game instilled me love to manager games. But the big feeling appeared when I played Total Club Manager 2004 for the first time. Although this game couldn’t run on my computer, I played it few hours weekly! I didn’t saw world beyond this game. The next were TCM 2005 and FIFA Manager 2006. When FifaM 2006 was released my activity on polish FifaM scene began. Because I was able to play this game on my modernized computer, this game has no secrets in front of me. Thanks to it I could be more useful user on Jochen’s forum. Why I turned to Football Manager? Incidentally! Waiting for next part of FIFA Manager I decided to buy Football Manager. I thought it’s a good idea to see how competitive game looks. This resulted in situation that after 2 hours of playing in FifaM07 I quickly returned to Football Manager. Am I Football Manager fanatic as I wrote in title? I think screen below will answer this question.


If you don’t want to count it’s 394 hours and 18 minutes. Am I normal?

It’s finally time to start this review. Unfortunately I have to write again few words of introduction. The next points of my review will be in order which every player see playing career. And one more important thing. I played FIFA Manager (versions 07 and 08) totally for 4-5 hours so every thing I didn’t see in 2006 version I will treat as a new. I hope you will forgive it to me. This is not comparative review. I’ll base on FIFA Manager 09(FifaM 09) and Football Manager 08(FM 08). Why not 09? Because this text was written before Football Manager 09 released day. For me Football Manager is a point of reference for FIFA Manager. But let’s go to essence.

What player can see when he run a game for the first time. Nicely interface. Well adjusted colours which doesn’t make eyes tired, which make game more pleasant. Of course you can download new skin which I had to do when I played Football Manager 08. But if colouring makes you annoyed just on the beginning, it augurs bad for the future. In this moment I reminded another important thing. For the colouring EA gets a point, anyway graphic was always EA strength. I don’t like start menu, but because Football Manager has worse, I won’t hound it. Let’s go to creation of a new game. And another points for EA. Although the colouring is nicely, there are two skins available! During creating my virtual image, I notice another interesting things. Ability to choose your own portrait, and what I personally like – choice of foreign languages. Although we choose now one foreign language, we can also choose another languages we want to learn during the game. Small thing but give pleasure. Unfortunately one more thing appeared there – Private Life, which I am oppose to, but I’ll describe it later. Because in this moment I was accused of contradiction, I have to say something according to it. For me choice of languages affects on our manager development. I praised the game so it’s time to criticize it. What I expect from this kind of games? The biggest realism! When I see ability to mark option which ensure that club won’t fire me, I fly into a fury. Moreover there is ability to choose difficulty levels and for all sections! So where is the realism? I can loose match after match and I know club won’t fire me. I can choose very easy difficulty level and achieve big “successes”. I can skip option with no sacking (not marking it) but I still have a problem with difficulty levels. Which one of them is the most realistic? Maybe normal means realistic, or maybe hard will show reality? That’s enough of criticism for now, because I want to describe the option I really miss in Football Manager. It’s about option which give you ability to start a career both as club manager and as national team manager. In Football Manager I had to choose between club or national team.

We have created our virtual manager, chose a club we want to lead for the biggest successes so it’s high time to prepare your team for the season. In this aspect FifaM is much better from Football Manager for a long time. In Football Manager you can choose in your calendar friendly, tournament and tournee. Probably one-day events will be available in 09 version. I remember, when I was playing FifaM 06, I very liked camps. I was able to sent my team somewhere in the world for a camp, and there my team improved earlier chosen aspect (form, atmosphere, regeneration etc.). I was dreaming then that it would be great to play friendlies during camps. Image my expression when I noticed this option available in FifaM 09. This is another big plus for EA. That kind of details are very important for me and decide which game I’ll play. For now more things decides that I choose Football Manager but maybe in future..:) When we have our preparations for the forthcoming season planned, it’s time to go to transfers section. And in this game aspect EA completely discourage me from playing this game. In the first season transfer market is practically “dead”. It’s hard to sell any player, and there is no money to buy someone. Let’s look at it more deeper. Search option doesn’t differ from the time I was playing this game earlier, but it is advantage. Players talent in a scale 1-10 is a great move. There are more options we can choose in search section than in Football Manager. There is option “Offer player to club” in FifaM 09, which is ineptly copied from Football Manager. I failed to use this option with positive result, but when I use it in Football Manager it result in a few transfer offers. Generally transfer market is much better done in Football Manager. In FM 09 transfer script is written from basic so I wonder how it will be working. After first steps on transfer market it’s time hire staff members. For this section EA should be both criticized and praised. EA say that has license for clubs, players, leagues etc. But I wonder if they do not have license for staff members or maybe they don’t want to do that? In this aspect Football Manager is much better. We have there real names of chairmans, directors, managers, coaches, doctors and even scouts! SI researchers net is much better upgraded. I think EA should think about this problem. After few critical words now is a time for praise. Staff section is divided for few categories, and each staff member is described with level of development. So there is another good option, ability to improving your staff members. Because you can learn whole your life! Moreover you can hire club lawyer, this is very interesting option but if it should be in manager competence? I’ll write about it later. Summarize what I’ve already written. We have created manager profile, chose our team, and planned our preparation for the season. We made decisions on transfer market and hired all staff member. Before first friendly game we have to set training scheme and have a look at our potential starts. In this moment Football Manager fan(atic) has to praise EA. Unfortunately training in Football Manager is still pathetic. There are few zips and that’s all we can do here. Comparing it to FifaM 09 it is not even funny. Very upgraded training section is another big advantage for game from EA The newest Football Manager is going to do few changes in this section but I think it won’t achieve FifaM level. Juniors are the next section I want to write about. What argues for Football Manager? Real names! SI reproduced second and even third club squads. You can’t see it in FifaM. But there is something I like. There are as many as 4 groups of young players in FifaM 09, and the youngest are kids in age of 11. You can find big talent in young age and lead him through all his career. That’s a great idea. I mentioned earlier about reserves. This aspect looks much better in Football Manager. If concrete league has it own” reserves league” it appears in the game. But in other case reserves play in lower leagues how you can see in reality. But in FifaM you can switch on reserves league in each league! I don’t like that solution.

Till this moment this review looked very positive. But the main critique will come now. I present list of my complaints below: 1. 3D mode. What I don’t like here? I could say everything. EA presents us beautiful graphic but nothing more. Just after installing 3D mode patches it works quite properly. I never forget when I was playing earlier versions, my players didn’t play what I ordered them to play. Now it looks better but it’s far away from perfection. I am personally against 3D mode in this kind of games. You’ll say now that 3D mode in Football Manager is pathetic and graphic is from previous century, but SI said in advance that they are not interested in beautiful and spectacular graphic. 3D mode has to be only the next tool of tactical analyze. Works over 3D mode in Football Manager took over 3 years. Surely it has bugs too. But I personally prefer 2D mode.

2. Private Life. I mentioned something about it and I will do it again. If I want to play Sims I will buy it. It’s of course nice to see that football is not the only thing in our manager life but it’s an exaggeration. I’m not interested in aspects not linked with football. Buying houses, cars, raising your own family that all is for me unnecessary. So it’s waste of my time. And playing golf, gutless, gentleman focus on really important things in this game. And remember, it’s fifa MANAGER.

3. Editing. Maybe this is the most controversy point of my review. I specially asked about it Bartek: *Is in your opinion FifaM 09 easy editable game? * Yes, this game is very editable and thanks to producer’s help it is possible to make modifications and patches for elements unavailable in other manager games. This game is so editable that I spend most of my leisure time working over patches and modifications”. What will happened if Bartek and others similar to him would rather spend their leisure time in other way. Ability to edit game is in my opinion choosing a soft way by EA. They know that all unfinished things will be improved by fans and for free! As a player I want to enjoy the game just after buying it. But in case of FIFA Manager I have to wait for patches and modifications to get full satisfaction from playing this game.

4. Database. This aspect is incomparably better in Football Manager which as I said includes staff members, large amount of players, even playing in reserves. Matches are whistled by real referees. I personally have bigger pleasure when I beat Franciszek Smuda after match where the referee was Mr. Gilewski, than wining over Kowalski after match where the referee was Mr. Nowak. The question is if FifaM authors have no possibility to create detailed database? I think they simply don’t want to do this and they would rather waste their valuable time at works over Private Life.

5. Thing not directly linked with manager competence is my last complaint. I think authors of FifaM forgot how this game is called. So I remind it one more time. Fifa MANAGER. During discussion with other Administrators and Moderators I was given an example of Magath who “decides about almost everything”. I think he decides about tactic, training, preparations, friendly games or transfers but for sure he doesn’t decide about stadium extension or ticket prizes. No one will convince me that Magath decides what has to be sold in club shops. Maybe authors of FifaM should change the game name for Fifa CHAIRMAN. This name will be more adequate. Of course those addition are nice but If authors shouldn’t be focused on more important things? In this text I wrote what I like and what I do not like in FIFA Manager 09. That’s only my opinion. I have to underline that it is not the point of view of all TEAM, and they even do not agree with some of my arguments.

Trying to compare this two games I reached a conclusion that it is impossible. If Football Manager is better? NO! If FIFA Manager is better? NO too! Both games are completely different. Both authors focused on completely different aspects. Things I like, others do not. On this review I praised lot of options but I criticize other as well. For sure there are persons who will chose differ than me. For them their choice will be right. I’ll take a use of words from author of Football Manager review from “how many players, as many different opinions”. I think those words doesn’t require any comments. Each of us looks for something different in a game. I found something special in Football Manager. That’s why I play and will rather play game from SI. During writing this text I was talking to Bartek. At some time I told to him “as more I write I notice how big potential EA ruined”. I wonder which direction will EA follow now. If they will be still focused on things not linked with manager competence or maybe they will change their current policy? As I wrote FIFA Manager has big potential to be competitive to Football Manager in aspects they took care of. EA has to remember something important. They shouldn’t burden fans - patchmakers with works improving the game, and that beautiful graphic is not most important.

When I was writing previous articles I was counting on long and constructive discussion. What was the effect you all see. Now I am afraid of this discussion. I am afraid that you didn’t understand my intention and discussion I mentioned earlier about only confirmed my anxiety. My intention wasn’t to criticize FIFA Manager and to praise to the skies Football Manager. I am conscious of disadvantages those two games have. I’d like to show you that there is the other side of coin. That you can look at this game in distance. And what is the most important: everyone has a right to own opinion because is looking for something different in the game. Designation “game is poor” is wrong but designation “game is poor because...” is better. At the conclusion I’d like to write about thing I forgot to mention earlier – bugs. Both games have them. I think it will take long time when we will be able to play games without bugs. Both games are unplayable without update. Advantage of SI was that they released first update in game release day. That’s why so important is to release demo version and good cooperation with players. Strong competition will get benefits for us – players. Thanks for your attention.


Translation: Kily

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