Football Manager 2006 Review

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Graphics: 7.0
Sound : 6.0
Gameplay : 9.5
Multiplayer : 6.5
Overall : 7.3
Review by Fredrik Angebrand
Have you ever shouted at your favourite team when they play like a bunch of kindergarten kids, or maybe you have been cursing at the team when they sold your favourite player to a rival side? Have you ever dreamed of being a world class player who dominates the pitch? All of this can become reality in the world of Football Manager 2006 (FM2006 from now on). FM2006 is a game created by the team behind the well known Championship Manager (CM) series and the successor of Football Manager 2005. The team whose name is Sports Interactive Limited or simply SI, worked for Eidos for many years when they created the CM series, but they broke the cooperation after the release of CM 03/04. Since then, SI created the title and Eidos published the game. SI’s partner has now changed to Sega and the new name of the well known football manager saga was changed to Football Manager.

FM2006 is a football manager game, which means you are the one to yell and curse when the team is losing, because you are the boss! You can take control of any team from the 50 leagues available in the game and on top of that, there are more than 270,000 players and staff members available. It sounds like a lot right? Wait until you learn that every player has at least 44 different skills, in addition, there are height, weight, age, birth city, and favourite clubs and so on. There is a lot of data in the game and this is what helps make the feeling of realism possible, but it also slows the game down a little, but we’ll address that part later on.

Your job as manager is to make the team as successful as possible by trading players, renewing contracts, making sure the players in your team are content, set the training regiments, make sure you have trainers and scouts and make sure your board and the fans are happy, and so on. The most important and hardest aspect of the game is the tactical part. If you have a good tactic, you can win games that you might not have won otherwise, and vice versa. To aid you, you have lots of information, statistics, and you can also watch the games! The matches are shown in 2D and the importance of this is not the graphics, but the overview. Of course, most people tend to think that watching a game for 90 minutes is a bit too time consuming when you don’t get paid with actual money, so you can choose to watch only the most important sequences if you want. To make good tactical choices, you need to keep a close look on these sequences, since you can then see where your team’s strengths and weaknesses are, and you can also look at the statistics of the players in the current match. Let’s take an example; say you notice that the midfielder with number 23 from Real Madrid seems to make superior passes to the forwards, what do you do? Maybe you should let one of your players cover him tightly and tell him to tackle hard when number 23 gets the ball? Or perhaps you should get a better mid-defender in? Or even let your defensive midfielder, who can play mid-defence, take a step down to make it harder for the forwards in Real Madrid? Many thoughts like these will go through your head when you play the game, and that is a good thing. The wealth of tactical choices is nearly endless and each choice does matter – you can even see it in real-time!

This game doesn’t really need nice graphics, but the interface looks simple and the menus are easy and logical to handle. The 2D interface during the games works really well, although 3D might have improved the things. The graphics are simply more than enough for a game like this.

Right after the graphics engine, there’s the audio department. The sound isn’t the reason why you’d play a game like this, and most people will probably tend to listen to music instead of the in-game sounds, since the sound effects are only available when you play matches. The effects are really good though, and help make the matches livelier. When there are scoring opportunities for the home team, the spectators get excited and explode when the shot beats the keeper, or boo in disappointment when the keeper blocks the shot. It is hard to grade the sound in games like these, but the audio (or lack thereof) is simply great for this game.

The goal of the title is not obvious. Sure, most people want to win everything, but if you play a lousy team in the English Northern Conference, then your aim might be to save the club from bankruptcy and/or from relegation. If you are managing a team from a small town, then your objective might be to make the board improve your youth training facilities to be able to produce players for your team and so on. You can set any objective you want in this game, and if you are good at what you do, you might even get offers from other clubs who want you as their manager!

The biggest difference from the last game, FM 2005, is the improved communication between the players, other managers, the media and yourself. For example, you now can (and should) have a pep talk with your players during halftime and after the games. This can turn a game around if you do it the right way. Let’s say your top team plays like they think they’ve done enough to win by simply entering the pitch when you are up to meet the bottom team. Show them you’re angry and they might think it over and start to play as they should.

In the beginning, it was mentioned that you could dominate the pitch and that is because the game has an editor. In said editor, you can modify the teams, competitions, players, referee staff, and much more. You can simply edit yourself and boost your skills, place your player in your favourite team, and you’re a superstar!

All the players, staff and so on are scouted from all over the world. Some scouts have done a better job than others, but overall, the players are roughly like their real-life counterparts and the realism is about as good as can be. If you think mistakes have been made in the grading of a player, just change them with the editor! There are also some database updates from FM2006 communities that you can download if you so please. If you do not want to play the game with real players, then you can choose to play with fantasy athletes, which means you can’t trade the usual players that you’re accustomed to since they no longer exist. It’s great if you’re looking for a new challenge!

If you are one of those gamers who loves playing online, then this game will not disappoint. You can play against other managers and you can do this in two ways – on your computer or on the Internet. When playing on one computer only, you and your friend(s) take turns giving orders to your team and players. It takes a lot more time, but the option is there! Additionally, if you want, you could play more than one team this way. Playing on the Internet can also be great fun if you have some distant friends who want to play as much as you do.

Best football management game on earth? It’s definitely in the lead for the title, and the gameplay is what helps make it so good. The atmosphere, the realism, the tactical choices, the beautiful goals your players scores, etc. All this aids in making the game as good as it can be. The only negative aspect is the load times, which can be very lengthy. You can directly affect the loading though, by picking less leagues and setting a smaller database. If you want a higher level of realism with as many teams and players in your game as possible, and have a good computer, you should play with the larger and slower settings. If you play it in windowed mode, you can also chat, listen to music or surf the internet while waiting. If you love football, this game is a must, but if you don’t enjoy the sport, you should give this game a try anyway! You see, it can’t get much better than this (yet it probably will with the next version), and right now, FM2006 is the best football manager simulator you can get for your money.