Football Management, FIFA Style
FIFA Manager 10 is the latest title in the FIFA football management series, offering a slick user interface and a bewildering array of club aspects to control - manage your players, club sponsorship deals and even send your coaching staff on courses!
FIFA Manager 10 - The Third Way
Hot on the heels of Championship Manager 2010 and Football Manager 2010, FIFA Manager 10 aims to offer a third way of presenting a realistic soccer management sim.
Making the best use of Electronic Arts' massive worldwide deal with clubs, leagues and player names, FIFA Manager 10 includes official photos of 1000s of professional players, stadia and club badges, as well as boasting the most comprehensive football management sim yet.
FIFA Manager 10 is designed for control freaks. This game lets you take control of negotiations for pitch-side advertising and the contents of your club shop on top of the usual contracts, tactics and training element of soccer management sims.
There's even the personal touch – FIFA Manager 10 gives you the chance to not only create a manager profile but also a family and social life!
FIFA Manager titles don't traditionally get the adrenaline pumping like Football Manager does – perhaps it's the slick presentation? After all, playing FIFA Manager 10 is almost like real life, with virtual desks, training grounds, a simulation of Sky Sports News and even an iPhone!
Big buttons, clear text and player photos enhance the realism, while clear menus and icons complete a polished visual experience.
Unlike most football games, sound plays a major part, and not just within the match engine – a selection of tunes plays throughout the game, with an interesting selection of instrumentals that includes U2 and the old BBC Grandstand theme tune!
Where Is the Football?
It takes almost 2 hours of game play to get to your first friendly – give or take 20 minutes depending on your system spec. This is pretty disappointing.
Given the quality of the match engine – the only area where this game really holds sway over FM 2010 and CM 2010, it is even more disappointing. There is every chance that players new to the FIFA Manager series might have given up on the game without an opportunity to play a match within the first 30 minutes.
The fact is, there are endless screens and tasks, some football related and others not quite so relevant. In fact it is easy to forget you're even playing a football game at times. Perhaps it is a common trend with games from EA that you can now choose a spouse, purchase a range of property, cars, other luxury items and even stocks and shares. However, FIFA Manager 10 is thankfully not The Sims.
FIFA Manager 10 does however have an impressive 3D match engine which is superior in every way to the ones used in Football Manager 2010 and Championship Manager 2010. While the matches can be played in text only mode, this isn't advisable for the simple fact that FIFA Manager 10 has a 3D match engine that resembles a demo game in the FIFA arcade football game. Missing this would be criminal.
It takes a lot of form filling and task completion to get to a match – once the slow parts of the game are out of the way (including tasks that are quickly and effectively completed in other management sims) then the task of picking a team and playing a match can take place. FIFA Manager 10 suddenly comes to life at this point.
While there are no individual orders available before the game (and few within), no pre-match or half-time orders or pep-talks and quite a basic approach to tactics compared with competitor titles, FIFA Manager 10 makes up for this with great graphics, realistic movement and the use of minor real-time tactical adjustments, tactics and touchline shouts.
System Specification and Installation Notes
FIFA Manager 10 features a surprisingly low minimum system specification, especially considering the much high requirements of the FIFA 10 arcade soccer game.
In fact you could even run FIFA Manager 10 on a Pentium III processor - as long as your CPU is 1.3 GHz or more, on a system equipped with 1GB of RAM, at least 64 MB (AGP/PCI-E) video card, 1.2GB freehard disk space, an 8x DVD-ROM drive and a DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card, then your PC should be ready to run the game.
Installation uses the unpopular EA DRM management software to regularly check your copy is geniune (requiring you to be connected to the Internet whenever you wish to play), however there is a high chance that you will need to manually patch the game before running it. Two patches have been issued since the game was released in October 2009 - the most recent is available from games.softpedia.com.
If you're not a fan of pages of stats and in-depth tactical analysis, then steering away from Football Manager 2010 in favour of FIFA Manager 10 might be the answer. This game has its own quirks – the endless tasks, socialising to gain favour with the chairman and the distraction of a personal life, but these are all things that can be enabled and disabled. in fact pretty much every option in FIFA Manager 10 can be delegated to an assistant, in effect leaving you to concentrate on the football.
The football side of things is stripped down, a more basic approach that will be popular with fans of football manager sims that don't want to be checking endless payer stats and issuing strategic orders and hatchet jobs before matches.