Take over the reigns at the football club of your choice and take responsibility for the decisions that could determine success or failure for your team, Deal with players, agents, coaches, the board, the media and the fans as you attempt to take your club to the top. If it's in football, it's in Championship Manager.
A brand new game built from the ground up, Championship Manager 4 has all the features that have made the series a sensation, together with many new ones!
Championship Manager is without any doubt the one game that I have had over the years that I play and play even now. I have been playing it since it was first released on the Amiga just over 10 years ago, and that goes some way to show just how good this series of games have been. Championship Manager 4 is the next generation of the title and contains a number of advancements over the last installment Championship Manager 01/02 such as even more leagues, more players and the best new feature a new 2D match engine so for the first time ever you can see how your tactics work out.
If you have never played a Championship Manager game before, it may sound like quite a dull title, firstly the game is played in nearly all text (apart from the new 2D engine), it deals with tactics, setting up contracts, praising and fining players, buying and selling players, coach reports, scouting and more. But there is no other football management game around that offers so much detail and endless hours of addiction in one game.
So how do I start this review, do I go into all the detail that the game holds, which would probably take hours and hours or should I write the basics and then go over all of the new features and any of the annoyances that have come up since the last release…lets go with the latter.
So the basic idea of Championship Manager is to take whatever football team you choose and make it the best in both national leagues and on the world stage. You can pick from nearly every major team in the world, and also as is a fantastic part of the Championship Manager games, from nearly any other team in the world…even my home team of Cambridge United. The game also follows every rule in football down to the letter, such as transfer times, contract details, financial information and league promotions and cup competitions.
There really are so many details in Championship Manager, even down to the smallest things, which may not mean too much to some game players, but to others who love even the little things such as a player’s favourite club this is a dream come true. This is where Championship Manager really shines, all these details are there for those who want to see them but for those that do not really want to go into all that detail, you don’t really have to as you game won’t suffer from this, although you can improve your management.
There is really something fulfilling about proving yourself as a good manager in the game, each time you win or draw a game your management points rise, and if you are managing in the lower leagues, bigger victories against better classed teams give you more management points and bring on possible awards and better players to your team, everything here is almost perfect.
So now onto the new features, firstly the brand new 2D engine that runs the matches now, you get to see, in far more detail the way in which your team plays and the tactics you are using. This is really an excellent addition to the game, the great thing about the older Championship Manager games was that it left a lot to the imagination relaying what was happening in the game by text commentary, while the 2D engine takes some of that away from you, it doesn’t take enough away to spoil the game and actually adds more detail as you notice what your players are doing, how they are marking, what speeds they are running at and who makes the worse mistakes. Yet again with Championship Manager there are a number of match day options that allow you to go back to the old text commentary or even watching the game in the 2D view for the full 90 minutes.
So while I have been praising the game no end, there are a number of bad points that need to get talked about…the game has a new graphical layout, while the game looks far better it does run considerably slower than the last game, but in all fairness to everyone at SI Games it is more likely to be because the game has a lot more going on behind the scenes.
The next bad point is bugs, while everyone desperately wanted to see Championship Manager 4 hit the stores, it does look like it was a couple of months too soon, there were a number of bugs that were major in the release version such as histories of players missing, training players making no difference, clashes of international matches and cup games along with crashes and some missing features that users were told would be in the game. The thing is that SI knew of these problems and a patch or as they call it, an Enhancement Pack was released on the day the game launched to fix a lot of these problems, but there will be those out there who don’t know about downloading patches and such like who will have a number of problems with the game until the patches manage to get onto magazine covers.
So on to this “Enhancement Pack” which was released, it does fix most of the major bugs that sadly made the release version a annoying game to play for us fans of the Championship Manager series so if you know about downloading patches for games and you are planning to buy Championship Manager (which you should by the way) then please make sure that you do get it otherwise you will be punching your desk with some of the bugs that are here in the release.
So overall we have another great release of Championship Manager, assuming you have the “enhancement pack” installed. There are enough new features in the game to keep fans enthralled for months to come, and for those of you who have yet to have been bitten by the Championship Manager bug, give it another try, you won’t regret it.