Another year, another yearly update to a game, this time it’s the turn of the better than average Xbox Football Manager Game LMA 2004 (duh) have they made it great? Read on…
For those of your familiar to last years Management Sim, this is slightly better, but only slightly, and probably not worth the extra purchase unless you’re a football nut.
Obviously the players and stats are up to date, and a few faults have been ironed out from LMA 2004. For example the games look and feel more realistic, don’t feel so ‘scripted’ as before, they are more international teams to choose from now also.
For those of you that are thinking to venture into Football management, LMA 2005 is a great way to start, and if it gets you hooked you’ll surely spend hours locked up in your room making sure your team wins ‘just’ one more game. You start off the game choosing from an enormous amount of league teams from all over Europe, or you have the option to ‘build’ your own team, this gives a certain amount of money depending on what league you want to start in, and you buy the players (so you don’t just pick all the best) then you design your kit, starting stadium, and of course Club name.
When you select you team, you are giving a task to complete, and this is your goal so to speak, whether it be win the Championship League, or avoid relegation. This is where the vast (and to start with) daunting task comes get your team into ship shape, although they are not exactly in a bad state to begin with of course. The menu system is pretty easy to get to grips with; there are basic sections, from Team, which deals with players, substitutes, formation and tactics, to the more in-depth financial side of things from sponsors etc, but if that’s TOO deep for you, you can let the Xbox do that along with training days until you wish to take over. Of course you want the best team around so there are your trusty scouts which will scour an area, team or follow a specific type of player looking for what you are looking for. There is a search option too, just in case you want a quick scan through all the games many players, then you can see if they are interested in joining you, of course with the right money on the tables.
When it’s time for your game you make your last minute formation changes, sort your starting line up, and out onto the green grass your eleven men go… you can’t control any of the players, it’s all tactics up to this point, and now during the game the only influence you have over the players apart from the expected subs, is either using the pad, or a Live Communicator, you can shout simple commands from the sidelines, whether it be defence, or long ball. These change you formation as much or as little as you want (when set up) you can toggle little options like player name showing, or if the ball shows a helpful trail, but the main option you will need is the option to speed the game up. This allows you to watch the match in fast forward till you want to changes something, of course half time soon comes, you make you changes and they head back onto the field for another 45 minutes (obviously less in game time)
After the match the usual stats show, and highlights with commentary from Gary Liniker and Alan Hanson. Problem is the voices are a bit ‘choppy’ like all the sentences are joined together (which they are of course) These do shed a light of why you won, or lost and how to approve you tactics and set up for future games ahead.
You will constantly get offers from other clubs for your players, and they do sometimes get annoying, can’t they just accept you’re happy with your centre forward? Of course you can change your players on and off the transfers lists, loan them etc. it all helps to bring in the money. As you progress you might want to enhance your stadium to hold more fans, this cost as a fair bit, and takes a while to build too, so it’s another difficult decision to think about.
It’s possible to play 2 player in this game, really it just means you both pick a team each and go through the game, and play swaps at the end of a ‘day’ this is really only useful if two players regular are going to get together, as separate players can still load up there team from a memory card for a quick exhibition match. There is also Content Download for this game; although nothing is actually out I assume it’ll just update stats, average costs of players etc.
Overall this is a great starter to the whole football management simulation games, and it doesn’t throw you in head first, it does explain it all pretty well, and you can allow the Xbox to take charge of the more complicated stuff.