By guest reviewer: Nayson
Franchises are what games have been about of the last decade or so - and one of the most successful of recent times has been the Championship Manager series, which sat unrivalled at the top of the football manager simulation tree for the best part of a decade.
With Sports Interactive splitting from Eidos it's caused a big shake-up in the genre, and has seen Sega team up with SI to produce Football Manager 2005, whilst Eidos have kept the well known Championship Manager branding for their own rival title.
The new game thrusts you into the world of Football Management, which now has more leagues than ever, in more countries than ever - each of which have clearly had a painstakingly large amount of research put in to them.
Gameplay revolves around the same basic aspects no matter who you decide to manage - keep the players happy, obtain an impressive array of silverware during the season, and keep that pesky chairman off your back. It's how you go about it though which matters.
It's a very absorbing experience, with that "quick go" turning in to several hours slumped over the keyboard working on new player acquisitions and training them up to full match fitness before letting them loose amidst the rest of your carefully crafted team.
Fortunately there's been more of an evolution from Championship Manager than a total ground-up rethink, and so a number of the aspects which were there before, still remain in the new game, and are going to be perfectly familiar for fans of Championship Manager.
Where the game has evolved further though is how the annoying bugs which hampered CM4 have been zapped in many cases - there's still a few annoyances which really shouldn't be there, but the 2D pitch has generally been improved upon, and you can now split the game in to two screens giving you the ability to have multiple menu's in action at the same time.
Media pundits take a long overdue role in the game now - possibly taking a leaf from SCi's FourFourTwo - and it's not long before they're laying in to you for every minor error that you've made, or giving you well deserved praise when you've achieved the unachievable - impressively the media interaction makes rival managers dislike you even further and runs throughout the season in a very realistic way with rumours and speculation about your club rolling on and on as the matches pass.
Football Manager 2005 is one of those games which you'll either love or hate - for fans of the Champ Manager series it takes things forward a step, whilst offering a number of enhancements which make it the best game currently available for budding club managers.Overall score: 8 out of 10
Recommended Price: £34.99
Available: NowBuy Football Manager 2005 for the PC from Amazon