I have to be honest, since the parting of the ways between Eidos and Sports Interactive and the formation of the Football Manager series; I’ve not been a great fan of the Championship Manager series. However, due to my inability to wait for the newest batch of football games, I rushed in and bought Championship Manager 2010 for what I wanted to pay for it. And I have to say, I don’t regret it in the slightest.
I really believe that they have got their name back in the game this year with a truly fantastic football management game in the form of Championship Manager 2010. Unfortunately, I haven’t played any version of Championship Manager since 2004/2005 so this review can only be based on my impressions of this game and comparisons with rival titles. Forgive me if I comment on features that have been in it for a few years.
Anyway, on with the game. The first thing that took my notice is the extremely vivid default skin. This was originally quite annoying but you do get used to it. The bright blue colour scheme can clash depending on the kit colour of the club or country you are managing, although as always, skins are easily downloadable.
Setting up your game is simple as well. On opening the game you are faced with a simple windowed menu in which you select your desired club and/or country, load players from other nations and select from a few other options. After that, you load into playing the game within a few minutes which is a vast improvement on any past football management game I’ve played.
After playing Football Manager, I found the switchover particularly easy. You can tell that the two were once one as the general interface is very similar to both games of the past. There are hundreds of common features between the two as well. The one thing that I noticed was how easy it was to navigate through the menu. Before, there were lots of tricky buttons, menus or customisable keyboard shortcuts to master before you could easily flow through the game. However with Championship Manager 2010, a simple right click on different areas of the screen will allow you to find your way around. For example, a right click on your team selection screen will allow you to find you manager profile, squad tactics, game preferences and the save/load/quit options. It’s almost like they’ve taken all the most commonly used buttons and compiled them into one easy to use menu.
Unlike Football Manager, there is no pause between clicking on ‘continue’ and actually continuing. You are free to do anything in the game whilst news and updates are sent to your inbox. You can select for the game time to continually progress until a decision is needed or just for a certain amount of time. I found this impressive and the game generally feels faster than other titles.
In terms of playing the game, setting up your team tactics has never been easier, or more complicated for that matter. However, the real world of football isn’t exactly easy. So if you’re looking for realism, this is definitely the game for you. There are countless different options for setting up tactics. Player runs both on and off the ball, man marking and more and more and more… the list goes on. Player training is still very much a feature of the game and if you can be bothered to configure your own regimes, it is extremely effective. There really is anything you can think of. All the tactics and training are very easy to use with presets and simple sliders as ever.
All of this is brilliant. In my opinion the most realistic football management game. However, it still maintains an easy to use interface. Don’t be fooled though, it may be easy to navigate, but the game is still very difficult to master. That doesn’t make it any less enjoyable though.
The real fun starts though, when you begin your first match. The 3D pitch continues to progress this season with in my opinion, quite remarkable realism. FIFA and Pro Evolution enthusiasts may sneer at the lack of graphics. However, the movement of the players and the reaction to changes in tactics is extraordinary. As ever, the game is easily controlled in terms of changing in-game options such as replays, camera angle etc.
The one thing that caught my eye during a match is as I mentioned before, the movement of the players. Dropping shoulders, step-overs and sliding celebrations. Drifting in and out of players perhaps a little too often but in an almost perfect reconstruction of real life.
There are so many ways in which I could praise this game and not so many in which I could fault it. It really is a great game. I don’t want to sound like a cheesy TV ad, but perhaps you should really try this out for yourself. It’s a great game and if you want to compare between this and Football Manager 2010, I’d suggest taking a look at the demos, both of which are pretty good indicators which allow you to play a full featured version of the game for a limited time only. I do think that both of the games suffer from a bit of brand loyalty. An ‘us and them’ situation which people are frightened to get over, they’re both extremely good games, but for me, Championship Manager 2010 triumphs for the first time in years.