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FIFA Manager 10 GamesCom 2009 Preview

Developed by Bright Future and published by EA Sports, FIFA Manager 10 is football club management game which is easy on the eye, feels accessible and contains significant depth. The grumbles the community have made about certain aspects of the previous games have been listened to and addressed, and quite simply, it really is a promising sign when developers do that. Even the representative I had from Bright Future for the demonstration was clearly passionate and highly enthusiastic about what they were trying to achieve in FIFA Manager 10. With these positive foundations in place, what can you expect in this latest yearly update?

FIFA Manager 10

To begin with, the menus in FIFA Manager 10 are looking very smooth and concise, with subtle fading effects and decent background music too. One quirky new addition to this interface is the customisable manager's desk, where mini-menus, numerous background textures, a notepad and more than 50 unlockable personal effects, such as a scarf or cup of coffee, can be added or removed to create a tailored and functional user interface. Another personal touch in FIFA Manager 10 is the photo album, which fills with pictures over the course of your career.

FIFA Manager 10

As I mentioned earlier, the fan based community have been catered for in terms of requested improvements. You can now set up automatic substitutions from a variety of triggers and options, staff can be moved to and from different positions and money can be transferred around the budget easier. Players can now have more than one training target, four different line-ups (A-D teams) can be set up and scouting players is easier and is now available for national teams. The list goes on, but it is also worth mentioning that the unique love or hate private life feature of FIFA Manager can now be turned off at the start of the game if desired.

FIFA Manager 10

The fully 3D match engine also receives a fresh lick of paint. While not exactly FIFA 09, this match engine looks infinitely better than its rivals and provides a more engaging match feel than simply watching dots. You, the manager, are now displayed on the touchline in 3D, complete with over 60 animations. At any point during a match you can also shout any one of 15 commands to your players, such as shoot or pass immediately. Just don't over-do the shouting, or else the referee may get irritated and ban you to the touchline, giving you no control over the match.

FIFA Manager 10

Each player on the pitch can be focused on to display information about them, and you can also choose to scout them or write in your notepad about their performance. I am unable to ascertain from this one match how realistically the match engine in FIFA Manager 10 can portray a match, but it looks to be on the right tracks. Should watching the match in 3D not be in your best interests, there is a highlight mode which shows a 2D pitch along with text commentary.

FIFA Manager 10

FIFA Manager 10 also now sports a basic but more accessible version of the complex stadium editor, so the user can decide on what level of depth they wish to delve into. Other club matters like the stadium infrastructure will need your attention, with catering, public facilities and transport, VIP areas, match-day programmes and locker rooms all open to tweaking. If the day-to-day routine of a club manager becomes too much then a large number of options can be set to automatic, leaving it up to you to decide what you what to get out of the game. There is also a handy little information button on every screen to provide advice should you need it.

FIFA Manager 10

Quite possibly the biggest new asset to FIFA Manager 10 is the new free online mode. There are no subsequent costs or subscription fees, just you and up to eight players together in one of around 40 first divisions from around the world. Seasons are promised to take between 2-3 hours, with matches played out in ticker mode and most of the options simplified, including the player stats, which are reduced from the 1-99 range to 1-20. This is all to allow for fast and competitive gameplay; the first set-up turn allocates you with just 10 minutes to tinker with your team and players, whilst with each subsequent turn/week you have just 1 minute to make any necessary changes.

FIFA Manager 10

Players in the online mode are bought using an auction system similar to eBay, which should provide an exciting contest of outbidding, and there is also a live chat box for chitchat or maybe a bit of harmless taunting. Matchmaking can be set up for similar starting conditions on the EA servers, where manager points and cups are also submitted to for improving your global ranking. Only time will tell how well this online mode will turn out in the future, but the fact it's a separate and free mode to the main manager campaign means there is no harm experimenting.

FIFA Manager 10

Let's also not forget the fact that FIFA Manager has all the official licences you will ever need, with over 3,600 clubs and 31,000 players, 9,000 of which are represented by real-life pictures. With realistic media features like a branded in-game website and pre-season magazines to explore, there looks to be an impressive degree of immersion to make the user feel like an actual manager. The amount of depth and detail included is impressive; there are extensive club details to dwell on, and even the locker rooms before a match vary depend on what sized club you are playing at.

FIFA Manager 10

Unfortunately, from this demonstration there is no way I can tell how well a season will play out, nor do I know how many seasons you will be able to maintain interest in. What I do know, however, is FIFA Manager 10 looks to be a warm and welcoming game to play, whilst still being an all-encompassing club management game. I hold a positive stance on FIFA Manager 10 not only because of the way it's being developed, but by what I seen with my very own eyes. If you are a fan of the genre then you will want to keep your finger very firmly on the pulse of FIFA Manager 10 when it is released at the end of 2009 on the PC.

POBmaestro | 29th August, 2009

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