If, like us, you once spent an entire week on Football Manager solely scouring African semi-professional teams for the next George Weah, Football Director is going to feel like swapping corporate hospitality at Old Trafford for a Mars Bar and a cup of tea in the Screwfix Direct.
Here’s the problem: while the developers have made a sterling attempt at paring down sims like FM and their processor-hungry stattage, in losing the minutiae, digitised football management also loses its appeal. The incomparable joy of FM doesn’t lie in the matches, it’s in the build-up. It’s the preparation; the knowledge that your team’s 2-0 away win was achieved through innovative tactics and canny wheeler-dealing. Football Director does a cracking job of pulling together all the elements – tactics, scouting, training, boardroom politics, the matches themselves – but the constraints of the DS stop it from going as deep as it needs to.
Tactics are basic, the transfer market is modest, the type or amount of training doesn’t seem to have much effect on your performance. All of which means the end result is a tidy, easily navigable football management sim for people who are either too scared of FM’s mega-depth, or really want to go Capello on the bus in the morning. As a technical achievement it’s very impressive stuff but as a true football management sim it falls a little short.
Nov 4, 2008