Monday 10 April 2006
This is strange. On the one hand, Sports Interactive's footie venture on PSP feels as empty and dry as an alcoholic's hip flask. But on the other it's easily one of the most enjoyable management games we've ever played. Veterans of the Football Manager series, however, will froth at the mouth as you see how many key features you're missing from the PC version.
The transfer system has been streamlined to the point where you can't even exchange players to make up for your lack of funds and there's no reserve team. Heck, you can't even view a match report to check key moments of previous games.
But when you sit down and really get to grips with Football Manager Handheld, these minor fractions will fade to oblivion. You'll be too busy fretting over the five million you've just splurged on Djibril Cisse to worry about minor flaws. It's five million more than he's worth.
Above: Just as in the real world, a string of bad results canspell troublefor the manager.
Almost as oddly as parting with cash for Liverpool's goal shy miss-man, Football Manager Handheld kicks-off at the beginning of the current 2005-2006 season, but with all the moves from this January's transfer window. Vidic is at Man Yoo, Walcott's at Arsenal and half of the Spurs team are at Portsmouth. It feels weird, but it sort of makes sense.
From the outset, FM Handheld feels accessible. A couple of menu clicks later and you're ready. You can only manage a single country's teams throughout your career, rather than, for instance, being plucked from League Two obscurity to manage Inter Milan. Shame. But PSP's not exactly full of memory and you get a solid match engine in return - more on that later.