Having consolidated its position as the 'other' management title, the game formerly known as Total Club Manager returns with a new name for its annual attempt to dislodge Football Manager as our favourite waste of time. The FIFA tag makes sense: EA practically owns the licence, and the game features an iteration of the FIFA match engine. However, with FIFA 06 featuring management options itself, FIFA Manager 06 could arguably be dismissed as superfl uous.
It's a considerably more complex affair though, with a decidedly German approach, perhaps unsurprisingly given that it outsells FM by roughly eight to one in that territory. Thankfully, such nonsense as selling advertising hoardings can be delegated, leaving you to concentrate on team affairs. Even so, you're still hampered by an unwieldy interface, with pop-up menus and faux Web pages lurching towards your face at regular intervals. While the clean lines are aesthetically acceptable, the sheer amount of information on-screen can be bewildering.
With a full match highlights package clocking in at around the quarter-of-an-hour mark, your patience is tested long before your management skills. As ever, the presentation is imbued with the trademark EA Sports slickness, which largely boils down to having a Stereophonics track kick in at any available opportunity. In fairness, you can add your own tunes and even your own face. Not, as they say, a deal breaker.
New name, same game