The Championship Manager healing process continues. However, while this year's version once again shows improvement, the game still feels as though the series is suffering from some kind of split-personality disorder.
On one hand, CM08 is an accessible and entertaining football management game, requiring minimal tactical tweaking and allowing you to enjoy an experience free from overbearing micromanagement. It's also a game that's trying to compete with Football Manager, featuring an ever-expanding collection of leagues and a superb, hardcore match analysis tool called ProZone, which allows you to study games in exhaustive detail.
Despite its somewhat schizophrenic nature, CM08 boasts plenty of quality. Additions worthy of particular praise include a formation overlay, which dynamically displays the opposition's tactical changes and the fluctuating confidence and fitness levels of your players during matches.
Navigation has been improved with some great new tooltips that provide a wealth of at-a-glance information, while you can now simultaneously manage both a club and international team.
The transfer system has also been buffed, with more flexible negotiations perfectly complementing the existing Club Benefactor feature.
We've got movement
The match engine has been refined, and players now lean forward when running, jostle in the area, slide into tackles and launch themselves into heroic leaps and dives. As a highlights simulator, there's little to fault here. However, unfortunately, real-time matches still fall well short in terms of quality when compared to Football Manager's.
CM08 is also a tad on the easy side and often requires minimal tactical tweaking in order to win matches, making the superb ProZone tool redundant. Other irks include underdeveloped team talks and player interaction options, a few too many high scoring matches and sudden, unexplained fluctuations in player fitness levels during a match.
Despite its flaws, CM08 is easily BGS's best game to date and is a commendable step forward for the series. Fun and accessible, it provides a decent alternative to the complexities of Football Manager. However, a weak tactical spine and the hit and miss match engine negate the need for any serious tactical tinkering, meaning that while its personality may be split, its mainstream characteristics still dominate its make-up.
- The best Championship Manager of recent years
- Match engine looks better than ever
- Highly accessible
- Still struggles with real-time action
- Some annoying glitches
- A little too easy for experienced players