Championship Manager 5
For years we have looked jealously at our PC-owning buddies as they got to grips with the latest edition of the Championship Manager series; so you can imagine our excitement when it was announced that the fifth instalment of the series would be hitting the PS2. Now finally, we could veg out in front of the television, close the curtains, shut out the outside world and send Cardiff City to the top of the table, or so we thought…
Now we all loved the PC incarnations, so why the underwhelming score for the series’ debut on the PlayStation2? Well, for starters, despite the game carrying the name of the most popular management series in the world, it does not share the same developers as the old classics and so it’s not a case of working their old magic on a different format, but a whole new ball game.
The biggest problem that the game has got is with the control system – us console owners are by our nature impatient and easily frustrated, so Championship Manager 5 had us often pulling our hair out and swearing at the TV before throwing down the pad and stomping off to play something less arduous instead. Yes, it is not unreasonable to expect to be able to get to any screen within a couple of clicks, but often here we just got confused and were not only having trouble accessing menus but something as simple as substituting one player for another was causing us to frown and turn the air blue.
It’s not all bad though, Championship Manager 5 does offer the armchair pundit plenty of stats to mull over, action is not confined to the English leagues, and there are 25 playable national leagues in all with 59 divisions. The game also manages to avoid the tedious loading times that sometimes sink management titles.
As well as watching a 2D representation of the match, you can also just have every move described in a text box. With the 2D option, you can speed the action up to 32 times the normal or, if you’ve really not got anything better to do, you can watch the entire match in real-time.
Overall, CM 5 does offer plenty for the more patient gamer, but you just never feel as in control as you do playing LMA Manager, for example, and if you really want the ultimate management experience, you’re still going to have to fire up that old PC.