Football Manager 2005 Review

Sports Interactive return to the football management world, with a new franchise with a familiar feel.

Review by Darren Cartledge
Published 9th February 2005

Football Manager 2005

  • Developer: Sports Interactive
  • Publisher: SEGA
  • Release Date: 5th November 2004

Sports Interactive are probably best known for creating the hugely popular Championship Manager games, however after they and publisher Eidos' decided to go their separate ways they stopped making the game that many had come to regard as the greatest football management game ever. However all is not lost as the development team have now created a new contender for the title, Football Manager 2005.

Despite the games new name, many seasoned veterans of the Championship Manager legend will no doubt notice a distinct familiarity between Football Manager 2005 and Sports Interactive’s previous games and that’s largely due to the game been powered by pretty much the same code that powered Championship Manager 4, albeit a slightly overhauled and optimised version of that code.

As you would expect from any Sports Interactive title Football Manager 2005 features more leagues, teams and players then ever before as well as the expected up to date transfers. However the game also features a number of changes and improvements that have come from a genuine drive by the developers to give fans of the game what they want. Seldom does a developer spend so much time gathering feedback from fans to give them exactly what they want than Sports Interactive do, which is strange since it helps to make real improvements to their games.

Football Manager 2005 is mind boggling in size, featuring 51 leagues, 158 divisions, 5300 teams and an awful lot of players, with every statistic and piece of information that any aspiring manager could possibly need. Yet despite the sheer size of the game Football Manager 2005 is in no way a daunting task, sure new players will have to spend a bit of time familiarising themselves with the games many menu screens but after a few transfer negotiations, contract talks and most importantly games, getting the information you need will seem like second nature.

The biggest addition to Football Manager 2005 has to be the interaction between managers and the media, yes it’s been in Sport Interactive’s games before but this time it introduces a new aspect that can have a dramatic impact on what players and other managers in the game think of you.

Ever seen Ferguson and Wenger swiping at each other? Well Football Manager 2005 lets you participate in similar mind games that arguably the games two masters often partake in. Don’t think a rival teams got the potential to be champions or the team you just thrashed 6 – 0 are doomed for relegation? Then say so! However, how you behave in the game can be both productive and counter productive.

Always being nice to your rivals may gain you the respect of some of your players yet others may see you as a soft touch and take advantage of that during contract negotiations, also making comments about being doomed for relegation may lose you the respect of some players while others will value your fourth right opinions. The manager mind games addition to Football Manager 2005 basically let you develop your own personality in the game so if you like you can become the hot headed manager or the calm laid back manager that you’ve always wanted to be.

As mentioned above Football Manager 2005 is based on the same code used for Championship Manager 4 and while some of you may think that’s a bad thing, think again. The good folks at SI have optimised its performance and even playing a few leagues at the same time the game manages to run smoothly and at a decent speed. Also the game seems to be a lot more stable then its predecessors and doesn’t panic if you run other programs at the same time.

One of the best things about the Championship Manager games was how much replay value they offered and this is something that is echoed in Football Manager 2005, especially with the number of playable leagues and teams included in the game. Worryingly though is how addicted you become, one play and you soon find yourself saying “just one more game”. To add to another dimension to the gameplay Football Manager 2005 officially supports online games for the first time, giving you the chance to give a friend a good pasting.

Overall Football Manager 2005 may not be vastly different to Sports Interactive’s Championship Manager games, but that’s no bad thing as they were solid and gave gamers what they wanted, a chance to manage their favourite team and at the end of the day the biggest difference is there’s a new name that sit on top of the league in the world of football management simulation.

Review Score: 8.8/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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