Review by thy451

"It may not be a classic but it is a worthy successor."

Intro:
I will start off this review with three simple questions that I am sure is at the heart of all who seeking to purchase Championship Manager 4.

Q1: Does this game live up to all its hype?
No, I was kind of disappointed by the game.

Q2: If I had the choice would I buy the game all over again?
Yes, without a doubt.

Q3: Why?
While the game might not have lived up to my expectation, there is one simple reason for the popularity of this particular game. There are no other competitors in the market that can come even close to this game. Comparing their efforts to this game is somewhat like comparing the looks of Beckham to Seaman. It is just not done in fact it is a cruel and unusual punishment that will fall under the jurisdiction of the UN charter of human rights.

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To buy or not to buy that is the question:
It really depends on what type of fan you are.

Type 1: Season Ticket holder:
If you are the fanatical fan who purchases every single version of this game, then why are you reading this review, which you know will not change you mind.

Type 2: Normal ticket holder
If you are the type that do not mind playing the older versions even after you bought the new one, then my advice to you is to wait for the October release or at least until after the second patch is released.

Type 3: Tourists
If this game is going to be your first CM game, then you should perhaps wait for the October release, which will be based on this same game engine and in all circumstances quite stable.

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Before going into the details of the game there is one last question that I wish to address. And this is for those who have never played this type of game before. And the most common question you will ask is:

“I do not get to control the players so what is the fun in the game?”

Put it in a simply, this game is somewhat like a vindication or an ego trip (if you are really mean) for all the armchair managers around the world. Finally you can do something other than screaming at your television screen or at the stewards dragging you away for making too much trouble at the stadium. Of course this would mean that unlike those FIFA kick the ball around games, you would actually need to be a fan of some sort before playing the game. Taking note that the word fan is defined loosely where you at least know about some of the clubs and watch a match or two in your life. Is it possible to enjoy the game having absolutely no knowledge about what football is? It is probable but not really possible. My best advice to you is simply to try out their demo before buying if you fall into this category.

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Graphics: Check out the state of the art 2D game engine!!!
This game is NOT based on graphics. Playing the game for graphics is something like those men who claim to read pornographic magazines for the articles. It is not impossible but it is improbable. Another clue for those who never played the game before would be the fact that one of the most hyped up new components is the 2d simulation engine.

For those veterans this 2d engine is quite interesting. You can see little circles and even the game officials moving about. You may be tempted to watch the entire match in 2d engine but considering that it takes a very long time you will soon switch back to the default. However, after a while of watching this you will soon realise that you are in fact looking at little circles moving about and it is at that point you realise that this 2d engine is perhaps not quite that earth shattering moment in gaming history you thought it was.

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Sound: I hope you like hearing stadium sounds.
Music is non-existent. And you get bored with the sound after one minute. Put on a CD or turn on your radio.

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Hardware Demands: ‘[Expletive] Scotty, I need more power!’
This is the most demanding of all the CM games and I doubt any of us short of those working at White Sands will have the computing powers to play all available leagues. But I have to admit that I am surprised at the requirements for a game that is not graphics intensive. But compared to other games released, the demands are quite with the industrial gaming standard.

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Innovations: Segway Human Transporter anyone?
While there are quite a bit of new innovations over its predecessor, they are not exactly very revolutionary. As stated earlier with regards to the 2d engine, many of them seem less revolutionary when you actually experience it for yourself. On top of the game play innovations such as praising your players or giving international instructions, you are able to change the ‘look’ of the game by making or downloading various skins.

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Play Time/Replay:
The beauty of this type of game is that there are no two games that are alike. Of course if you really are cynical you could state that the game repeats itself every season. I can foresee myself playing this game quite a bit. And that is the beauty of this game, the more you play the more attracted you are to it as you will be able to see your team rise or fall under your benevolent guidance. And since there is no ‘end’ or ‘final boss’, this game can be played quite literally forever.

This game has a longer playtime than the previous editions. This is most probably due to the 2d engine showing the highlights of the game. Therefore I have to say that you would most probably not be able to complete one season in one night.

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Difficulty: ‘If two cars travel towards each other, what time will they meet if …’
Just like that math problem, this game starts off at a seemingly impossible level. But with a little persistence you will very soon be able to get the hang of the game.

The main difficulty in this game compared to the past is the ‘fog of ignorance/war.’ Unlike previously you will not know the statistics of all the players especially young or unknown players not from your team. The rest of the difficulty like the confusion over training methods is quite easily resolved through trial and error.

Generally, I have to say that compared to the previous edition one will find it more difficult to be that messiah manager who can go around with impunity telling opponents of your squad ‘Its hammer time.’

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Bug Report: More like ‘Starship Troopers’ than ‘Aliens’
How much bugs are there? Let’s just say that there is a 5.5 megabytes patch released on the day the game came out. Oh sorry, according to the developers it is an ‘Enhancement Pack.’ In its defence I would at least say that unlike many other developers it is swift in resolving some of the bugs.

Since I only played with this update I cannot really comment on the problems that affects a non-updated version. Generally it is quite stable with the patch. The only problem I encountered is that sometimes the game just hangs but just when you think all is lost and is about to hit that reset button, the game sensing your anger, springs back to life.

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Conclusion:
While this game is not really truly revolutionary as compared to its predecessors, it still is the best game out in the market of its particular genre. If you like the previous versions, you would most probably still love this. However, it may not exactly live up to the hype or expectation you may have had about the game. It may not be a classic but it is a worthy successor.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/04/03, Updated 04/04/03


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