Review by RAMS

"You'd never get enough of it"

Championship Manager is back. After a few moths delay, the latest in the series has been released. Unlike few of the previous games, namely Championship Manager 01/02 or Championship Manager 00/01, Championship Manager 4 or CM 4 for short offered a brand new experiences.

The game itself is different in the sense it’s a brand new series of game. A Major overhaul is done whether in terms of interfaces or gameplay. With this of course come a few drawbacks. One of them would be the large specification needed to run this game on a bare minimum, let alone to let the game run smoothly. This is clearly a disadvantage to player with older and slower PCs.

A lot of new features are introduced to add realism to the game. To reflect the current financial situation in real life football clubs no longer possess insanely high amount of money. The game also marks the first time wage budget is introduced to the series.

What's a new CM game without more leagues and players? Gone were the days of foreground and background leagues. You could manage in every league that you choose. New leagues such as South Korean league are also introduced. With this of course comes a more massive improvement in player database.

Another major feature is the 2-d match engine. Bored of reading heaps of text? CM 4 allows you to see a bird-eye view of the field (in 2-d). Now you could actually see where are your players, and what they are doing. Well, they appear as a bunch of circles, but still it’s better than nothing is. Joking aside, the 2-d match engine could prove to be the best new feature in the game, although mentioned previously that if your computer is moving as fast as a snail, you'll find this feature tedious.

Enhanced features are also visible; this ranging from a major to minor changes. Players might notice that CM 4 introduces a brand new training system. With this training system, players are able to dictate how the training are being carried out. You could also create your own training schedule from the training program available. This is one feature that could not be found in the older CM games.

Minor changes are also implemented in the game. For example, there are more varieties in the transfer system. Players have new options such as enquiries and first option. Both are practices commonly done in today's football world. The introduction of these minor changes definitely help to make the game more appealing to players.

Changes in game interface are also made. Players could customize their game's skin to their own liking, something that was impossible in the older CM games. Now you do not need to be stuck with that ugly blue skin. You could download/create a custom skin featuring of your favorite players or teams. An improvement? Definitely.

Gone were the days where you could take control of your opponent and made them play without the goalkeeper. CM 4 wouldn't allow you to do that anymore.

Of course, a CM is not a CM without replay value. Just like its predecessors, the game offered a limitless possibilities, which could only be beneficial to players.

Specifications and bugs that are drawbacks to this game aside, the CM series still proved itself to be unrivalled in Football Management genre. This game is a must-have for football fans. There are no doubts there are still room for improvements. Yet, this game would still rank as one of the best football management game up to date.

Final Score: 9
Gameplay: 9
Replay Value: 10
Graphics: 8

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/27/03, Updated 06/27/03

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