Review by PIW

"The latest offering..."

Ah, once again another excuse to sacrifice my social life. Sorry for the cliche, I know it's what everyone's saying about CM4, but it's the truth. Anyway, after 02/03 came out only on X-Box (I'm just thankful that my brother has an X-Box) and Championship Manager fans (without X-Boxes) cried in agony. However, CM4 is here for our enjoyment.

So, how does it shape up? Not bad, not bad at all. Let me explain why :

First of all, the game's a lot more 'yours'. You now have a lot more control over what goes on, and there's so much more information at your finger tips. An example of the extended options is 'Manager Options'. In this, you can set your Assistant Manager/Coaches to handle training, contract renewals, and even matches (although not first team competition). Oh, and there's another team for you : U19s. Which means that you have three whole squads to select your wonder-players from. Another new thing in CM4 is skins. You can choose your own look for CM4, whether the new design, the old one or a random one of your choice! That said, the new CM4 skin looks good, and everything is easier to navigate, in my opinion, than in 01/02.

The transfer system is looking as good as ever, and while it's not changed terribly, it works. The Quick Search, which I used a lot in CM01/02 (try searching for 'No Club' - it'll get you lots of players without contacts :) ) is back in, although I suspect the only reason it wasn't in 02/03 was because of the lack of an X-Box keyboard. Contracts and transfers are now a lot deeper - you can offer different things, such as League Appearances - you get a certain amount of money for each game your player plays (up to a certain amount, maximum 50) as well as others. There's also the new feature 'Offer to Clubs' and 'Enquire' which allow you to, in the case of the former, tell certain clubs about your intentions to do with selling the player and, in the case of the latter, to ask a club about their intentions.

In the matches, there's been something great added : 2D pitch. In this, you see all your players running around, playing etc etc. You can also see the ref, linesmen, subs and even paramedics (who come rushing onto the field if someone's injured). The pitch almost becomes 3D when there's a high ball - the ball gets bigger as it goes higher. While this is no big deal at all, it's just that little bit of attention the designers have lavished onto this game. The 2D pitch is also very useful (if you've got a lot of time) if you want to see what your players are doing on the field. You can watch the entire game with the players running round. It takes a long time, but sometimes it can show you key things that are happening which the text cannot explain. This is helpful in devising your tactics so that you win every game. Speaking of tactics, they have been improved a lot, there are now full team/individual player tactics, not only expanded and improved, but also more easily accessible.

Anyway, the game, in comparison to 01/02 (and 02/03) is excellent. There's a lot in this game to be done, and it will take ages. Not to mention the fact that it's so damn addictive that you won't want to stop playing.....

well, at least not until 03/04.


Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/13/03, Updated 07/13/03

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