Review by james2

"Much more than your basic update, think of it as an essential update!"

The second CM title on xbox inside 6 months is much more than a money spinning update to the most successful management sim. It’s almost a whole new game, given the updated transfer system, faster gameplay and option to listen to music from the hard drive.

All the squad rosters, strips and financial security of clubs have been brought in-line with the new season, with Yorke now at Blackburn, Venables at Leeds (jump for joy!) and Fulham now playing at Loftus Road.

CM makes itself noticed in the videogame world on its own, but seems even better when compared to some of the opposition. Premier Manager and Player Manager on PS2 are too path-driven, while the most obvious comparison being LMA manager (also on xbox) falls short with not enough strategy and no interaction with players and staff.

However, there are a few things that CM could take from its rivals. LMA’s viewable stadiums was an immense hit, as was the 3D match and highlights. Whilst not breath-taking, in the right hands they could make a great title into something even bigger.

The evidence of SI Games taking the xbox seriously as a future co-host for its groundbreaking series is shown in how much faster and smoother the game flows. Playing three leagues simultaneously in the previous game meant long loading times and the game often seemed to lock up. Loading hasn’t been completely eradicated but it is now a lot shorter and more fun to play.

Everything that makes Championship Manager so fun is still here, although it seems that media attention has been vamped up, as has players attitudes to financial and league position, meaning you need to be sharper on your toes instead of just ignoring them. The media and fans are quick to get on your back, and players will want to leave when they lose confidence in their managers’ ability.

Like all football manager sims, this will take ages to complete. And you can’t actually complete it. Because of the limit of the hard drive, a manager’s career is limited to 20 years, but it’ll take almost that to get tired of this game. But even when you’ve taken Boston to the premier league you’ll try again at another team. Endless fun; why cant all games be like this?

One minor gripe is Championship Manager isn’t enabled for Xbox Live. Hopefully this will be included in future versions so xbox players can play each other online and trade formations, just like PC fans.

So where will Championship Manager finish this season? A dead-cert for the title is on the cards!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/28/03, Updated 01/28/03

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