Come October the terraces will be alive with Football Manager fever once more, as wannabe gaffers attempt to guide their team to the top of the table. As the latest instalment enters its final pre-season phase we were lucky enough to spend some serious hands-on time with the game. Unlike last year, where an ultimately disappointing 3D match engine was trumpeted by a lavish TV advertising campaign, the build-up to this year's iteration has been relatively low key. Indeed, rival management sim Championship Manager has somewhat stolen FM's thunder with its innovatiative - or desperate, as some might say - pay-what-you-want pricing policy generating reems of publicity. In contrast the fairly quiet pre-release chatter around FM10 has centred on a host of smaller improvements, the most obvious of which is the streamlined user interface that promises to be a "complete navigational overhaul". The usual side navigation bar has been replaced by a tab at the top of the screen, plus there are a handful of fresh-looking skins designed to make the usual smorgasbord of stats and info assaulting your eyes a little easier to digest.
It's all part of Sports Interactive's perpetual - and, if we're honest, so far pretty unsuccessful - mission to open out the mind-bendingly complex management franchise to new, novice users. On first viewing these new changes certainly alter the look of the game, with the pared-down skins lessening the game's unappealing spreadsheet presentation. However, at this stage we cannot really see how the navigational switch-around makes it any easier for new users to plot their way through the game, with some of FM's more confusing elements - such as the match day cycle -
Published by: SEGA
Developed by: Sports Interactive (SI
Genre: Sports Simulation
US: November 3, 2009
Europe: October 30, 2009
Australia: October 30, 2009