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LMA Manager 2005 (Xbox) artwork

LMA Manager 2005 (Xbox) review


"LMA 2005 can be easily summed up: It's LMA 2004 with cosmetic changes to the gameplay and an updated roster. Just like any annually-released sports game, if you've played one version, you've played them all. But 2005 takes this to a new extreme."



LMA 2005 can be easily summed up: It's LMA 2004 with cosmetic changes to the gameplay and an updated roster. Just like any annually-released sports game, if you've played one version, you've played them all. But 2005 takes this to a new extreme.

Everything is the damn same! Even the obligatory CGI intro is the same as its predecessor with the opposing football teams in differing kits and a newly-purchased soundtrack played over the top. The rest of the game is unchanged with only the smallest of alterations being made. In fact, I could just throw out chunks of a review made on last years chapter so I won't have to bother writing out the same thing twice, but I'm not unscrupulous enough to do that...

...

Football management games, in essence, give you the role of the power behind the players. It is your job to select the team and choose the positions, tactics, and roles of your chosen squad of eleven. You wield supreme power to sell old players, buy new ones, and to promote the youth team-members into the senior squad. LMA 2004 2005 gives you the chance to take the reigns of not only the vast majority of European clubs, but to even build your own team from scratch and lead them to victory or defeat.

As you can expect from such a title, the wealth of tinkering and fiddling you can subject your chosen team to is tremendous. You have the basic options of swapping and changing your starting eleven around as you see fit, can shift your team's formation to fit the situation, and even dictate individual roles to your first team players. Want a midfielder to drop just behind your strikers and support them? Not a problem. Would prefer to negate your wingers and move the ball primarily up the centre of the pitch? Easily done.

Watching your team play is an enjoyably smooth process, enormously helped by clear recognition of who the players claim to be. Not only do they look the role, but they play like their real-life counterparts, too: Owen is undeniably deadly in front of goal; Giggs will blitz past unwary defenders with a combination of skill and speed; Beatie remains sadly underrated; Vieira will still pick up more red cards than the rest of the Premiership combined; and so on. The voices of Liniker and Hansan (commentators, for those who don't know) also lend a nice touch of familiarity to this game. Unfortunately, the rest of the audio carries on the series’ trend of being bland and dull -- but slightly new!

The tightness from last years title remains pretty solid, if not slightly built upon. Your players will no longer seem to lose track of where they are on the pitch and run the ball unnecessarily out of touch. Neither will they seem oblivious of opposing players in close proximity and give the ball away cheaply. Watching the games is so much more exciting in this update, and goals really do come from the players’ skill and your tactics, so much so that you can see the shape the game is taking and adapt. Perhaps you'll score from a mazy run though the middle, cleaving the defence in half; maybe you'll whip in a corner or cross between the uprights with a bulleting header; or maybe you'll run onto a loose ball served up by a sloppy defensive error. Watching your team play transmits to you what it working and what is not; you can pick out those that are having an off day and perhaps substitute them, or maybe you just need to fiddle with your tactics to enhance your team's performance. LMA 2004 2005's predecessors failed to transmit this.

It's obvious that the players you command have been gifted with a new sense of personality that helps set them apart from the collections of statistics that they more closely resemble in the earlier instalments. Not only will your team’s morale be recorded, but their own personal happiness, too. You will be told, not only in the training reports, but in e-mails sent to you by player's agents, if people aren't fitting in with the other players, feel they are not getting a chance to play in the squad as they should, or are perhaps getting a bit too big for their boots and believe themselves to be “above” your team. This not only affects their training and play, but unhappy players are considerably harder to retain. Keeping them content goes a long way towards the smooth running of your chosen club.

Of course, you need not only keep your cast of football players happy, but the fans and board of directors, too. This involves juggling the successful running of the team, and also arranging the delegation of roles to middle-management personnel such as a commercial manager, assistant manager, and medical staff. You’re also responsible for the upkeep and upgrading of you home stadium and the careful balancing of your funds. It costs you to purchase the best players the world has to offer, but you only have a set budget, so ensure you chop away the dead wood. There are a million tasks to undertake, some vital, some not, but all ensure you always have some matter to take care of.

LMA Manager 2004 2005 should probably be avoided by those who already own and are happy with a football management game, but for those wishing to update from a much older edition or those curious to how such a game operates, you can't go far wrong for a console management sim. Grab yourself a rival manager, activate the two-player option, and let the rivalry run wild. Few things are as satisfying as stuffing your friend’s team 6-0; it's a thing of pure beauty, and the bragging rights never get old.

It's a shame that the constant rehashing of the same game over and over does.

Rating: 8/10

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (November 19, 2005)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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