The 08/09 season will be the turning point for the Football Manager series going forward. In the month of November, Football Manager Live, the online version to compete against half the world for being “the special one”, and the 09 versions for PC and PSP, the first with the new 3D engine and the second with the now classic 2D engine. Three novelties that further refine the glorious experience of looking at a screen while dolls or badges that you don’t directly control chase a ball.
The PSP version presents as its main novelty -with respect to previous deliveries in this console- the inclusion of the 2D engine that had been common in the PC version. This display option shows the field from an overhead perspective and the players are represented with circles, as if it were a game of badges. To correctly adapt the representation of the game to the size of the screen, we can choose to see the field enlarged, which means seeing half of it, or the entire field. To decide how often the field is displayed, we can choose between three levels: key plays (goals and goals disallowed), basic (chances and goals), and exhaustive (more chances and more goals).
Although the novelty of the 2D field is welcome and modernizes the series, its inclusion generates some problems in the development of the game depending on the level of detail that we have chosen. If we select key plays, it must be taken into account that part of the emotion disappears, since the graphic appearance of the field will be synonymous with a goal, legal or not, before it happens. On the other hand, if the exhaustive option is chosen, the 2D field will appear more frequently, but since it also shows the goals, then it is the comments that stop having tension to know the outcome of a play.
This also happened in the PC version, but in the PSP version the field appears rarely, while it is the comments that carry the weight of the development of the game. It could be concluded that what has happened with the portable version is a change of roles, the comments become secondary even though they reproduce scoring chances, while the 2D field is the protagonist of the main plays. Nothing serious, we see it every week on television in football broadcasts: one announcer explains the details and the other shouts when something important happens.
Another novelty of the PSP version is the possibility of having up to four active leagues to be able to sign for other teams like a Juande Ramos backgammon manager -image of the 2008 versions of the game- and receive the news of what happens in those competitions to control players and results. The database is still titanic, adding the lower divisions of the main European leagues, so the brave who want to start from the h***s of football can do so on their daily commutes.
Finally and to end the additions section, two new skins have been created, one light and one dark, more in line with the web 2.0 times and that improve the appearance and accessibility of the game, adding sobriety, greater contrast to read more comfort and metallic look to menus that are the core of the game.