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Positive thoughts on FM'09

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Right, after so many negative complaint threads I thought I'd take the time to sit down and write about the things I enjoy in FM'09.

The important thing to note by the way is the fact that I've been playing on an unpatched Mac version, on a 2nd Gen. Macbook and haven't had the pleasure yet of running it on my 24" iMac yet but anyway, here goes:

The Match Engine

I can't comment on the 3D aspect of the engine itself, but I would like to say how much improved the engine is over 2008 (which I personally thought was Godawful). Both the classic and TV views (especially with widgets to play with) play a much better game of football and provide a much clearer feedback system on how you and your team are faring.

It's also much more fluid and runs at a cracking rate and is by far the best match engine version I've seen come up with so far.

(Though it's still not as much fun as watching John Dreyer, Phil Gray and Ceri Hughes smash everyone everywhere with Luton on my cherished copy of CM - Sortitou... nah, just kidding.)

The additional input from the AssMan is a very nice touch and whilst some of it is very basic information, at times it does manage to spot the things you can miss when caught up in the game, an excellent improvement.

All in all, it's by far the most definitive version of the match engine and it really does play an excellent game of football and represents it superbly - in my opinion.

The Media

Whilst there have already been a number of gripes about this, I have to say I enjoy my interactions and interviews with the press. I've had them press me for answers on questions I've dodged, I've had them respond to individual quotes and pressure me over spurious transfer rumours and so on. It's a very nice touch and makes you feel more responsible for the team as a whole.

Sure there are times when you want to skip it or run away but I'm sure that mirrors real life. The same questions do get asked, they do want answers and it can be frustrating because they will only hear what they want to hear - much like in the game.

It's a laudable attempt to add more of the media spin in the modern game and it's very well implemented.

I'm still exploring, so I'll leave it there, but I'll end on one final thought:

Just to finish this off, I'd like to highlight something - 08 never gave me that fuzzy, glowing feeling that to coin a phrase, 'I love it when a plan comes together'; that I've had in previous years. Last night I sat up till 3 a.m. tinkering with a quick play through test (I'd chosen Leeds). I was really struggling to remember the players names - bar Showunmi known from a game a few years ago - League Cup, 2nd Round, Leeds vs Fulham. We fought back from 3-1 down scoring two goals in the last five minutes but went out to a jammy goal in ET.

I was so proud. I had made the plays, I had changed the game and made the subs and it had worked. It was genius it had ebbed and flowed like a true football game and my team had down their best being outclassed but showing quality beyond any ideas of them.

That ladies and Gentleman is what FM is all about. You may try, and succeed or fail it is meeting the challenge and losing yourself to it that is the addictive part.

Stick with it: '09 is by far the best iteration of the game yet

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