Cool that looks just like Grandstand!
I have a confession to make. I don’t like football. Sure I will go to the pub and watch England, but as a whole I would rather play it than watch it. So it was with some trepidation that I approached LMA when Codemasters sent me a review copy to look at! However on seeing the post match report, my wife excitedly exclaimed “Cool that looks like Grandstand”, which spurred me on to give it a chance.
First off you need to create your manager. Choose his outfit, choose his management style and of course his coat! (move over Jose) Next you need to choose your team to manage. You have the choice of all of the main UK leagues, Premiership all the way to the conferences. I was very pleased to see my home town of Woking fully represented!
The next screen is your management screen. Now this is a scary screen for the likes of me. Nine menus each with several sub-menus, all accessed with the L1,L2,R1,R2 buttons. There are so many menus I was actually put off to start with! After a bit of exploration these do get easier to navigate. Also the game does guide you through the first few actions, which helps. Everything is catered for, training, transfers, player stats, grounds management etc.
You can choose to have training run for you, which if you are a newcomer to the game I would recommend. The transfer list is fairly easy to manage and combined with the scouting system allows for simple and logical transfers. There are loads more options available, far to many to mention, but rest assured you can control pretty much everything, from hiring and firing the trainers to upgrading your stadium.
Once your team is where you want it to be it is time for your first training match, A-team vs B-team style. You can set the length of a training match and also the intensity of the players. Before the match starts you are given a chance to move around the players and alter your tactics as needed.
When the match has started, it does look very good. The player graphics and animations are spot on! During the match you can shout new instructions from the side line, such as All out attack, to alter you teams attitude on the pitch. It isn’t perfect, with some on pitch actions seeming rather stupid, but then these aren’t real players.
After your training and all the stats play it is time for a match. These play pretty much the same the training. You get to move players around, accounting for injuries and the like. Again you get to watch your match and shout from the sidelines.
After the match you get a chance to see the post match report in a very Grandstand-esque screen, filled with stats and tickers. You also get the chance to watch Football One, the highlights of the match. Again the presentation is great, with the ability to change camera angles adding to the experience.
The game does have some major flaws. The load times are my biggest complaint. They totally ruin any sense of immersion in the role play.
As mentioned the AI on the pitch can at times be a bit dubious! Also the menus seem very unintuitive, especially for a beginner like me.
All in all, if you are into this kind of thing, I think there may be something in here for you. Although it is aimed at the more casual football manager wannabe. The fact that it seems to spend a lot of time in the UK games charts is testament to that! Just get the kettle on for the loading times!
The Bad: Very, very long loading times.