Football! The king of games! In no other sport is the fan as essential as is the case in football. And no-one is a true football fan unless they “know” they could make better decisions than the manager! This explains the success of manager simulation games. Who´s to say if even the best of them are anything like the real thing, but for all the wanna-be Klinsi´s out there, here´s Codemasters latest version of BDFL Manager (a.k.a. LMA Manager).
For years the football manager game scene has been ruled by the game Championship Manager, which nowadays is known as Football Manager, and none of the competition has even got close to the kind of success and fanatic, almost religious, worship that has made FM a phenomenon. Now Codemasters is trying to steal at least some of that glory, not by copying what the competition is doing, but by focusing on size and beauty in their latest addition to the BDFL series. And big it is. In fact, it´s huge! There´s over 1000 teams from all continents (except Antarctic of course) for you to choose, manage and interact with and a massive data base of football info. Also the carrier mode can store full manager and player data for 20 seasons. That should keep most of us occupied for quite some time, but the essential question is, of course, if this game is really worth all that time spent?
So, what are we really looking for in a virtual manager simulation? Is it enough that the game has more info than a small library or that it has a 3D engine that many “real” football games dream about? The answer is: No. Not if all that raw power and glitz is all there is! And unfortunately, that is much the case with BDLF Manager 2007. Even with its fancy own “interactive virtual TV-station” and full post game reports from every game, you still get the feeling that there´s something wrong: You are not really in control of how your team is playing! Tactical changes and formations don´t really seem to make too much of a difference as long as you have the best players you can get. So, even though, outside the field you get to do and enjoy a lot of cool stuff the most important part, the actual game, just seems to play it self the way it wants. So if you want to play a team owner simulation this game is for you, but if you really want to focus on tactical skills you had better choose Football Manager.
But, let´s not be too cruel. BDFL Manager 2007 is a huge improvement for this franchise and, although sometimes a little clumsy, it is accessible and charming. Although stuff like creating your own manager, so you can see him at the sidelines during the game, doesn´t really have anything to do with managing, it´s stuff like this that makes BDLF Manager 2007 stand out. For the hardcore freaks Football Manager is and will remain as the “real thing” but for those who don´t always have to take these kind of things dead serious BDLF Manager 2007 gives a good and more accessible option.