LMA Manager 2002
The LMA Manager series was a revelation on the PSone. Unlike other PSone football management games LMA didn't try to emulate the point 'n' click nature of its PC counterparts, instead it created a control system that played to the strengths of the controller. LMA was the only good football management game on the PSone and so after a year and a half of having the Playstation 2 on English soil we finally have a version of LMA especially for the console.
This time around the game has been hugely expanded to take advantage of the Playstation 2's extra resources. The game now features leagues from six countries, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy and Spain and these all run concurrently. If you've played the PSone versions of the game you'll be a little disappointed to see that little has changed with this version.
One of the main disappointments with the PSone version was that on the tactical side of LMA, the game didn't allow for any real customisation. Whilst LMA 2002 includes some 'special' formations from great teams of the past, it still doesn't let you create unique formations by moving players to a position you want. You are basically confined to what is on offer which is a shame.
Just like in earlier versions you can elect to take care of the business side of football (improve the ground, arrange advertising etc.) and personally take care of training regimes and so on or you can leave it to your back room staff. While it is good to have the choice to do both, I suspect that most will have a dabble with these tasks but eventually leave it all to their employees to control as it becomes a bit of a chore after a while.
The one department where this PS2 version has significantly improved is the graphics. The match graphics are much improved and unlike the PSone version, actually look close to a true football match. In fact the detail in the matches is now as good as in the highlight section. As the highlight section doesn't include any subtitles it really is a waste of time for a deaf gamer anyway. This is a shame because aside from the lack of subtitles in the highlight section the game is fine for deaf gamers. The matches are not commentated on so you won't miss anything here. Although the match visuals are much improved you will still see the bit of stupidity like goalkeepers not attempting to move whilst the ball is fired towards the goal, which is a shame. The match view should have offered a radar overview of the pitch. This would have enabled you to effectively see how your tactics were coming along. None of the camera angles on offer seem adequate for you to get a feel of how your tactics are working.
It is a shame that the developers didn't attempt to add some realism to the game. You are reminded that it is only a game when teams like Livingston bid £3,000,000 for your reserve striker when you're managing a second division team and when you are looking at the Premier table and Leicester City are sitting proudly on top of the table (no offence Leicester fans). You don't get any feedback from your players either. In Championship Manager you have players making requests and throwing tantrums, in short you get the impression that they have a personality. This is sadly lacking from LMA 2002.
When all is said and done though because of the hardware limitations of the PS2, Championship Manager is never going to come to this console and LMA Manager 2002 is a worthy replacement. All that the developers need to work on is a more flexible tactics system and iron out the silly transfer activities that seem to plague the game.
Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10 The best management game you can buy on the PS2 but doesn't really offer that much over the PSone versions, if you discount the improved visuals and the extra leagues. The series needs to be made more realistic.
Deaf Gamers comment: Apart from the unsubtitled highlight section the game is fine for deaf gamers.