Reviewed: January 26, 2007
Released: November 2, 2006
Also Supports MAC OS X 10.3.9 or later
I grew up fascinated with statistics. We used to go to Cleveland Indians games and many people kept their own stat sheets. It came with the game program and I think partly to fill up the dead space between innings, people would fill out the stat sheet. For some reason baseball didnít work for me, so before long indoor soccer was the big thing.
We had season tickets and I usually kept a stat sheet. Then I went home and typed up a sheet every week which I kept on my bedroom wall. It had the standings and league leaders with a few other things. Then we got a computer and I was off. Soccer wasnít very popular back then so I had to settle for Bethesdaís Hockey League Simulator to fill my craving for numbers and order.
At last! Soccer has gained enough popularity in the USA for someone to finally release a statistical soccer simulation here! Granted, Worldwide Soccer Manager 2007 was developed and marketed for a soccer crazy country on the other side of the pond, but at least they went to the effort of renaming it and licensing Major League Soccer for us.
Iíll just start out by telling you to READ THE MANUAL. Itís 82 pages long and very useful. It will save you many hours of pain.
You start by inputting your coach information. Be careful which nationality you choose, it will effect your ability to scout and sign players. For example, if you (or a member of your coaching staff) is from England, you will have more contacts and better chances of finding the next Wayne Rooney in your scouting reports. After you input your coach information, you can jump right into management mode and start to add your touch to the team.
You will quickly learn that this game is way too detailed for a quick match. You can try it, but youíll likely find a sub-menu along the way that grabs your attention so youíll want to tweak things until you suddenly realize your evening is gone. This is primarily a text-based game, but surprisingly in this day and age when graphics are such a huge thing, this little text game will keep your attention for hours.
To give you an idea of just how in-depth this game is; matches are sometimes moved to accommodate television coverage. Every insane little detail is here. You can give players nicknames. There are several different options for disciplining a player with various consequences to each. You can talk to the press about a player with their happiness at the club going up or down accordingly. You can even take a vacation. Basically you can spend hours just setting up a single day of activities at the club, from youth team to the senior team.
They licensed USAís Major League Soccer for release here, including all the logos and most of the player mug shots. They have MLS structured as any other league. However, MLS is essentially still a single entity Ė the league owns all the players. This isnít addressed in WSM07 at all, but I suppose if it were included the game would be a bit boring.
The only playable league in the USA is Major League Soccer, however you can draw from a large player pool which includes minor league USA teams (but not leagues). Some teams have U18 and youth squads as resources as well. If you really want to be in the hot seat, you can even coach the National Team.
Once you have all your team and tactics picked you go into game mode. The actual matches are shown as an overhead view with numbered circles moving around the field. As archaic as that may sound, I found myself watching the games and yelling at my team of little circles. Oddly enough, they included the option of ďwatchingĒ a previously saved game Ė which seems odd to choose to spend ones time watching a previously played game of little circles moving around on the pitch, but there it is.
It takes a lot of tinkering to get you team to play well - enough that you will probably be tinkering for a few months if you pick a mid-table or 2nd tier team. Again, the key to having a successful team is reading the manual and using the extensive online help system.
You can also test your coaching skills going head-to-head online or over a network for individual games. This isnít quite as spontaneous as it may sound. There is very little difference between live play and playing against the computer A.I., but there is enough difference to make it fun and worthwhile. You can also text chat while playing.
The main competition for this game is EAís FIFA Manager 07, which deals more with the tabloid personal lives of the players and has a graphic view of the game as if in the press box. As what seems to be the trend at EA lately, the focus is on graphics and the gameplay suffers for it. FIFA Manager isnít anywhere near as detailed as Worldwide Soccer Manager 07. Any hardcore soccer fan will be amazed with WSM, however I do not recommend coaching Fulham. It is an exercise in frustration.
The CD-ROM includes both Windows and MAC versions of the game with fairly minimal system requirements. Sports Interactive updates their software via downloads on their website which also has a lively discussion/suggestion forum.
Note: you must have the original CD-ROM in the drive to start the game. I understand why companies do this, but itís a pain.
None. Well, technically there are some graphics but itís not really fair to grade a statistical simulation game against games like FIFA 07. By nature, this game has tons of menus and not much by way of graphics. But their main competition is EAís FIFA Manager 07, which has good graphics (you can actually watch the game being played by players) so comparing Worldwide Soccer Manager to FIFA Manager, Iíd say WSM is a ways behind in the graphics department.
But the reality is WSM provides a tremendous amount of information from individual player stats to the youth feeder teams. FIFA Manager probably gets a few points for entertainment value, but WSM gets many more points just on sheer volume of usable information.
The menus are crisp and easy to navigate. Some leagues have player photos and official team logos included.
The sound in the Worldwide Soccer Manager 2007 is about as basic as you can get. The crowd noise rises and falls depending on whatís going on during the game and you hear ref whistles, but thatís it. Thereís no commentary, no chants. The focus was apparently totally on the game, which is admirable, but the ďimmersion levelĒ is greatly affected by the lack of any nice match graphics or sound. Those things add so much to the experience, but their focus was on gameplay and it shows.
Sports Interactive really packed a ton of information into this game. This is what ďmanager modeĒ should be in all sports games. There are leagues from 51 countries with over 300,000 players and staff available for you. Those numbers are not typos. This is literally a Worldwide Soccer Manager and somebody actually input all that data for your gaming enjoyment. Unbelievable. Every soccer game publisher should take notes from these guys.
The teams are all from current 2006-2007 leagues. There are no classic teams or players (probably due to the enormous work and finances it would take to license them). Sports Interactive does provide a data editor program on their website which can be used to edit team and player data. So if you wanted to spend the time you could in theory program in the old NASL league from the 1970ís complete with Pele, Beckenbauer and all the other classic stars.
In short, you get your moneyís worth with this game. Just about any little detail you can think of is included. Honestly, writing this review has been incredibly difficult. There is just too much packed into this game to do a thorough review. This game can be completely engrossing and you can easily burn up huge blocks of time playing it. But the sense of accomplishment (even if it isnít real) is very addictive.
If you like taking notes on graph paper, then this game is for you. If you have more than 2 teams in fantasy soccer leagues on the Internet, then this game is for you too.
There is certainly room for improvement, especially in the graphics and sound, but this is one of those games that you kind of immerse yourself in. This is one of those games that you can play for hours during the off-season to feed your soccer addiction. Itís even more fun to play during the season to compare your managing success to your real life counterpart. Itís too bad there isnít a way to link the data between Worldwide Soccer Manager and Winning Eleven 2007. That would be every hardcore soccer fans dream.
If you really like this type of game, Worldwide Soccer Manager 2007 is also headed to XBOX 360 and PSP in 2007.