Player Manager 2 sets you as an international-standard soccer player who's stepped into being a player-manager at a lower-division side. The challenge is to reach the Premier League and survive.
Most of the standard features of management games are present, including pre-match tactics (which are fairly customizable), a full transfer market including short-term loan deals, detailed player statistics (presented visually), ground improvements and coaching.
Playing the matches is optional, as you can simply watch instead. There are 4 playing views, and you can play in position or as a team. Initially your player is by far the best in the team, so choose his position and use him wisely. Once you reach retirement age you can only play the matches for 3 out of every 4 seasons (which is poorly explained by an 'assistant manager' concept, but is more likely an attempt to make the game harder. This would make little sense though, because scoring is very, very hard in player-manager mode).
Before each match you get a video report from renowned pundit Alan Hansen, as well as some form notes which are said to be Hansen's.
Player Manager 2 was made in 1995 by a company called Anco, a company that made very good sports games like Kick Off 97 and many others. As you can see they are very skilled at making interesting sports games with a very good gameplay and good graphics. This game fits the highest standards of this company and in my opinion this is one of the best 3 manager games ever made. This game was made for Amiga and PC and runs very well in Windows. But pay attention: I played this game for about 10 years and I still love to play it, it is a true pearl.
The game begins when you are 28 years old, you are at your peak, and you have even played for the national team. You have to work as the manager in the 2nd or 3rd division club. Your skills and the years you have spent on the field give the great advantage to your club in the battle for promotion. You play as the best player of your team and you're ordering the best tactics from the bench, but as you grow older and the championships get more difficult, the only way to get to the top is by buying the best players in the world, employing brilliant tacticians and making money to do that. Like I said, in the first few years you play for your team, and you have to choose your player's style by picking up one of the four styles available. Also you choose among ten positions in the field. You can select "normal" or "role" play. In "normal" choose the position that you think is the best for your tactics. This choice is of great importance as it directly influences your performances.
Some menus have the settings of the game environment before you can assume the management. The opening menu gives you some choices like start new game, continue a saved game where you can select the file with the name of the game you wish to continue. There is also a "DEMO GAME" (I advise the people who play this game for the first time to use it) which is also a tutorial mode, so you can learn how to play. The season begins at week 16 and at the end of the season the demo game returns in the main menu giving you a chance to explore the whole game.
The office has many sections were you can do almost anything, like seeing the archives that have all information about the league, club history etc... You have financial directors, the press room, the board room, your office, the coaching room, the medical room and the boot room where you finish all the preparation before a match day. The manager's office is the most important place in the management of the game. Here you can assess the squad, look at the individual player's attributes and skills, loan in and loan out players, buy and sell players, renew contracts (or players will leave for free) and in fact control all the most important aspects of club management.
Player Manager 2 includes another important part, the coaching. You not only need to continually improve the skills of your players, you must also ensure that the young players are developing into good players. They need to play to gain experience, but don't push them a lot. You need to keep a very close eye on player's fatigue and the fitness of the injured players.
For the players who want to focus only on management, the game offers the Predict - watch the game without playing. For the players that wish to play the match, there are two options available to play. You have four views of the pitch and each one has some advantages. In the Manager office (your office) you move around and have the various options available at the bottom of the screen. Selecting them will take you to the next menu. The most important part where you control your squad is in the Picture on the wall where you can see the most important part your Team Rating that is shown at the top. The rating shows your position based on the ability and strength of your team. It has nothing to do with the value of your squad or your position in the division. After that you can go to the Tactics, the tactics used by you are shown at the top. You can change the tactics by clicking on them. Now you know the type of the player required for the selected tactics, select the right type of the player for the position or you will find them playing very bad, so always check the 3rd column where you can see the natural position of the player. A shirt with the number in the tactics defines the position of the player wearing that shirt.
To understand the players positions better, here is a short description : (CBK) : Central Defender (FBK) : Full back - defender that is generally faster than average (DEF) : Normal defender (PMK) : Playmaker - a midfielder that carries the game and provides balls (MID) : Good passing ability (MGN) : Hard working midfielder (WNG) : A Winger (CFW) : A forward playing in central position (TMN) : Good with receiving the cross (STK) : Striker - the man to score goals
You can play Player Manager 2 with up to 4 friends. There are four divisions in the league: Premier, 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Three clubs are promoted and three clubs are relegated. There are two domestic and three European Cups. Like in simulations games, there are many factors that affect the final result and if you play a lot you will become more experienced. Like I said before, you are the player but you have to retire at the age of 36. Still, you will be allowed to appoint an assistant manager after one year, than the only thing you have to think about is the managing. Once the assistant manager has been appointed, he can play on the pitch in your place.
You need the mouse or a joystick for controlling the menus, but you need a joystick to play on the pitch. The game set up has many different options where you can create the game environment and you can create a different mixture of numbers and the quality of the players on different positions on the field such as defenders, strikers, etc, for all league clubs. Since each player is a mixture of 15 physical attributes and their own skills, the players in the same set up are very different. Each set up creates a different gameplay to the player which gives you many problems and solutions. After all this talk you are ready to begin the season and the Player Manager career.
You start in the pre-season and you spend the first week on the beach, making decisions about sponsorship, arrange friendly games, offer contracts to the coaches, physics and your scouts. The next five weeks you spend at your office. During this time you can buy and sell players (don't forget that the minimum size of your squad is 16 men) and you also need to control the fitness.
And now let's talk about the players. Their age can vary between 16 and 35. A 16 year old player is not really ready for the league matches so you need to use him only in a few matches during the entire season. When the player is 36, he retires from professional football. The players are rated from 1 to 5 in the division they are playing, so if you buy players from others division, the rates will change, like a 5 star player in the 2nd division may only get 2 stars in the Premier division. The ratings give you a comparison of the abilities of the players in the squad. If a player's contract shows 0 in the contracts column, he will leave the club at the end of the current year if you don't offer him a new contract and you can only offer one contract per week. If you choose to sell the player, he will be marked with a red telephone. If the yellow telephone appears, it means that the player is requesting the transfer. The green telephone shows that you have received a bid for that player, and if there is a white telephone, he is available for loan. The player data gives very comprehensive details about the player. It is an information as well as an action menu.
The attributes of the players are usual for this kind of games: -PACE: it is the speed of the player. The pace decreases when the player became tired. -ACCELERATION: Determines how quickly a player gets to his maximum pace. -STAMINA: Directly affects pace and skills. A tired player can't be accurate in shooting. -RESILIENCE: A player with lower resilience than normal gets injured more often. -AGILITY: Determines how quickly a player can get the ball under control. -VISION: Vision is about reading the game. The player with good vision will not automatically pass the ball to the nearest player but seek a team player that can control the ball to do a best shoot. -ADAPTABILITY: A player with high adaptability will play very well even if he's not on his natural position. -AGGRESSION: A player with high aggression will go for the ball. He will also make more fouls unless he has good tackling and control skills and good temperament. -FLAIR: A player with high flair is greedy. -TEMPERAMENT: A player with good temperament will keep cool under a lots of pressure and won't get provoked by the opposition. -PASSING : Passing skill is probably the most important skill of the player, especially midfielders. -SHOOTING: Shows the accuracy of player shooting. -TACKLING: The ability to get the ball and without fouling the player. -CONTROL: The skill to control the ball.
Another very important part in this game is the buyingselling part, because you can improve your team, or make some money. If you are selling a player, the price that bidders are prepared to pay is displayed. You can change the price and bidders may bid again offering higher price or go away, but normally you can sell your player for a higher price. If there is more than one bidder, the bidders may compete against each other until only one bidder is left. But if you want to buy a player you can enter your bid and the seller will respond: a blue cross will appear and invite you to increase the bid, a red cross will finish the transaction or block after the price has been agreed by your board. It is very important to control your accounts very well and you control your balance week by week. All the fixed expenses are calculated after every match. If you have a midweek match, the gates and salaries of the players are accounted immediately. The accounts are self explanatory. If you don't keep a close eye on yours accounts, you may fail to keep the club running and you will be sacked.
After you set all the parts related with the managing, the coaching part is probably the most important part in the development of the squad. You can access it by click on the sofa. You will see the details of the coaching staff and their specialties. If an assistant manager has been appointed, he will be a part of the coaching staff to. The keepers are trained by a specialist for keepers and similar for others. The specialists are appointed in the Pre-Season menu. After that you can choose the "TEAM PRACTICE" and the "GROUP COACHING", there are many things to see, but the most important one is the fitness where you can improve the fitness of the players and their skills. The injured players are given fitness training until they are fit too. The other important part is the fatigue because as the season is played, the players get tired especially if you don't give them a rest. Be careful because the young players get tired easily and become prone to injuries. Look at the fatigue factor of the rest of the good players in unimportant matches so other players can gain experience and remain satisfied, otherwise they will request a transfer. Be very careful how often players are used. Do not burn out a young player with many games.
After you have read all this I think you can play without any problems. As you probably noticed by what I wrote, I love this game and I hope you will like it too, so I give this game 5 stars.
People who downloaded Player Manager 2 have also downloaded:
Player Manager 2000, On The Ball: League Edition (a.k.a. Anstoss), Premier Manager 3, Premier Manager, Player of the Year, Premier Manager Ninety Nine, On The Ball: World Cup Edition (a.k.a. Anstoss: World Cup Edition), Championship Manager 97/98
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