The football management games crown has been worn for a long time by SIGames and their Championship Manager series. The competitors are getting better, boasting new 3D match coverage and complex license deals from the FA et al, but still none touches upon the brilliant gameplay of the game that lacks either of those boasted features.
SCi's title is the latest of those competitors, and their effort isn't half bad. First off, the interface is quite clean, and not too cluttered, and the options available to you allow you to manage your team fairly easily. In fact, there are an awful lot of options to get to grips with, but thankfully the games gives the option of starting out as just a manager, cutting all the financial issues a chairman faces, therefore making the game a bit easier to play. However, if you're a bit more adventurous, then you can jump right in, or upgrade your position later on.
One of FourFourTwo's promoted features is its 3D engine, which is used not just to power matches, but for news conferences, and pre-game team talk. Unfortunately, the engine isn't that brilliant; it looks rather rough and dated, and even on my machine, which far exceeds recommended spec, it took a long time to load the matches. The matches provide you with the option of viewing the game 'live' in 3D (which gives you a mere 6 in-game options to manage your team from the bench), 3D match highlights, or just gain the result, which will probably end up being the preferred option for many due to those loading times...
And those loading times are a key issue in the game; they restrict continuous gameplay, and can be very off-putting when you just want to get to a match. Gameplay-wise FourFourTwo does not provide the same enjoyment factor of CM, and feels more clunky and not as does not become as natural. Its unlikely to last you as long as the addictive CM, unless you're a big football addict who hasn't experience that game. However, if you do have an interest in the game, it might keep you for a bit longer than the standard game, with the option to manage some classic teams or take on one of Terry Venable's 20 finest world clubs.
Sound-wise the game does actually offer more than the clicks of CM, with some OK music, and some nice chants from the crowd cheer you through your games. However, and I have to bring this up again, the loading times also affect the sounds; because although they load instantly on my PC, you will hear the chants of the crowd with a screen that looks like its crashed for that loading time, making you scream along with the crowd as the anguish gets to you. I eventually found myself turning down the volume so I did not have to listen to those cheers anymore.
People who downloaded FourFourTwo Touchline Passion have also downloaded:
Football Masters 99, Football Masters 98, FIFA Soccer Manager, Hardball V Enhanced (a.k.a. Hardball 5 Enhanced), FIFA Soccer 97, FIFA World Cup: Germany 2006, High Heat Major League Baseball 2003, UEFA Manager 2000
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