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After the success of LMA 2001, a 2002 update seemed a formality, and alas, here it is. Using the same look of the previous version, Codemasters have concentrated on improving the game speed and game engine. And it’s reinstated LMA’s stature as the best soccer management game on any games console, so get out that sheepskin coat and go lead your chosen side to that league title!
If you’re a soccer fan, then you’ll be familiar with the moans and groans of following your supported team, and how often do you hear someone say after a humiliating defeat “I could do better”. Well, here’s your chance! Ok, so it’s not real life, but it comes damn close! Should you choose to start at the top, or work your way up the managerial ladder from the lower leagues, there are all the English and Scottish league teams to choose from. And aside from your league duties you’ll have the chance to progress in all the real-life cups, from the Charity Shield, the FA Cup or even the Champions League. With over 8,000 real players in the database, this game is HUGE. Pushing the PSOne’s power to its absolute limit, meaning that a whole memory card is needed to save a game.
With LMA 2002 keeping the same layout and features, as it’s last installment, it meant that Codemasters could work harder on producing a more “playable” game than before. The improved AI makes you have to pay even more attention to detail, spot any flaws in your opponents game and exploit them for the best results, and this is possible with a wide-range of choice when picking your tactics, with plenty of formations available, the normal and the outrageous! You may go for a slightly easier approach however and use one of the pre-set tactics, from Man Utd’s 1998 treble winning side to Wimbledon’s rather unorthodox style of the 1980’s! Each tactic has it’s up, and downsides. And with the improved AI they will create their own tactics to exploit your game.
Watching the game will give you a good idea of where you’re going wrong, or as the case maybe, where you’re better than all the rest! The match engine has been HUGELY improved since 2001, where all your throw-ins and free kicks would fall straight to the opposition. They are now far more realistic, which means you can enjoy watching your team perform, as apposed to cursing over the annoying bugs that make you cringe when a free kick would go your way! The in-game instructions are a stroke of genius too, allowing you to instruct your team to attack, defend, or play the ball direct as the play is continuing just like you’re standing in the dugout.
The game is very in-depth, with training routines, sponsorship, treating your injured players, and keeping the players contracts in check, all to think about. But if this isn’t your cup of tea, you can easily let your assigned Staff deal with all this, whilst you concentrate on getting the results on the pitch.
Should you get bored of winning league, after league (I doubt it!) You could really put your managerial skills to the test in one of the 10 short challenges, whether it’s saving a team from the brisk of relegation, or maintaining a late title surge. This guarantees endless fun and enjoyment to keep you hooked!
LMA Manager 2002 is also a very welcomed step in the right direction to stamp out on pirate games! Codemasters have VERY cleverly programmed in an “anti-pirate” code. Which essentially means, if you’re playing a pirated game, then bad results and failure is guaranteed! (And no, I haven’t tested this!)
The game is very concentrated on the gameplay, as after all it is a MANAGEMENT game. So although the graphics are less than spectacular it shouldn’t put you off this game. The highlights are really the only place for the graphics to shine… or not. After 5 matches I couldn’t take any more of the highlights, the player movement is just not realistic, and by the second game I was already seeing repeated highlights, the ball also seems to magically “float” when in the keepers hands, and it’s amazing how the players get any power behind shots when they don’t actual touch the ball… a case for the FBI? Or just a phone number for a new graphics designer?
Again, sound isn’t really a big issue, however the crowd in the match creates a good atmosphere, with a distinct difference between home and away crowds. The crowd will groan, cheer, whistle and even chant for your team!
∑ Matches played in motion captured 3D animation.
∑ 3 Levels of assistance for beginners to experts
∑ Choice of full game or ten short challenges
∑ 302 clubs, 8,000 players, 906 official strips
15 Block required on Memory card per save (min)
Up to 2 Players (without Multi-tap)
REVIEW SCORE GUIDE:
We promise that we have fully played 'LMA Manager 2002' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
SUMMARY OF FINAL RATING (%)
00 - 59 This makes your console seem like an older machine. It utilises little or none of the PSone power.
60 - 69 This game is little more than average and we advise renting or play-testing before considering a purchase.
70 - 79 This is a good solid title that should still appeal to those who like this type of game.
80 - 89 This is a fantastic game that we think you will enjoy playing for quite some time.
90 - 100 This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:
It is very important that you are aware that the criteria we use to obtain review scores on the PS2 is very different to that used for games on the original Playstation (PSone). The Processing and Graphical power of the two consoles are vastly different and as our reviews are graded against what we estimate is the achievable potential of each system, it does not mean in any way that a game scoring 80 percent on PS2 is worse than a Playstation (PSone) equivalent which scores 95.
A more detailed breakdown of this guide can be read here.
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