Megasite IGN has been forced into a massively embarrassing climbdown over a US reviewer’s treatment of the Football Manager 2009 PC game by angry fans. The aptly-named Avi Burk gave the game 2.0 on IGN’s infamously lenient scoring system (a 7 is poor, a 6 is dreadful). Oddly, the UK arm of IGN, run by some far more capable journalists apparently, gave the game 9.1.
The Football Manager series, created by the legendary Sports Interactive, is widely acknowledged as one of the most addictive, in-depth and realistic sports management games ever made. But apparently IGN let a reviewer loose on it who was expecting to play FIFA.
The US site has since pulled its version of the review (called Worldwide Soccer Manager ’09 in the US), issuing an apology: “We missed the mark. Our critical analysis of WWSM ’09 focused more on what the author wanted it to be rather than what the product actually was. It was unreasonable to compare WWSM ’09 with action-oriented sports titles like FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer.”
The review is still available (for now) at Yahoo. Burk says: “As far as traditional gameplay goes, there really isn’t any. Apart from managing your roster and coaching your team, there isn’t anything to do at all. It offers little to nothing that would appeal to a casual fan of the sport or to the average videogame enthusiast. I couldn’t imagine why anybody would prefer Worldwide Soccer Manager to FIFA 09 or Pro Evolution Soccer 2009.” In comparison, IGN UK said: “Easily the most in-depth, enjoyable and addictive way to pretend you manage a football team.”
This smacks of cultural imperialism on the part of IGN US. Quite why they felt the need to review the game from scratch, rather than retool the more-informed UK review is one question. A second question is why let loose on a hardcore, in-depth title famous for its complexity someone who obviously wanted to only play an arcade footie game. US game reviewers and sites all too often dominate the review voice of aggregation sites like Metacritic or Gamerankings. And all too often, when it comes to games that don’t appeal to American palates, this is the result.
Football Manager 2009 out now | from £30 for PC, PSP | Football Manager