Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Football Director DS review

Football Director DS is one of those games that I kept seeing in shops for cheap but never really bothered looking at. Finally I decided to have a look at the box and whilst it didn't look that bad I still wasn't convinced. I then decided to have a look online and found myself reading customer reviews on a well known shopping website where the reviews absolutely slated it. This actually piqued my curiosity because for reason I'm a sucker for punishment and like to try bad games and by the sounds of it this was going to be a bad game.

The reviews had people complaining about bugs, about losing players out of contract when they didn't know that they were out of contract, about lack of money, about injuries, about pretty much anything and everything in regards to the game.

I finally saw FD: DS for a shiny pound which was pretty much the price that I wanted to pay and I can honestly say that it was worth the pound. Yes the game is 'broken' in so many way but in a lot of cases it actually makes the game quite funny and entertaining and can actually work in your favour but when it doesn't go in your way it can be damn annoying.

The first thing you notice when you first start the game is the very annoying music which thankfully does not continue into the game, in fact there is no music and the only sound effect are an annoying noise on the news screen, an annoying noise when moving on and the sounds of cheers and the refs whistle on match day. Thankfully you are not playing for the sound.

The screen is rather nicely laid out and there is a very handy and quick tutorial at the beginning of the game that tells you what each icon/screen is for and what it does. Whilst obviously not as in-depth as Football Manager games on PC there are still a few icons used for the likes of the squad, fixtures, contracts, training and tactics and so on. There is also an accounts sections alongside the job centre in which you can find physios and coaches, though you can only hire one of each at any time.

You quickly learn where and what everything is and you use some more than you do others but they all so have a reason to be there.

The main two that you will obviously use is the squad page and the transfer list and this is where things take a funny turn or two or three. The transfer list is easy to search and use but there are problems with it. The frustrating one for me is trying to sign players who can be signed on a free due to their contract ending as a lot of time you find that somehow they have been signed on a pre but the game does not allow you to do that so you end up missing out on them. You can though sign some fantastic players on a free and bearing in mind that the game was released in November 2008 there are still a lot of top names in there with the likes of Walcott, Van Persie, Reina, Tevez, Modric and Rooney being able to be picked up on a free due to their contracts ending, thought be prepared to pay a hefty signing-on fee and wage for some of them which has a massive affect on your budget, a budget that is damn hard to look after due to annoying reasons.

One reason is that no matter how well you do what you earn is always the same. Win the League, two English cups and the European cup, fantastic but no winnings for you. Start the next season after that and get exactly the same as the previous season for sponsorship, TV rights and kit suppliers. I was a top Premiership side winning all cups and was always just earning £6M a season which wasn't even enough to cover Rooney's signing-on fee. When I finally stopped playing I had gone from +£22M at the beginning of my first season to -£23M and I hadn't paid out a single transfer fee and had sold a few players over the years for a decent amount of money including £19M for one player alone.

Talking of selling players. To earn some money I sold one of my strikers for £9M and then straight away took him back on loan. You still have to pay the wages for the loan player but I had the player again, was paying the same amount of wages but now had £9M in the bank. Plus the loan system is broken in that when trying to take a player on loan you can select to take them on loan for up to eleven weeks. I did that for all my loan players and three years later they finally went back to their parent club. I also had two players out on loan who were still in my squad an scoring goals for both teams, well I say both, one of my strikers was scoring goals for my team alongside two others. I know this as on the leader board his goals total was going up rather a lot despite him not scoring that often for my team.

Going back to the contracts of players, I'm pretty sure that when I was signing players on a free I was selecting up to five years for their contract but six months later I was having to give them another signing-on fee to stop them from leaving on a free as the game had signed them on a one year contract and as mentioned previously those fees were not cheap for top players. Also for the majority of the time a contract negotiation screen would appear and you extended the contract for up to five years which now worked but occasionally this wouldn't happen and if you were not on the ball in regards to contracts the next thing you knew was that one of your players was suddenly playing for another team, damn annoying.

Another annoying things includes training and tactics not really making much of a difference in the gran scheme of things, winning all six matches of the Euro League group stage and yet somehow being knocked out and having to play in the Euro Cup and not being able to sign players from European leagues despite it saying that you can on the box. Another annoying thing at first was that no matter a players injury they were always out for thirteen weeks, always. This though can be resolved from I gathered by hiring a better physio. When I started playing my physio was on 67 out of 100 but I let his contract wind down a bit before paying him off and hiring someone on 94 out of 100 which promptly made a difference to the length of time that a player was out injured for. So whilst this was annoying at first it was something that could be resolved.

One last thing is that the there are two options for the match day, one to skip over and just see the result and another where you can 'view' the match which is just text and being able to make substitutions. I find that whichever you do it will have little bearing on the result so I just tend to skip straight to the result for time sake.

Overall FD:DS is far from perfect but the developers have managed to get in a enough options and players to keep you playing/addicted and as seen as it can be picked up in shops for generally £1-2 it in my opinion is definitely worth it.

5/10 if you cannot ignore what is wrong with the game.
7/10 if you can ignore what is wrong with the game.


  1. £1! I bought this game full price when it came out! Well, it was a budget €20-25 game I think. I'd bought a few handheld football management games before, but this was by far the poorest. You are being very generous with a five!

  2. I think that sometimes the price you pay can reflect your opinion both ways. I would imagine you feel a lot of anger for spending $20 to $25 on a game which you didn't enjoy and that anger and/or disappointment would reflect your opinion of the score it should get. Its much easier to review a game and look at both its positive and negative features when you haven't had to lay out a relatively large investment on it. Having played this game I would stand by the five he has given it, 5 is an average score and that's what this is an average game, there are far more broken games out here and all of them were at one point full retail.

    1. I agree. The reason I felt twenty odd quid might be worth it was because previous games on the Advance and the Color weren't too bad. Premier Manager was always good for a few hours at a time. but this game doesn't even come close to them. I felt the DS should have been able to do so much more. Just look at Sega's Let's make a soccer team games on DS

  3. I can completely understand where you are coming from in regards to the game as compared to other Football management games and what they are like in the current market it's absolutely terrible. For me though I just seemed to really connect with it and couldn't put it down.

    Maybe you should write an anti-review for the blog. :-)