PES Management is the latest addition in the highly successful and totally brilliant Pro Evo series. The focus is switched to life from the dugout so you can't actually play but the quality of the match engine means you'll be watching realistic Pro Evo games. The challenge in this game is juggling all the behind the scenes decisions as you try to keep your job and win some trophies.
The main problem with console Management games is that they don't have the processor power to simultaneously run dozens of leagues like a PC is able to do. Unfortunately, PESM suffers in the same manner and only has 6 European leagues. The very simple menu system makes life easy to really get involved in building your team tactics. But, the extra special bonus is the function to load up your Pro Evo 5 game data.
You take control of everything from training schedules to hiring and firing your coaching staff. But the real meat on the bones is finding your most powerful tactics. With options like "Opponent research" you can discover inside information and determine the best counter attack. Setting instigators and determining the desired run of the ball you can easily specify how your team will attack. When you sit back and watch the full 10 minute game unravel its always a pleasure to see your set play result in the net rippling! There isn't an option to skip watching the matches so you will have to view every game but by using the R1 and L1 buttons you can toggle the speed of the match. I found it was best to keep alternating the speed, only slowing down when there was a set piece or scramble in the box. Otherwise it gets a bit tedious watching every game, mainly because you want to pick up the controller and take full control.
The layout is tightly linked to the Pro Evo style but it's altered enough to feel like a different game and not just some extra screens you'd never found before. The GUI is finely designed and a major plus point. It oozes with potential to help entice the younger generation of gamer to discover the joy of management games without feeling too complex. On the other hand, if you're accustomed to the high level of detail and multitude of options in games like Football Manager then you'll be sorely disappointed as it just doesn't have the depth.
It's hard to tell exactly what Konami were aiming for with the shift into the management genre. Some might say they're just cashing in on a hugely popular football game series with a "bonus disc". Or it could be a guinea pig for what PES6 Master league mode will be like. If they were trying to become the almighty ruler of the universe at creating all things Football game related……… then I'm afraid they've failed. But I don't think they were, its more of a visual feast than a vastly detailed management game. I suppose the main reason is you only manage in the pro evolution soccer arena and not actual manage in the real world. No option to start with your favourite team in League One and gradually build them into champions of Europe!
Die hard Pro Evo fans will add it to their collection but its not going to be utilised anywhere near as much as the original game. It has some very nice touches and looks stylish as well as boasting an impressive match engine. But, a few too many things restrict the game from becoming a consistent source of entertainment.
5 out of 10