That seems to have been Sports Interactive mission statement when creating Football Manager 2011. If you are looking for ground breaking new features and a state of the art 3D match engine you will be sorely disappointed. However, what Sports Interactive have done is tweaked a proven system to improve on last year's helping and with Championship Manger nowhere to be seen this season Football Manager 2011 is going for the title on its own this year.
However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. What has been achieved is yet again a chance for all those people who shout at the TV "I could do a better job than that muppet" to put their money where their mouth is and give football management a go. And while it is not perfect it is the closest the vast majority of us will get. But just to show how extensive and in depth the FM franchise is; real clubs have been known to scour its database of players to find the 'next big thing'.
Unfortunately, SI have once again not addressed some of the key issues with previous instalments and this does somewhat let the game down in important areas where it would not have taken much to take this game to the next level. The main areas that are begging for improvement as much West Ham's form this season are; press-conferences, team talks and the once again ill-fated 3D match view.
Last season's introduction of press conferences was a nice step forward for the game - even if they were a bit wooden and repetitive. A year on and the press conference is still there, and it is still as wooden and repetitive as before. It seems amazing that a game that is so lifelike and in depth in so many ways has not addressed this. It would have been nice to define your personality as a manager more through the press conferences but you will find yourself sending your assistant manager more often than not to field the mundane questions from the world's waiting media.
Another disappointment is the tedious pre-match and half time team talks which seem to have little bearing on performance or result. There are generally five options to pick from but once again will you find yourself asking your assistant to handle this aspect of the game as the usual response used is "do it for the fans!".
However, the most disappointing aspect of this version is the poor quality of the 3D match engine. After last year's poor show many though SI would up the quality and make it a valuable addition to the game (which is what it should be),what in fact they have done is make it as appealing as explaining the offside rule to your Nan. In a world where 3D is appearing in more and more games in sometimes amazing quality it seems inexcusable that SI have presented such a poor effort and in all honesty they should have left it out all together and you will find yourself resorting back to the trusty 2D match view before the season even kicks off.
There are, however, some enticing new features that make you care a little less about the small flaws in an otherwise excellent game.
Contract negotiations have been transformed into a real-time back and forth with the player's agent, who is no longer faceless or nameless. The agents have all been given personalities and these determine how you should deal with them. The negotiations start with the agent usually offering the contract his client would like and then begins the fun of a real-time back and forth to get the best deal for the player. However, if you push the agent too far (and some are less patient than others) you will find your deal over and you will have to find another star striker.
This real-time element has also been incorporated into interaction with players, which often felt uninvolved and fake in previous games. You still ask the usual questions but it is presented in a life like conversation which adds a much needed personal touch to managing the varied personalities within your squad of superstars.
Both these additions have made the feel of FM 2011 more realistic as a game and as a result the user feels a lot more like a 'real' football manager, which is what the game is all about.
Overall, SI have once again created the most realistic football management game available. The new features are a welcome addition and they do improve the game as a whole, it is just slightly disappointing that a few of the key issues with the old game have not been addressed and it would be nice to see some more bold changes in next season's instalment. However, you will still find yourself up until the early hours trying to get your team to the top of the league like you have always dreamed of.