The best way I can describe Pro Soccer is that it's Football Manager 2 with more player interaction, more fun, better graphics, playability, design and generally better gameplay. It may not have the complexities and subtleties of Tracksuit Manager, but it's just as much fun.
I can't remember how many times I've said this, but you take the role of the coach/accountant of a third division footy team and you have to try your damndest to get to the first division, as well as winning the FA Cup and so on.
I've been waiting for it to happen, and now it finally has. Someone has come up with a different control method for a managerial footy game. In the bottom right hand corner of the screen is a box. Inside this box are six smaller boxes. During the game, any or all of these boxes may be labelled with a different option. You have a little pointer which you have to move so it points at the option you want. The options range from league tables and forthcoming fixtures, to a box mysteriously labelled Action and another labelled Team Centre.
The team centre is where you put together your dozen fighting fit plucky young lads whom you're going to send out against the world. There's two main things you can do in the TC. Firstly, you can pick your formation from the seven presented.
Each of the players has a fairly detailed record which keeps track of things like his age, fitness, health plus any outstanding abilities he may have. Also, each player has three scores out of 25. Each represents that player's skill in the attacking, midfielding and defensive areas. Obviously their highest ability will govern their position, you don't put someone with a defence of 21 and an attack of eight in centre-forward position, now would you?
The action box is merely a switch. During the match, every time something happens of the remotest interest, the game switches from a statistical screen showing all the players playing at the time to a Football Manager-style sequence, where you get to watch the match being played. This is quite nice at first, but does get boring very quickly. The Action box lets you turn these sequences off, speeding up the game no end.
Pro Soccer is a very simplistic footy game. It's not a straight simulation, but there's enough there to get you really involved. It's addictive too. I've had it for a couple of weeks now, and I play it at any opportunity I get.
Visually, it's the best of its kind I've seen yet. Clean, sharp windows, mixed with a good dose of colour and various sized lettering means that you're not looking at a drab screen.
As I've said, it doesn't have all the subtleties of titles like Tracksuit Manager, but it's still fab. It's very easy to get into and a damn sight harder to get out of. Try it, you'll be hooked for a good few months.