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Well detailed but unspectacular sequel
The original Ultimate Soccer Manager is a decent little attempt at a football management sim which gives players the chance to take control of teams from England's top leagues. It's not an action game like Kick Off 2 but focuses more on the detail and background work, with things like tactics and finances playing a significant role. This sequel manages to improve on its predecessor in several ways and although the gameplay isn't radically different, it is tweaked to the point where everything runs much more smoothly and is generally more enjoyable. On top of all the features from before, you now have a much improved visual interface which is not only easier on the eye but also smoother and more easily navigated through. Other additions include the ability to train both your team and individuals in order to get them up to scratch, while player personality now has an effect on overall performance. There is also a wider range of background details like catering and merchandising, with improvements made in the tactical section and which allow you to fine-tune your strategy to greater effect. For hardened soccer fans out for a highly detailed and reasonably authentic management sim, this isn't a bad effort. It's perhaps not up to the standards of Championship Manager 2 or other games in that series, but it's pretty close thanks to its depth and variety of options. The interface is much better now compared to the first game and it is balanced enough to put up a good challenge to veterans of the genre, so if you're in the market for new/old management game, this is worth a look.
Second in the series, featuring a more complex game engine
Ultimate Soccer Manager 2 ups the ante of the original in quite a few ways. First of all, the controls and the interfaces have been reworked, to allow you a more immediate information access as well as a more hands down approach to certain control options. The generally used tropes of the genre are all there, from the management of the players to the advanced options to get into the playing field and have a nice time while at it. So, no matter what, for a game released in 1996, it still manages to capture ones attention really fat, offer a balanced interaction vs. results scheme, which is really conducive to good result. It is therefore quite playable, though, as you would expect, a game for the enthusiasts of the genre. As a plus, the matches that are included, simulated by the game, are also better than what the original had to offer offering a stylized but nicely done representation of the matches that are disputed. So, overall, the game feels like an improvement on the predecessor, with more than one foot in the modern football management genre, but still leaving one to want more, if you already are used to modern games of the genre.