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TOP ELEVEN FOOTBALL CLUB MANAGER from NORDEUS

    

TOP ELEVEN is another FTP (free to play) game on the PC that, like all ofg these games, gives you a reasonable taste and then requires you to dip into your pocket and pay out cold cash (ok warm plastic) to be able to continue in a position where you can compete successfully with the players who have bought into the game. You begin by being given a team that you then name, you can also select a National league in which to play. I chose English, naturally, and haven't tried any other Nation so at this moment in time I cannot say if I would still be playing in the English language if I had chose, France for example. The team you inherit is positively poor, though it is unlikely that you will lose the first couple of friendlies you get to play as they are against teams with less possibilities of success than you. The team is basically selected for you, there really is no need to adjust it, though no doubt you will want to just to be awkward - I did and I still won. Since then I have played regular friendlies with the few teams of players on my list that are also playing and the League teams (NPTs ?) that the game sets up as daily opposition.

    

The team is listed in colour coordinated order with each position having a different colour and within these colours you'll find initials like GK (Goalkeeper) AMC (Central Attacking Midfield) - yes I know it looks a bit like a semi-dyslexic programmer determined the arrangement of the initials but believe me after a really short while they all make sense. You can choose your formation and save 4 different ones having first positioned the players on the pitch by name tag as you want them to turn out. Then you only need to select the formation for each game as long as the team has no injuries or red cards. Personally I find it easier to select and adjust my team for each game - it doesn't seem to make any difference to how they play but it makes me feel good.

You can buy new players from an auction site, these cost you coins that you only have a few to start with and can buy more for real £money, but you may only have a fixed number of players in your squad so you will need to sell some before you can buy. You need to do this asap and to buy the best you can afford - players are quantified by stars (the more the better) - but also by age, nationality, skills (some have special skills like being able to take corners and free kicks)

These are the online costs, pay by PayPal, for extra Tokens. As you can see, if you get hooked on the game then it could become very expensive as these are not per month but as required and with Transfers (Buying Players from the Auction) being a necessity to get a better team you will be paying far more regularly than monthly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

Players often get injured or booked when playing and this is shown by an orange or red cross on the player's action line. You can pay Tokens to get them personal trainers and personal health or you can leave them out of the team and out of training for a few days and they will get better. Make sure you have as much cover as you can for each position. This will almost certainly mean selling off some of your players and bringing new players in. In my opinion injuries especially happen too often when you are a newbie manager. You have to play as many friendlies as you can to get money in and to test your player's skills but there is barely a game goes by without at least one, usually several, players being injured. The last game I played I lost 6-0, no problem there as my opponent's team had skills more than 20 times better than my team, but the problem was that 12 of my players were injured in this one game. I changed 3 with injuries at half time and ended the game with another 9 players injured. This makes no sense - even a team in the lowest division playing Chelsea at the top of the Premiership wouldn't have that many injuries at the end of the game.

    

All the game screens are set against the same black backdrop (as shown above) and like all online games of this ilk you are reminded to invite friends on Facebook - again as always don't hit the invite all button unless you want to pee-off your friends. Everything that you need to do to run the team is quite simple and well explained. Mostly it is click and drag, for example to change players in your team for those on the bench drag one of them onto the other - this will also show the change on the field view of the team. As previously said you can also change formations by a single click. 

On the pitch view you can also move the players around by click & drag. The pitch will change to being overlaid with squares of different shades (of green) once you are ready to drag a player - light green being the optimum positions for the player. If you place a player on a non-designated square they will play out of position - a yellow triangle with a ! in it above the players name shows this. Also if you click on the player's name 3 times you will see a) just the player's name, b) the player's name with 2 blue arrows facing downfield or c) the player's name with 2 red arrows facing upfield. This denotes that the player will remain in position, be an attacking (position) or be a defending (position). 

                                                             

An icon list down the side of the screen on the pitch view allows you to tinker with a variety of options so that you can approach each game in the manner you want to - Hard, Normal, Soft tackling or Long, Short, Medium passing for examples. Also while in Pitch view you can arrange friendly matches - you may need to adjust the clock a few minutes. Matches are not viewed visually. They appear as lines of text based information such as has the ball, he is tackled by but he shoots and scores GOAL !!! and then the scoreboard changes. All the time the clock is ticking through with about 5 minutes per half. If you want to make adjustments to your team or bring on substitutes you can hit a button to take you to the team list screen. Here you can make your changes. Then you go back to the game view and when the ball goes out of play the changes are made and are shown on the text screen, then the game continues.

    

As a soccer simulation this isn't a game I would play often. It has nothing that the other simulation games do not have, except the continual cost to purchase Tokens, The games aren't exciting to watch - you are just watching text - and they do not generate excitement. For a Free To Play game I have very few friends from my lists of lots who are football supporters who are actually playing this. Those that are do not make regular contact.

Having said that I cannot say anything really bad about it as there isn't anything really bad about it, the problem for me is that there isn't anything really good about it either. It is a run of the mill, penny-a-dozen, text based soccer simulation fancied up with a variety of screens to make it look like something it isn't. There are so many good Football management games available that use real player names, real clubs and that make you actually feel part of the soccer business, that I cannot see why you would choose this game over them. Yes you have to purchase them, usually as a physical dvd disc, and this can be downloaded free, but then there are additional costs to running this game at an optimum and with the other games the only extra cost is usually a new version of the game each year.

The way I see this game being successful is if you form a league amongst a fair number of your friends and then each play each other, talk about it together, arrange friendlies and transfers between you and make it a social affair, otherwise it is cold and indifferent with no personality of its own.

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015