After playing this game for the first time, you might find yourself mumbling under your breath something along the lines of "no more menus please". Rest assured that this is normal whether you say it after a few days, a few hours, or just a few minutes of playing WSM2007. Herein lays the games greatest strengths and weaknesses depending on the type of gamer. For those who have a passion or even a general interest in soccer, this is one of the most expansive and solidly functioning managerial simulators around. For those who know little about soccer or have no interest in the sport whatsoever, this is not the game for you. It would be a sound investment to pick up something less rigid such as FIFA or Winning Eleven for your soccer fix.
This is a niche game through and through. Those who have played any of the previous iterations of this game or one of Sega's other simulators such as the Eastside Hockey Manager series will be pleased to know WSM2007 carries on the tradition of giving you an almost endless amount of gameplay options. There is no shortage of depth here.
Once you get past the initial screens that will be all too familiar to some, you will be given a position on a team of your choice. From the beginning you will be expected to accomplish a series of different goals to satisfy the demands of your owners, coaches, and even your fans. The goals can vary quite significantly as you may be asked to compete for a championship, keep the team under a balanced budget, and provide an entertaining and competitive team on the field. While the goals may be simple enough to comprehend, how you as the manager or head coach go about successfully achieving these goals is anything but. The strengths and weaknesses of your team, the morale of your players, your relationships with other teams, even the number of fans that come out to see your squad can affect the way you make decisions.
Such decisions can be made from the layers of menus and submenus that the game presents you with. They really do give you an enormous amount of flexibility in regards to how you can shape your team. Among these options are the relationships you build with your own players. Whether you want to be the players' best friend and cheer them on from game to game or be a task master and berate them for unimpressive performances; the choice is yours. Just be prepared to deal with the consequences which might see your team plummet, and more importantly send you to the unemployment line.
There are different ways you can go about improving your team, both the scouting and transfer options are suitable ways to acquire a potential missing piece to get your team to another level. However before you sign a particular player to a deal you have to be certain that this acquisition will not affect your team negatively. One thing you may need to take into account is the position of the potential newcomer and where he might fit in with the squad. Bringing in a player who may supplant one of your star players may prove to be detrimental to your team's success.
When you are not looking at long strings of text and menus, there are matches you can observe provided by a pretty standard match engine. From an overhead view you get to watch as little circles with numbers in them representing players, move around the pitch. Not all that exciting to watch, the circles (players) move around and kick the ball in a fluid, realistic manner. You might not be able to tell the difference unless you are watching a real life soccer game while playing, but Sega has made sure not to cut too many corners and provides a basic but realistic match engine.
Visually the game is not going to blow you away, or even test your computer's graphics card. The graphics are a standard fare with bland skins that suit the game. The large amount of text may be small in font but is usually in bright, distinguishable colours making it possible to read. As for sound, you are not going to get much of it as you traverse through the game. There are some realistic sound affects to be heard during the soccer matches but that is the extent of what you may hear. The controls are as simple as you can get, with pointing and left-clicking being the norm. Advanced controls include clicking and dragging, no over the top controls to be found here, which is probably a good thing in the long run.
WSM2007 is a challenging game to pick up for new players, and an even more challenging game to master for those who are seasoned. Sega has provided an in game tutorial which can be used at any time to help you comprehend all the menus and options and how you can get the most out of them. The instruction manual is also invaluable and is something you would want to consider reading if you are playing this game for the first time, you will be glad you did. The tradeoff of learning how to play this game however is the amount of reading you may have to do. And even after you've got the basics down pat, winning a championship with one team in this game is a pretty remarkable accomplishment. Winning championships with every team from every league on the other hand, forget about calling the Guinness Book of World Records. You might as well label yourself the eighth Wonder of the World.
WSM2007 offers a staggering amount of gameplay which serves to be the game's biggest selling point and potential downfall, as the sheer volume of depth will not accommodative gamers who have little patience. This is a niche title, through and through, and for those who can stick with the game, you will not be disappointed with how much you can do and control. While Sega did its best to make understanding the menus and options accessible, the game does not provide you with the general in and outs of the game of soccer. Therefore if your knowledge of soccer begins with players kicking a ball and ends with that ball going into what looks like an oversized hockey net, than this game will overwhelm and confuse you. Amateurs need not apply. For the avid soccer and simulation nut however, WSM2007 is the premier choice.