Personally, I have found this to be the most dissapointing release since BGS started on the series with CM2005. That version was an absolute disgrace, and whilst I can't deny that CM2008 has improved, it has failed to do so at an acceptable rate, and is still anything but realistic.
Firstly, the "improved" match engine, the big new feature for this version. And at first glance, it looks good. Sadly, when you've played a few games, you will realise it really hasn't improved much at all and is nothing but eye candy. The flight of the ball is poor. At times it looks like it's moving like a beach ball, not a football. There are also an embarrasingly large number of player oddities, such as players kicking the ball into touch, despite being in acres of space, and even goalies throwing the ball out for a corner. I can't deny the competition doesn't have odd occurences, but not to the level of CM. Then we have the skittle like players. There is no doubting that being able to see what the player is doing is a good idea, sadly it hasn't worked out this way. You can't tell what the player is doing anymore then you could with the blobs. You might be able to see that the players have headed the ball, but you could pretty much tell this by the elevation of the ball with the 2D engine. The final point with the match engine is the throw ins. In each match you can expect more then 150 throw ins a game, nearly two a minute. What make it worse is that problems like this have been in since the first of BGS incarnation, and has go to the stage of it being unacceptable. Things like this make the match engine the worst on the market.
Next up is ProZone. It was added last year, but was pointless. It's been given a revamp this year, but still, it seems pointless. The idea is that you use it to analyse your players performance, and then adjust your players tactics to suit. Sadly, the information given to you is of little help at all, and sometimes badly inaccurate. When you get a report saying the player played a killer ball out of defence, when in fact, he played it across the defence, you have to wonder what the point of ProZone being in the came. What makes it worse is that with a good match engine, report system and match statistics, this wouldn't even be needed. Sadly none of these are present in CM2008.
One of the most important parts of any game like this in the interface. You need it to get from screen to screen so you need it be easy to understand and use. This hasn't been the case in the first three editions, so you would think BGS would put this right this time around wouldn't you? Wrong. It reamains the same as ever. Hard to navigate, hard to find anything and completley unintuitive. This makes the game just too frustrating as it takes too long to find what you want.
It's also important to have good up-to-date data, and it's also claimed that the data is up to date for the end of the transfer window. In terms of the squads, for the most part, this is true, although there is a large number of made up youth players at some teams. It's backroom staff that are the problem, from staff who are at the wrong club, staff who have retired, and even one Scottish team having there director set as someone who has been dead for a few years. Who things like this can make it through is beyond me. Some players are also badly overrated. Craig Lindfield, for example could walk into any Premiership game, whilst in reality, he wouldn't have a chance.
To be fair. CM does have some good ideas, it's just a shame that these are badly overshadowed by it's many noticeable failings. Eith interest falling each year, it's hard to see this game lasting for many more years as it's progress is far from good.