There are two sides to every sport - sweat-soaked athletes and stat-soaked nerds. Frozen Cortex [official site] may have replaced the glistening muscle with lubricated machines, but the principle is the same. Out on the field, the players use their skills and training to follow the orders of a tactical technician. The initial release lacked the kind of statistical backdrop that a good manager can drown in though, so the news that Mode 7 were adding a fully simulated management mode was marvelous. Now it's here, in the form of a free update, and it stole my weekend.
If you're unable to watch the video summary of the new mode, here's a summary:
Simulate games with full AI in a convenient top-down view
Players have mechanical failures and injuries! My favourite is “serious head disconnection”
Lots and lots and lots of stats for individual matches and the entire season
Manage your team and jiggle your salary cap
Bid against other teams for free agents
90-team college league, college draft and end-of-season megatournament
New betting options; bet on the C.O.L.L.E.G.E. league and on the GCL
Spend your gambling winnings on visual customisation for your team
Boost your salary cap with good performance and try to become a dynasty team
We also fixed a load of bugs and put in a couple of little features: the biggest one is allowing you to skip the 3D outcomes - we listened!
I love Cortex's matches but that's never enough for me when it comes to sports games. I need to see the other side - the stats and the simulation of the world that contains the sport. If there isn't enough evidence to convince me that players and teams are active entities outside the moments when I meet them on the pitch/court/arena then I become apathetic rather quickly.
This update doesn't just rekindle my interest in Frozen Cortex, it's almost like an entirely new game. And it's a very good game indeed.