I have been a long time fan of the Football Manager series, and have bought it every year since its inception in 2005. Even before then when SI Games did the Championship Manager Series, I had the game dating back to 00/01 season…. Ah memories!!
Over the years there have been games that have progressed the series, specially with the introduction of new features as well as a few years ago, the introduction of ‘Classic Mode’, and there are some years where there have been tweaks, updates and again a few new features.
I have to admit as well, that since the introduction of the Classic Mode, I haven’t really played much of the full game, every time I would go and try the full game, I found it too overwhelming. You start the game, and there are people welcoming you to the club, you’re asked into meetings with officials and players, which if you turn down, can result in the players throwing dummies out of prams, or the board not liking you from the start. Which really doesn’t bode well on a 1 year contract….
But this year, I decided to go for it, start the full game, and grind my way through, and i did. I managed to get to the end of my first season with Barcelona, finished 2nd in the league, won the Spanish Cup, and was knocked out of the Champions League in the Semi Final by Arsenal. All good… you would have thought…. Until the Director who has just taken over the club sends me a message that he wants to discuss my future. Squeaky bum time approaches. Long story short, I managed to save my job but only by promising 5 points in 10 games. Awesome. Which is where I ended the game for the time being, as I feel one season and 6+ hours of play will be enough for this review. (I am kind of scared to start the game back up as I know my first 10 games will consist of Real Madrid, Atletico, Sociedad, Bilbao et al…. Not good, hopefully the game will be kind though.)
Each year there are new features for the game, and old features are tweaked. One thing that is a bit Marmite to me, is the new skin. I love the new sidebar, but on first inspection when starting a new game its easy to get lost as certain parts have been hidden within others. Such a the transfer market and looking for signings, its now hidden within the Scouting section of the sidebar. This took me a while to find, as I was used to going to Search > Player Search. Now, this isn’t a bad thing, but its more of an annoyance. Other than a few of these little annoyances, I find the UI a big improvement, this is mainly because the sidebar frees up alot more space, and allows more options to be put to it. Which for certain things, can make it easier to find others. Hence the reason its a bit Marmite.
I have left this review, this long after the games release to do, mainly because I wanted to give a review that was fair to the game, and playing the Beta, I knew this wouldnt be possible. That was evidence from the match engine, things didnt seem to match at times with the commentary, and it was proving annoying. Defenders getting beaten far to easily, goalkeepers coming for balls they had no right too or just diving out of the way. After several updates, there are a few minor things, but the match engine seems to represent the commentary alot better.
There is a definate difference in the match engine as well, it is clear there have been improvements in the players movements as well as the overall feel of the game on match days. One thing I do like about the new tactics screen is the way a players suitability is shown, and how easy it is to see the other variants and which one is best for a player. The Circle and Star combination is a lot better in my book, and makes it so much easier when picking a team on match day.
One thing that I am very impressed with is the ability to stream your game straight to Twitch TV, this is the perfect way to immortalise yourself in the history books, infront of probably a hand full of people. However work hard on the streams and you never know… you could have a stadium full of people watching your streams.
For me, there isnt really much to say on the main aspect of the game. As a Football Manager Sim game, its quite self explanatory. You take charge of a team, and try to make them the best in the world. How deep you go into the game is your choice. You can set the tactics, training, team talks etc, or you can just leave it to your assisstant to do. Which is another thing I really like about the game, the fact that its your choice. You can do as much or as little as you like in terms of looking after the team. I know people who go the whole hog, and do everything for there team, and I know others who like to pick the team, do the tactics and look after transfers. That is the beauty, its your choice, manage how you feel best to manage the team, after all everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
Overall, this is another fantastic edition in the series for Football Manager, and it makes me wonder how they keep on doing it year after year. Bravo SI![yasr_overall_rating]