It’s been a few seasons since I played a Football Manager game (2009) so this isn’t going to dwell on all those little technical updates that Sports Interactive make each year to tweak and improve but rather consider how the game plays as a whole for a football fan who hasn’t followed the series religiously.
Getting started was easy and after selecting a team to manage (Manchester United – who else are you going to pick when you’ve been a fan for 25 years) it was quite quick loading the databases (PC spec dependant) and getting me straight to my team. What impressed me straight away was the layout of the club info (or home) screen as you as a manager see it. This managed to relay huge amounts of information without looking over crowded or, more importantly, over complicated.
The first place I went to was the squad to see who I could sell and who wasn’t needed in the first team at the moment. Again all of this was very easily achieved with right-clicking the mouse and confirming selections. It wasn’t until I was trying to scout a player that I came up against any difficulties. Every time I tried to scout a player it told me that I needed to assign a Club Scout to the task, however, I couldn’t find out how to do this and the help system told me that it was already done despite the page behind still saying no-one was assigned. This is demonstrated in the screenshot below.
However this was one small issue in an otherwise quite addictive game. Sports Interactive already know that Football Manager is going to sell well to the existing army of fans but its players like me who don’t buy the update every year that they will come to need. I found this version very playable and particularly like the new match engine, and have watched the key events from all my games so far in the season. In previous versions I have just skipped the match engine and sped through the commentary as quickly as possible to deal with the post-match. In 2012 the in-game influence and tone in which you can speak to the players feels like it makes a difference and you really fell as though you can make a difference with team talks and tactics.
My biggest complaint with Football Manager in all its versions that I have played over the years is the transfer system. As a player you still have to bid massively over the odds for even the most basic player, regardless of the club you manage or the funds you have. As Manchester United manager I tried to purchase Gareth Bale. I didn’t expect him to sell for his current value (£10.75m) but neither did I expect that I would have to offer 3 players and £40m and still have the deal turned down. I realise that he is marked as a key player for Tottenham but this is the same for most players that you try to buy. Additionally, trying to unsettle a player or negotiate a price makes no effect.
What’s most annoying about this is that when someone bids for one of your players, key players or otherwise, they never offer the current market price let alone offer more than they are worth and as soon as you negotiate they drop their interest. This is the part of the game that, for me, means I won’t play it for more than a couple of seasons or start again with another team. For me, this ruins the longevity of the game and has hampered the series for a number of years. I still remember Championship Manager (before the name changes) when Manchester United had players like Bryan Robson, Mark Hughes and Norman Whiteside and that version of the game seemed more balanced in the transfer market than any of the recent versions.
The only other annoyance is the lack of Premier League Official Players and Licences. You would think that after 20 years of this game that Sports Interactive could have gained the rights to the Premier League kits, badges and players. These are only small gripes however, and besides this, this is a very playable and addictive game. It is so easy to just play one more match, to check the club news and to sort the team. I may not play this a lot but when I do it will be for a few weeks on end.
Clean and Crisp and suitable for the game.
Crowd noise and not much else.
very addictive, if they could just improve the transfer system
Dependant on the player. For me this will only be very occasionally and it’s unlikely that I will purchase the next version.
This is an excellent game and highly addictive. The graphics and sound are almost irrelevant and so I haven’t really taken them in to account for this final score. Whilst you’re playing this it will be very hard to put down. When you do you may return to it, but for me there will be other games that get in the way.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.