Realism has always been paramount in the Football Manager series, and while the inclusion of a user-friendly ‘Classic Mode’ may not be to everybody’s tastes, the full-fat game has more depth than ever.
Although tempting to write this off as simple update, the glossy menus and cleaner user interface suggest otherwise.
Sports Interactive have streamlined the entire experience, making it more efficient than ever before. Notably, the pop-up menus are a useful addition, and even the loading screens are packed with information regarding fixtures and news.
There has also been an overhaul in the match-day experience. Menus are cleaner, while information about players’ conditions and their ratings appears between highlights. Your assistant manager provides you with match intel through a specific data feed, and in-game commands are now much more simple to execute.
Interestingly, the press conference system now allows you to respond to questions in a variety of tones – however, there are only a limited amount of generic answers, so this may start to grate after a while. The training mode has had a complete overhaul, too, offering an extra layer of depth. All of these aspects can be assigned to an assistant manager, though, if they become too overwhelming.
Thankfully, if management of countless variables is too daunting a task, then Classic Mode offers nearly all of the same thrills at a fraction of the stress.
There’s still enough depth there to please hardcore fans, but with a much-needed hint of arcade, pick-up-and-play gameplay. Another great addition is the Challenge Mode, which is essentially crisis management.
Here you are given a team facing a dilemma – for example, on the brink of relegation – and have to steer them through to calmer waters.
To stop things getting stale, there are plenty of achievements to be unlocked and an in-game store. Online multiplayer is playable through Steam, where you can challenge other FM fans from around the world, with leaderboards showing how you compare.
There is no doubt that this is the most detailed and well-rounded football management game ever created. But it’s the brilliant Classic Mode that is the star of the show – turning FM into an instantly playable game and less of a relationship-ending hobby.