on 22 December 2011
No comments about Steam - everythings been said......
From 1986 onwards I have played Football and Footie manager games from Kevin Toms legendary original to the original giant leap forward in management, Championship Manager and Football manager its evolutionary successor.
Sadly these days my fantasy career is no more. For the sake of realism the game is so anal as to be beyond belief.
A season lasts like a real season.
To do pre match and post match I may as well write off an hour per match.
The fundamentals of the game are great (database, scouting etc)
However I dont want or desire to faff about with agents, 'tones' and endless media rubbish.
I want the game to be more modular, allow me to set-up the game with or without these features - NOT letting my virtual assistant manager deal with it and mucking up my season.
I want to get get on with the fantasy in my head of my team marching up the table and onto glory.
PLEASE SI make the next versions scalable and customisable to appeal to all types of players - fantasists - reality freaks and the somewhere in betweens.
THIS is the way forward to bring lost souls back into the Football Manager dreamworld.
Don't make the game as dreary and drudgable as the jobs most of us have to do!
Better effort next season lads.
on 2 November 2011
Although the game is ok, it really doesn't warrant £30 'IF' you already have Football Manager 2011. The Steam activation is ridiculous, having to be on-line, one code, no resale value, extra memory wasted on Steam running in the background etc etc...with very little benefit to the consumer. We don't mind annoyances if they benefit us, after all its us paying the money. However this only benefits Sports Interactive.
I have played Football Manager 2011 to the point where my saved game shows that I have played it for 14 days straight, and now playing this, I really don't see any new benefits that warrant £30 of my money? It's slower, and wow! I can now talk in a tone? It's just a gimmick. You now spend far too much time farting around with how you think you sound rather than working on the things that matter, your tactics, training, and scouting & buying players. Media may get repetitive, but I get passed that by inputting and adding to the answers with my own quotes in the comment section.
So apart from a database and date update (which if you scour the internet you'll find a new database for the 2011 release), tone, more stuff on the screen (more of exactly the same stuff as last year I may add),and oh a new camera angle, there really is nothing to warrant spending £30 'IF' you already have 2011. Unless your just keeping up with the Jones's and need the newest of everything. Even the layout, skin and fonts are the same.
Please save your money. I played the demo, and played the full version at a mates, and I wanted to love it, I really did, but at best its just a patch. A patch which they charge you a lot of money for. They can't even be bothered to print a manual, instead they have just updated last years and stuck it on the internet. When you spend £30 on a game, its about the presentation, the packaging, the extra touches, like a nice manual. I know it sounds silly but its a lot of money, and its all part of what you buy into.
It annoys me that they market it as a brand new game in it's own right, when it just isn't. I mean really how much can be done in 7 months? (You need the other 4 or 5 months at least for testing) They would be better off releasing a new one every 2 years, one with substantial updates, and a full game in its own right. But they won't, because the don't care about the product or the consumer, but the money. Me? I'm sticking with last years, and will take a look again next year. I suggest others with 2011 do the same. However if you don't have 2011, its worth a look.
on 1 April 2012
To start off with, I'd like to say that I've bought nearly every Football Manager (or Championship Manager as it used to be) since CM'93 way back in...1993. So I like to think I know a bit about the CM/FM series of management games, having experienced the major changes the game has gone through as Championship Manager became Football Manager, and can be in a position to offer an opinion on this one. Hence, my review of this game isn't about how very little has changed from FM'11, it's about the game overall and how it's developed over time.
The core of the game itself has come on leaps and bounds since the 90's. I've always been a fan of the switch to 3D - the option is there to view old school text-only commentary if people want it, so visualising the text was never a negative imo. The depth of the game is now immense, from contracts to media interaction, tactical depth to set pieces, from scouting to training, etc etc, feature wise it's great compared to older versions, and provides everything the game needs to it to be a downright brilliant experience.
However, this is where the criticisms start to mount up. Ever since switching to SEGA as publishers, Sports Interactive have been under considerably increased and tremendous pressure to rush games out in time for the pre-Christmas sales every year. In the past few years, they've released retail versions of Football Manager that have had horrendous balance issues and downright game-breaking bugs, hoping to patch the problems later on (usually releasing the main patch in March, some 5 months after release) whilst they collect as many sales as they can. And to make matters worse, they're clearly working to a development budget and cycle that doesn't give enough time or manpower to make drastic overhauls to the game. As such, the game doesn't change much at all and hasn't really since FM2008, they just continuosly tweak the same game and add more features and options (or bells and whistles) onto an outdated design that really needs to be re-written from the ground-up again. Most of us know that FM 2012 is pretty much the same as FM 2011 just with a few streamlined menu options that allow you to perform a task in 1-2 clicks that previously would have needed 3-4 clicks (certainly not worth £30), but that doesn't even begin to deal with the underlying design that is horribly outdated. A good way to think about it is that if FM 2012 were a version of Windows, it'd be Windows '98 that had been continuously patched over the next 14 years, never being re-written from the ground up. Think about all the inefficiencies and limitations that such a development model would present compared to systems that are constantly redesigned, especially in the face of competition (i.e. Windows 7 copying elements of Linux or MacOS because the others provided something innovative).
As an example of the limitations being referred to, take a look at the match engine. It hasn't changed in donkey years and the AI has become so linear it's a joke. E.g. the AI actually cheats by scripting mistakes and poor performanes into your team/players to give the impression that the AI is countering your tactics like a real life manager would. The AI doesn't have the ability to form genuine counter tactics, or exploit weaknesses in your tactics or lineup, - you just end up losing games because the game has decided you will. It's gotten to the stage where having good tactics and a well put-together team with great individuals means alot less than it used to in older versions of FM/C. This is fact, not opinion - the game code simply doesn't have this functionality.
The match engine itself also has players in specific positions doing the same repetitive motions, no matter what your instructions or what their abilities, because those specific positions are scripted to play a certain way. For example, you'll never see a centreback dribbling forward past 5-6 players like Lucio or Beckhenbauer (or even big Sol Campbell at one time) used to, no matter how much you tell them to, so if you somehow managed to get a cultured and gifted attacking defender, those attacking abilities are useless within the game. Same thing applies to many other positions, e.g. fullbacks. The Cafu's and Roberto Carlos' in real life don't exist within the match engine as fullbacks only play one way, so you could play a rubbish centreback with zero ability at right back and he'll play the same way as the equivalent of Cafu. This is all because the game is stuck with a match engine from 5+ years ago that they've only incrementally updated, and won't really make major changes to, when they really should.
Another area that I've learnt to hate is the match ratings, again completely linear - unless outfield players score a goal or get an assist, or the entire team wins by a large margin, players rarely get good ratings. So you could have a defender like Franco Baresi in your side playing the game like it's an art form week in week out, putting in 10 out of 10 defensive performance where he single handedly keeps the defense together and dominates the opposition attackers, but if it finishes 0-0 he'll get a 7 rating, 7.5 at most. Defensive midfielders like Makelele, Roy Keane, Vieira, etc, or "playmaking midfielders" like Xavi, won't get good match ratings unless they score/create goals (or again, the team wins convincingly, in which case everyone in the team automatically gets good ratings). For me, this ruins much of the fun the game should bring to players.
Other aspects of the game outside of the match engine are also outdated and probably "broken" because too much tweaking has been done to code that needs to be re-written from the ground up. E.g. the transfer market is far too weak, it's nothing like in earlier versions where competition for the next hot talent was fierce because clubs who were interested in a player would actually bid for him. In the current iteration of the game the AI clubs seem to do nothing despite there being major interest by a whole gang of suitors. And the horrendous AI squad building (encompassing both transfers and newgen development) is pretty much infamous - can the game really be fun if you can visibly see great clubs like Barcelona, Milan, ManU, etc etc, waste away whilst they buy dross? Ever wondered why it's realtively easy to build a title winning squad within 3-5 years with a mid table Premiership club? It's simple - the AI won't aggressively sign the top players when the budget is there, it won't develop it's newgens properly, there seems to be no scouting at the youth levels, and hence you can steamroller all the other AI clubs over X numbers of years because you can snap up all the future greats for peanuts with no competition early on.
There are also features of the game that haven't been fully implemented properly (again because of the rush-rush-sell-sell-patch-later development model). Player agents for example, the game needs to build better relationships between managers/clubs and certain agents, because that's sometimes what happens IRL (I know some Premiership clubs have purchased most of their players through a single agent at some points). I think footballers who want to leave for "first team football" and will accept a step down to a club at the other end of the table doesn't happen enough in this game too (e.g. Carroll to West Ham, Berbatov to Fulham, etc etc). We don't have the "European" Football Director model, i.e. where Head Scout + Director of Football signs players and the manager just picks the team and makes do with what he's given - how SI have managed to get away without implementing this (or at least giving players the choice to have this feature in the game for those clubs who IRL have it with their current management), I don't really know, as some of the biggest clubs in the world IRL have this structure. Press conferences are also a major waste of time, so much so that judging by the SI forums the majority of gamers will have their assistant managers attend them. The newgen system is still too erratic, whilst I don't think the player longetivity model works. So there are many features that need improving.
Hence I'm giving this game 2 stars out of 5, because in my opinion it is a highly frustrating experience that is benefitting from not having enough competition to force significant changes and restructuring of game concepts/code.
on 25 October 2012
I'm not sure if im supposed to buy a new copy.. but stream doesnt let me play this since it was replaced with manager 2013. It always says 'game unavailable at this time'. So OK right, I spend £30 on a game and IT decides that I cant play it.
Now, im not a big gamer. This is the Only game I own and I have played in one season... exactly one season. I would like to begin my second season as manager of HULL CITY but.. I cant.
I've been buying the Championship/Football Manager games since the very first Championship Manager for the Amiga back in the early 1990's, when Domark were the publishers. The series has come a long way since then and although I haven't bought every single game I think this one is better than most.
The match engine works extremely well in my opinion, far better than it does in Football Manager 2013 (PC DVD). There are a couple of minor issues, such as players visually being miles onside but being flagged offside (always when passed to near the touchline). I also find that no matter how deep you set your defensive line and no matter how defensive you instruct your defenders and the rest of the team to play, you will occasionally have most of your players venturing forward resulting in one long ball from the opposition leaving them with five attackers against your one defender who decided to obey your instructions. These things don't happen every five minutes during matches and certainly don't spoil my enjoyment of the game. I think that the interface looks good and is easy to use, again far better than in Football Manager 2013 (PC DVD) which I felt was so bad as to be completely unplayable for me.
There is a lot of detail in the game. Some people think it has gone too far, but thinking back to the early Championship Managers most people wanted more detail. You can never please everyone. The media interaction isn't too time consuming, and you can set your assistant to deal with it if you prefer. Personally I never fiddle too much with the training, and just use the default coaching assignments. The scouting really is excellent and an important part of the game. The tactics you can adjust and tweak in many different ways, but at the same time if you can't be bothered there are plenty of default ones. And of course you can save your custom tactics for future use to save time. Likewise with player and staff searches; you don't need to be constantly manually changing lots of settings unless you want to. The transfer negotiations are an improvement on previous versions with more clauses and agents involved. A minor annoyance for me is that if you use fictional players, the database is exactly the same as real life just with the names changed. I would've hoped for it to be completely random.
The activation using Steam is clearly aimed at combating piracy, which is fair enough if it works all the time. Sadly it doesn't, and even when the game is activated Steam can be problematic. This wouldn't put me off buying the game in future in itself, but it does count against it. In fact I'm not sure if I will buy any more games from the Football Manager series since Football Manager 2013 (PC DVD) was extremely poor and Football Manager 2014 received a lot of bad reviews on Amazon. The game doesn't change much from year to year and I am probably a little too old for it! Having said that, a good Football Manager game is the best way I know to make a train or plane journey pass quickly. This one does the trick for me and I would recommend.
on 11 January 2013
I have purchased the odd handful of CM and FM games over the last 14 or 15 years, skipping a few along the way but have 7 or 8 of them now. This is the first time I'd give one of them 5 stars since CM01/02 (which is now completely different to this game here but an old favourite of mine).
Over the years they have added more and more in depth features which, to agree with some people who have downrated this game have for me as well, spoilt the game. I'd actually agree with some of the one star posters who have complained about the recent games not being scalable as I've sat scratching my head wondering whether I lost 8-0 at home because the wrong guy was taking my throw, I'd spoken to one of my players too casually or because the tea lady was serving the wrong type of biscuits with the players tea!
So when I plugged this game in for the first time last night I had three gripes with the game, but I'll address why I didn't downrate the game as a result.
1) Downloading the game on Steam took a long time. But I was washing up while it did it and it's something I'll have to only do once so I sort of didn't care.
2) My local non-league team weren't in the game (they are tier 8 and it only goes down to tier 6 in the English leagues). However, I guess that information was probably SOMEWHERE on the net and I have never had a game that has gone down that low. I'm having great fun with a tier 6 club instead and it hasn't bothered me as much as I thought it would.
3) As above, lots of features and you instantly feel plunged into a game where you're scared to click "Continue" in case you neglected to do something on day 1 that will ultimately blow your season. However, after a few clicks of continue I soon had my staff picking up my failures by organising team meetings and sending me messages which sort of became the least annoying tutorial I have ever experienced. After a while I think I'll be able to ignore their advice more, but in the meantime they point me to features I might have overlooked. I also think about the best 'real life managers'. Do they always know why their team is underperforming? They have an almost infinite number of things they could tweak to get their team right. For me to have to trawl through all these settings to manage my team give this game a good level of realism that probably only skim the iceberg of what a real manager has to contend with!
The way the assistant manager and backroom staff do this is the reason I have rated this so highly. I don't have 2011 so I can't comment on whether this is new to 2012, but it has restored the game for me and in a sense has created a form of game scalability previous complicated versions that I'd played, didn't.
I also like that the game forces me into spending more thinking time into each game. I have tried to get through a season in one evening on older games, but I love that I have to do a bit more work in this one and without it feeling like a chore. It won't be for everyone though.
on 21 November 2012
this will be short and simple
i love FM and 2012 is sweet, my only gripe is the amount of way to interact with players
if you have a good asst manager, like arsenal did in 2012 then letting him deal with pre-match training and getting tips on what to say makes the game much easier, but detaches you a little, still its good if you want to get the game moving a bit quicker
i love the way the players move now and how they position themselves when scoring or tacking etc, this area for me adds to the detail and they should look to always enhance this, i have not played 2013 yet... will do on Xmas day
game-play is slick depending on your pc, my 6 core cpu and 8gb's of ram with a really good graphics card eats this game up and it plays great, looks great on an HD monitor
couple of players worth getting if you can - Vrsaljko (RB), Muller (AMC/AMR), Ayew (MLC/ML), Alaba (MLC), Ramsey (MC), Walcott - his pace is unreal, scores loads for me on advanced striker), Iker Munain (ST), Pique (DC), Hummels (DC), Llorente (ST), Gotze (AML), Verratti (MC/AMC)
getting good coaches, physio's & scouts is vital, get the best you can and set-up individual training regimes for each player you intend to keep, this will maintain form better and improve stats, as a rule of thumb i don't train my defenders to shoot, they focus on tactics & defence work at intense levels, medium levels for fitness and so on, only players lacking in stamina & pace get higher levels of fitness training
if you have a good pc, load up several leagues, this will generate more players and make scouting better, especially when searching for talented youth players
i've found 4-4-2 attacking works great with arsenal, just gotta get the defence line higher up, have attacking wingers, have a good ball winner, top keeper, top striker and a classy creative player, build the team around that, a great fast striker & keeper are vital in my opinion, pace, stamina & determination will go a long way to ensuring you win more than you lose
the game looks much better if you can download & install customisable packs, like face-packs, logo-packs and 3d kits etc, really bring the game to life... just google things like this :-)
Back with it's latest installment of the long running series (I include the Championship Managers that were designed by Sports Interactive), this for me is more of an evolution on the previous game.
The plus's are the intuitive links that make life much simpler. The information icon against a player lets you see their attributes and the right click options make interactions with players so much simpler. The tweaks to the youth system are good and give more options for those that like to develop players from within. As a side note, the information upgrades from the coaching staff really help with this. The bringing together of all of the transfer items in one area is also much welcomed.
On the downside the linking with Steam is more inhibiting than it is freeing. Whilst you could play across many computers, you have to be internet linked for the achievements to be logged and then you are captive to the issues that sometimes arise when updates are happening. I had a difficult few minutes trying to understand why my game was suddenly found to be busy (had to verify integrity of the game cache). Another downside is one of the new features, you can now talk to people with six different moods from Aggressive to Reluctant. Whilst this is more realistic it does make player interactions a really lottery initially until you can work out what way to talk to them. Finally someone in licensing didn't do their job so there are a few fake names and leagues (Germany) which is disappointing.
Overall, I still like it. You can win and winning streaks seem more organic. Of course this means that losing streaks can gather speed, but then that is one of the realities of true football management. Good game still, despite the issues.
on 7 November 2011
Football Manager is getting stale, I used to be so obsessed with it but it isn't evolving, the series is growing stagnant and the developers complacent. It is a joke to charge thirty pounds for minimal updates, I don't see any strong incentives to get the latest version. Mere tweaks here and there, i'd rather pay half price for a data update because this is beginning to get insulting. Perhaps they should have a year off and reassess the game, this isn't a case of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it', it simply reeks of a lack of creativity and innovation. Have they run out of ideas? We shouldn't have to pay so much for minor adjustments, I simply do not feel that the series is moving on year from year. It reminds of when Pro Evo went stale for about four editions, 2012 being a spectacular return to form. Football Manager is sitting on its laurels and, this is strange to admit, I've lost interest and probably won't bother for a few years. No longer an essential buy, not even essential to play, pick up last years copy, or an even older one, there is very little difference apart from the price.
As for the Steam business, well, you can see other people's sentiment with that. Goodbye Football Manager, see you when you awaken from lethargy.
on 15 March 2012
This is the first time I have owned a Football Manager game or any football management game. If your in the same shoes then its quite complicated it seems at first and took me a few days to begin to understand what I was doing and to start enjoying it but once you do its very good.
The first thing that impressed me is the wide range of teams you can manage from the top European leagues you'd expect down to the Blue Square Premier North/South (Level 6) on the English football pyramid, Brazilian football (3 levels), Chinese (2 levels I think), South Africa and Belarus to name just a few.
What is also good is how you can simply the game down to suit your needs, you can delegate tasks such as managing the reserve and under 18's teams, negotiating contracts and even team talks and press conferences (although I always do both of these), this allows you to grow into the game and gradually take on more personally within the team as you grow in confidence or it simply means that you concentrate more on the matches than the back-room aspects of management.
The games themselves are pretty good, the graphics may seem quite poor and kind of old looking at first but then that could be simply because of the size of the game and to put high quality graphics would make it too much to handle for many systems and if you just want the football side then you'd most likely buy FIFA or Pro Evo. In the game you give your players instructions, change strategy e.g Defensive, Standard and Attacking with a couple of variants of these and you can even create and customise shouts (but I haven't done this yet so can't go into any detail and of course substitutions etc. The football itself is also very decent with only the odd mistake leaving you think that someone would never do that in real life ever (I had my defender just slow down running after a long ball and just letting the attacker get ahead of him 30 years out and slot past the goalkeeper with no sign of an injury for the defender).
Overall I'd definitely recommend this game and there are just a few little things that have stopped making this 5 star in my eyes.