Top critical review
153 people found this helpful
I may be finally cured of my Football Manager addiction
on 5 December 2013
I have spent (or 'wasted') a great deal of my life playing Football Manager or Championship Manager since the mid-90s, but that long run may have now come to an end. Football Manager 2014 is the worst in the history of the franchise and has gone massively backwards since the 2012 version.
As has become traditional, the first few weeks of owning this game are spent waiting for patches to rectify the many obvious bugs that somehow aren't worked out in advance. Does anybody actually test the game before they charge money for it?
The 'improved' match engine is dreadful. Players wander aimlessly in nonsensical directions (your centre forward heading back into midfield as your winger prepares to put in a cross, defenders wandering away from a forward who has the ball); players stand still in acres of space and wait for a defender to come and tackle them; goalkeepers at all levels are absolutely superhuman, unless they are running out of their goal like it was on fire to gift the opposition an open goal; forwards are completely useless, constantly shooting wide from the edge of the area whatever attributes they have or instructions you give them; world class set-piece specialists send the ball drifting over the bar from well positioned free kicks every time; defenders act as though they had been given a briefcase of cash by an illegal betting syndicate. I could go on and on...but the worst thing is that it doesn't look anything like real football, there is none of the dynamism, pace, physicality or intensity that characterises modern football. I appreciate that FM is really a strategy game, but is it too much to ask that the players could move or behave in a way that vaguely represented human beings? Subbuteo footballers are more realistically animated.
The 'more realistic transfers' are a shambles. If you have a good young player valued at £1 million who has played every game, is happy and has a long contract a club will offer £300'000, but if you reject this offer the player then wants a new contract or hands in a transfer request, you tell the club you want £5 million they will reject the offer but come back a week later offering £325'000. This makes managing a smaller team (finding, developing and selling players for a smaller club was one of the enjoyable challenges of other FM games) boring as you have to constantly fend off ridiculous offers, sell players well below value or put up with an unhappy squad all the time. In real life Cardiff City paid £8 million for Andreas Cornelius from FC Copenhagen, in FM 2014 they would have just kept offering £400'000 until the manager got bored of the whole experience. Most infuriatingly of all this doesn't apply the other way around, where half-decent players will invariably cost unrealistic millions.
The game claims '1000 improvements and enhancements' but basically nothing significant has changed for the better, press conferences are just as boring, team talks and training are just as simplistic. Many of the claimed advances go completely unnoticed, such as a 'revamped news system' which looks identical to previous years. Basically what you are paying for here is an updated database from FM 2013 with added bugs and irritations thrown in for variety. Fun for masochists, not for anyone else.
These are just a few examples of the general issues with the game, some of them may seem trivial (and some will no doubt be fixed in subsequent updates) but for a game that's main selling point is realism they are important. Ahead of any future versions of this game I would suggest that Sports Interactive employ a few people who actually have a passing interest in football, or at least have seen a football match before in their lives.