Football Manager 2016 (PC) Review
- Create a Club and Fantasy draft add some freshness into FM16
- 3D pitch and new animations look great
- Prozone analysis and new set pieces creator are great additions
Not so much?
- Too many injuries (Yes, yes simulating real world experience, still don’t like it)
- Tactical screen player blocks look horrible on laptops
- Press conferences are still really dull and boring
This year SI has provided a lot of polish to existing features such as navigation screens and the match engine which really come across in the game.
t’s close to the end of the season and if we win the next game we will be crowned champions. I send my team out with a passionate team talk telling them to do this for the fans, they look ready and motivated. Kick off, I’m nervous we’re not keeping the ball and I’ve already noticed some dangerous attacks from my opponents. I’ve seen this before it’s only a matter of time till they score, I shout aggressively from the touchline to push higher up and it looks like we’re getting more possession.
The boys come in at half time, I encourage them to keep going and send them back out. Within minutes of the second half we’re 1 nil down, I let out a loud groan. I hear a woman’s voice asking me a question, I ignore it. I take off a midfielder for a striker and change my tactics, I’m not letting this slip away we’ve worked too hard for this. We get one back! Come on now boys we have 10 minutes on the clock and we’re going to go for it. 90 minutes are over and we are into extra time, it looks like this is the last chance, the ball is with my star player he takes a touch and rattles it into the goal from 30 yards! I jump off my seat and let out a loud roar, I hear the woman’s voice again, I’ve no time to answer I’ve just been crowned the champion, I am the best manager in the world!
Football Manager is back! The only game that my wife hates with all her heart. I have been playing Football Manager games since they were named Championship Manager. It’s a game which takes you into an alternate reality. You start to believe you have a relationship with your players, you become passionate about your team and this in turn leads to you sinking a lot of hours into the game just to see the progress of your team and young players who have come through your youth ranks. To this day I dislike a number of players simply because they played poorly for me in Football Manager, I know it doesn’t sound rational but that’s what playing Football Manager does to you. It takes over your life.
The basics of Football Manager are simple, you manage a team, buy and sell whatever player you want, and come up with tactics to suit those players. You can be stubborn and try and play a passing game when you know that your team don’t have the vision or passing attributes to pull it off or you change your tactics and use what you have. It is really up to you how you want to go about it, but be warned if you’re not getting results on the pitch you will get sacked.
For FM16 the developers Sports Interactive have added over 3000 new features to the game, from updating the 3D pitch to allowing you to create your own manager avatar that you can see shouting instructions on the pitch. SI have also added the create a club mode where you can replace a club already in the league you want to manage with your own, something that fans would normally do using the editor but this just gives them an easier way to do it. Football Manager Touch replaces Classic mode and allows those who don’t have as much time to sink countless hours into the game the chance to play a slightly faster paced and cut down version. There is also a partnership with Prozone to provide tactical analysis of the game. The main theme this year is to polish existing features especially ones that fans complained about last year, such as poor goalkeeping in the 3D match settings. Overall it looks as though SI have made just enough changes to make the game feel new and fresh again and keep long term fans coming back for more.
FM15 came across as quite difficult tactically and this year with more tactical analysis you are given a bit more help on how to manage your team. Team instructions have been tweaked to allow you to visualise what you want your team to do on the pitch which really helps with getting the tactics right. I don’t like the new tactics screen especially when playing on a laptop, I liked the FM15 style which was quite simple. However saying that the information those big annoying blocks provide are actually quite valuable. If you have the screen size it shouldn’t annoy you too much.
The 3D pitch looks amazing and new player and goalkeeper animations have been added which help with the polishing aspect of this year’s instalment. The in-game manager avatar is a useless addition this year and I can’t help but agree with fans who would rather see the developers spending their time on something more useful.
Sticking with on the pitch improvements, the set-piece creator has seen a revamp and it’s exactly what I was hoping for this year. Every year I’ve struggled with set-pieces and haven’t really enjoyed using the creator but this year they have made it easy and simple to use. SI have also included more realistic injuries this year and worked with physiotherapists to accurately describe and estimate how long a player will be injured for. I have also noticed the injury count in FM16 is considerably higher than previous versions. But then the argument is that this accurately reflects what teams face in the real world. I guess having been used to lower injury counts for the last few years fans are right to ask the question as to why this year we are seeing such a dramatic difference in the amount of injuries. And the only mention of injuries before the game was released was to make injuries more realistic in the amount of time a player spends off the pitch but no indication was given that the amount of injuries would be increased to simulate real world experience (unless I somehow missed this!).
There are other improvements included as well some which you may notice and quite a few which you probably won’t. I have been hoping for a complete revamp of the interaction with the press and this year we were told that we will get more contextual team talks but within the first month I was already sending my assistant to do press talks for me. Considering that is a big part of a managers job I was hoping SI would spend a bit more time on changing the way you deal with the press and make it more dynamic and exciting. I understand not all press conferences are exciting but I’m sure they all aren’t as boring as they come across in FM.
Football Manager Touch will allow for cross save between your tablet (available before Xmas) and PC so you can start a game on your tablet and carry it on your PC and vice versa. The best new feature this year is Fantasy draft. Again this is something some YouTubers have been doing using editors but SI have now made it easier. You can play a Fantasy Draft between 2-32 players either in knockout stages or in a league. The budget gets decided at the start and you have a time limit to go and research the players you want before the draft starts and then mayhem ensues. It’s a lot of good fun and a welcome addition to Football Manager.
This year SI has provided a lot of polish to existing features such as navigation screens and the match engine which really come across in the game. The partnership with Prozone also helps managers in getting a better handle on the tactical side of the game. SI have tried to put the information you need to be a good manager at your fingertips and I think this year they have nailed it. It must be a difficult challenge to continually improve Football Manager and provide fans with new features. I for one, would have liked to see more work done on press interaction.FM15 was a bit of a let-down last year but with FM16 SI have shown they still have what it takes to keep fans coming back for more, which I’m sure will strike fear into the partners of Football Manager addicts around the world.