It’s here. The game that, coupled with FIFA (or PES if you’re one of those), will ensure that you have no life outside of staring at a screen until your eyes bleed. That’s right, Football Manager 14 is here and I know that I could not be happier.
Now I’ll level with you, I’ve played FM on and off throughout the years — mainly due to the fact that I’ve been more into console games rather than computer games, but whenever I’ve actually picked up playing FM, it’s taken over my life. It was no different with FM13 and it certainly won’t be any different with FM14. So let’s go ahead and break down this sucker. I will try and make this as painless as possible.
When it comes to a game like Football Manager, where the actual game play is simulation based, there really aren’t a lot of changes that can be made to it. With that in mind, a lot of the changes that have been made are a lot of small, detail oriented changes that make the process of getting to the actual game a lot smoother and more fun.
The first thing that jumped out at me when starting a new game was a fun little addition they made to the coaching profile. As you know in your profile, you can choose your nationality and generally it ends there. Generally I’ll choose Greek as my nationality because as we all know, European managers are better than American ones, am I right? But it doesn’t just end with choosing a nationality, you can actually go in and select the city from which you are from as well. Now this may seem like just a little thing, but I think that it’s pretty cool that I can go in and choose the small town (Karitsa, for those that are curious) that my Papou came from and link that to my coaching profile.
Once you actually get into the main coaching menu of the game, you’ll notice that the screen looks a lot different from FM13. It’s not a drastic change in the layout like there was in FIFA 14, but the look itself has changed and, to be honest, it looks a lot smoother. The sections in which each screen is broken down too are bigger and the blue theme almost makes it feel brighter, which is aesthetically pleasing. The conversations as well have changed in that they almost have a real-time feel to them. At least to me in FM13, when you had your conversations it felt almost as if you were texting with the person, where as now it looks and feels almost like real-time dialog.
As far as the actual simulation goes, there have been a few changes, but the most noticeable change is a pretty big one that is extremely convenient. I’m sure we all remember how during the game, your Assistant Manager chirps up and makes critiques about the team and how you’ve laid them out (no doubt in an effort to try and steal your job). Occasionally he makes a decent point in regards to the game and you probably would like to heed his advice and make a change. Before you would have to pause the game (at least I did) and then shift through all of your settings to try and find the best one to implement said change. In FM14, they’ve added an “Apply” button to your assistant managers advice that allows you to implement it straight away. No looking through menus and guessing what you need to do for the change, it just does it right there for you.
The other thing that used to bug me would be when you subbed a player off and when the game was waiting for the next play, you would have to scroll down the menu to see how your subs are playing. This could get frustrating, especially if you were playing a game where there was a lot of action. Well no more, your subs show right up in the main lineup on the waiting for next play screen.
As I’ve said, there are a lot of small changes that have been made to the game that help make it more efficient, more detailed and get you maybe just a little bit more invested in your career. The game continues to do a great job of pulling you in and making sure that you neglect your daily duties and loved ones. But what else would you expect from the FM franchise right?