FOOTBALL MANAGER 2013
Dust off your suit, prepare your best post-match clichés and get ready for some fallout with a nefarious agent or two, because you’re about to be flung back into the cut-and-thrust world of football management. The most successful series of football manager sims is looming on the horizon, ready to leave an array of broken relationships and destroyed social lives in its wake. While you may well be well into the second half of the 2026 season with Hereford United, having taken them from League Two to the upper echelons of the Champions League in last year’s game, the simple fact is you’re going to have tobite the bullet and upgrade to Football Manager 2013 at some point.
FM2012, quite literally, is so last year.
After promising ‘the best game we’ve ever made’ and a ‘genre-defining experience’, the team at Sports Interactive certainly had a lot to live up to heading into this release. FM2012 wasn’t a revolution, it leaned towards improving already existing elements and perhaps sought to solidify its position as the number game in the genre, which it undoubtedly is. Nothing else even comes close. The question is: has the developer been tinkering with a formula that really doesn’t need tinkering with? And more importantly, are the changes substantial enough to warrant a new purchase? After all, no-one really wants to shell out for a completely new game with minimal changes that could have been covered by simply downloading an update, and while FM2012 didn’t quite commit that sin, it certainly didn’t reinvent the wheel.
The good news is that FM2013 feels like an almost completely new gaming experience. The interface is brand spanking new, and the slick way the windows move in and out
Football Manager 2013
In addition to offering an array of improvements and enhancements over its predecessors, Football Manager 2013 also incorporates a series of radical changes and new game modes which, for some, will revolutionise the way the game is played
– combined with the new arrangement of icons and navigational options – is a breath of fresh air and genuinely does give the impression of a whole new game. Of course, this all takes a little getting used to, but I wouldn’t want to fall into the lazy trap of suggesting that any change is a bad thing just because I liked the last game so much. This is all progress, and more importantly it’s progress that doesn’t just see a steady increase in complexity in the game for the sake of it.
In the full game there are still issues of repetition though, as the spectre of meetings rears its head again. Press conferences before and after each game; meetings with agents for transfers; meetings with players about their general mindset / wellbeing and meetings with your staff about having more meetings with your players. More meetings than Tiger Woods going speed dating.
Yes, you can send your assistant (who now also gets more involved on match days offering his manager advice throughout the game: who to close down, how to change formation to better suit the opponent etc) to these press conferences and ask your Director of Football to take care of some of the other responsibilities (another new feature which works quite well should you wish to keep your tracksuit on at all times), and the good news is this won’t affect your chances of securing other gainful employ in the future. The type of manager you are is clearly displayed on your information page, but it’s little more than window dressing. When it comes to applying for that big international job, you’re judged on your results as all managers should be.
On the subject of tracksuits, the new and improved training feature is comprehensive to say the least, but will undoubtedly be overwhelming for newcomers to the game. It’s been completely overhauled, and is now in the shape of a calendar so a manager can plan his training regime based on the games coming up, with an added ability to adjust the focus of the training on a game-to-game basis. It is still possible to train individually and the option to train one of your players in a new position also remains. This new setup actually works quite well; over time you really do feel that your extra effort is paying off as your team starts to score more from set pieces after your work on that, for instance. Another nice new feature is the freedom to give your side a rest day after a game, which helps morale when the team’s in good nick.
It’s easy to imagine true disciples dedicating hours to how they train their charges, and for the purist this will undoubtedly make the experience all the more immersive. But for the casual player it’s far more tempting to simply brief your good old assistant again, and provided you’ve got a good’un the results shouldn’t be too different.
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