Football Manager 2015 – Back For More Or Will I Retire From The Game?

Romnomnom + Football Manager. It was love at first sight, back in 2003 when I played Championship Manager 4 for the first time; after Sports Interactive’s split from Eidos Interactive that year, Football Manager was released instead. I’ve played every one of the Football Manager games to this point – with a huge amount of game time sunk into this franchise. In fact, FM 14 alone has 411 hours on it. That’s over 17 whole days in a year; fair enough, quite a lot of that time is just when I leave it on in the background whilst I played my console or did some work for a change, but still! 411 hours baby!

I’m going to start with a negative; as I want to get it off my chest. The Game engine. What the hell were they thinking? My laptop is one year old; it’s not top of the line now, but still, just a year old and it struggles to play the footage of the game without lagging out so hard. I’m guessing my graphics card is having some sort of heart attack/cry session, but this shouldn’t happen to a laptop that is just over 12 months old. The way it struggles with the new game engine was a huge surprise at first… I expected updates to it obviously, but considering how the videos I’d seen in the build up showed that the games looked exactly the same as before, I was surprised for it to have such a bad time running it. The other thing with the game engine is that if anything, the defending and errors made seem to be worse than any other year that I can remember vividly. The scores too… just wow. This game produces some HIGH scoring games, very often. In the space of one week, my U21’s lost 9-4, before I won 6-4 with my first team squad. That’s 23 goals in two games… crazy score-lines. This is football/soccer, not rugby, cricket or American Football!

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When starting out in the full game mode, Sports Interactive have added what’s been requested for a few years now, and that’s for human managers to be able to get coaching certificates – which makes you have higher attributes, which means that you can see where you stand in comparison to other managers properly, so when you get rejected by clubs you can see how much better the other manager is if it came down to that rather than what you wanted to be judged on or money. The choices for qualifications isn’t the only thing that you get attributes from; the choice of your past experience now comes into play as well, from sunday leaguer to full international professional. It’s great that they’ve made this feature which was always there, always present, noted from time to time in news articles, an actual point of the game and give it a purpose now (although I’m sure it did play some role, but now it’s far more evident that it does).

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Another small update that’s been made is the talking to groups of players… this used to frustrated me as you’d talk to individuals about them being dropped, but now, for selling someone for example, five players might come to your room and say “hey!”; your comeback obviously is still down to your preference… but you can split the group. If you do split the group, then the ones now happy go green, to the left, with a remark along the lines of “yeah, I can see it your way now, sorry for bothering you”, whilst those unimpressed with your response go red, go to the right hand side with you able to still converse with them. I like this, as it’s more realistic in my opinion. By having a word with a group, it’s entirely possible for players to create a split decision, so the fact I can split the group then still talk to those that are disappointed is a good step for the future.

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Another small change, but a needed one, is the ability to talk to players after you’ve had a bid accepted for them. For example, I could bid for, let’s say, Hugo Lloris, a great goalkeeper, who deserves to be in the Champions League every year. If my bid’s accepted for him, but I’m for example, Everton, a team that’s always around the same position as Tottenham, I can now try to convince him to join me instead of staying at Tottenham and say something along the lines of “with you here, we’d be more likely to qualify for the top european competition than at your current club”… and these talks can obviously still go badly, if they’re hugely unlikely (like bringing Bale back to England to join Everton – nothing against you Everton, no idea why I’m choosing you for all my examples). These chats are something that is similar to real life – we often hear players who join clubs in January say that the manager there convinced them this was the place for the future etc, etc, which we can now do in FM – good move Sports Interactive. Most importantly, by doing these chats before talking to agents, we can try and avoid the Agents usual response of my client has no interest, which can bug those who have managed clubs that have shot up the table.

The biggest UI change is the Left Tab system that’s now in place. It’s really split opinion so far – those who dislike it see it as a step back to a couple of years ago (which I can understand) and those who like it see it as a simpler view of more things, which is what the common populous want these days. Small touches such as hovering over the wins in the European Group stage, as shown in the image below, now brings up the results in that column, a feature that I’ve really fallen in love with. This is without mentioning the updated scouting system within the game, which I’ll explain in full when my top young stars post is released. In all honesty, at first I really disliked this addition to the series… but it’s grown on me, so without a doubt, I’ll sink 400 hours into this years version too.