Every serious footie fan believes that they could do a better job of managing their favourite team than the person already in the job – and Football Manager 2012 lets you prove it to yourself and your pals without getting a mauling from the national Press if you fail.
Critics of the FM series generally complain that it’s too stats-based, too nerdy and too lacking in emotion, pointing instead to FIFA 12 and asking why you don’t just get stuck in and enjoy the thrill of matchplay. Many of these naysayers won’t ever be convinced – but Sports Interactive has gone all out to make Football Manager 2012 the most immersive and addictive version yet.
The first thing you’ll notice about FM 2012 is the extensive tutorial that’s been put in place, serving both as an excellent ‘holding hand’ guide to noobies who might be easily scared off, and a clear and concise way of explaining to FM aficionados the upgrades and changes that have been made since last year.
The hook is that when you get to match time it finally clicks what all that team selection, transfers, tactics and pep talks was all for – and they’ve even made it NVIDIA 3D-friendly.
Although the press release trumpets over 800 new features, veterans needn’t get alarmed as the vast majority of these are comparatively subtle, and the more significant among them are definitely for the better.
You can now lock certain areas of a contract as ‘non-negotiable’, foreign leagues can be added or removed at will, tone of voice has been introduced into team talks, and you can have ‘a quiet word’ with individual players.
Above all, the interface has been improved, making it more adaptive so you can fit more information on the screen at once through the drop-down menus, rather than having to wade through various ‘pages’ before you find that management tweak you were hunting for.
Three alternative tactics can also be pre-arranged before each match, and you can issue new orders while the game is under way. It may still be the same basic FM – but the diehards will recognise a new flexibility that will make those long hours of addiction pass in seconds.
- New adaptive interface.
- In-match graphics are still a weak point.
Sports Interactive has wisely decided not just to rest on its laurels, but has made major strides to encourage unbelievers with the new tutorials, more flexible interface and livelier matchplay as well as introducing hundreds of minor embellishments for the fans. Prepare to banish sleep.