27 years. This is how long Football Manager The developer of Sports Interactive has been developing The Management Simulators for this wonderful game.
And they have quite the record for quality too. During The years, during the days of managing the Championship, they still delivered fantastic games and continued to develop as they were forced to change to Football Manager by teaming up for SEGA in 2004.
For those unfamiliar with the series, unlike its counterparts FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer, which tries to mimic play on the pitch primarily, Football Manager (usually abbreviated as FM and Release of the Year) is all about everything. happening behind the scenes. You don't directly control the players on the pitch, but you do what every professional manager should do off the pitch.
It means everything: managing training, contracts and player morale, but also dealing with the media, hiring and firing staff, using your network to find the newest and best players, or unearthing a gem in your academy. And this even before arriving at the tactical board.
FM has always been very heavy. Sports Interactive recruits a large number of scouts from all over the world for their data, based on its abilities, personality and even its ability to cope with media surveillance. It's vast, but incredibly rewarding once it's all put together.
The last few years have been relatively gradual until the game's release last year. A complete overhaul from the ground up has made this game the best game in the series for quite some time. And Football Manager 2020 builds on that to make the experience even better.
Nailing the bases
First off, this year's game builds on one of the best features from last year with better tutorials. For a new player, it's incredibly easy to start a game and immediately feel intimidated by even the most basic elements of the interface. There is a lot going on here. However, the in-game tutorial has been improved to make it as accessible as possible. Each screen has a detailed explanation, including new features, which can be repeated as many times as you like to make sure you don't feel overwhelmed.
The game also allows you to delegate a large part of the tasks related to the management of a professional team to your assistants. Not only is this smart, because it means you can build your experience as you go, but it also allows you to focus on the parts of the job that you enjoy. For example, you might not like managing your team's training schedule, but you want certain players to have specialized training in order to improve certain aspects of their game, and you can do it. It's an intuitive system that gradually brings more rewards as you master more disciplines.
The Dev Center, one of this year's biggest new additions, is a great addition to the franchise. This allows you to monitor the performance of your young players much more closely, while also receiving regular updates on the performance of your players on loan at other clubs. It adds a healthy layer of depth to the way your players are developing, as you can regularly see what needs to be done to reach their full potential.
The other main feature of this year's iteration is the expanded Club Vision setup. This is usually discussed at the start of your career but is used as you progress through the game. It is increasingly important to keep the more traditional elements of the club throughout your career. Manchester United, for example, has a habit of bringing in young academy players, while also playing, attacking football. You can discuss this with the president at the start of your savings to see what philosophies you want to continue or what new ones are implemented.
While it would have been nice to see more flexibility in what you want the team to play (the president is usually tough if this is your first job), coming in as a seasoned and proven coach will be more effective for them. help. implement or remove certain aspects that you feel are limiting your ability to manage the team.
The feature helps preserve the identity that the club has forged in the past, but it also makes the job more difficult by forcing you to adopt a tactic that you might have avoided. He's trying to make you a better manager.
Other improvements include contract negotiation, where you can now promise players playing time in the future rather than immediate first-team action. It's a great quality of life improvement that keeps young players from complaining about not having enough football and rewards players who keep their word with player loyalty.
The youth welcome days in club academies are now dynamic since they take place on the same day each year. This makes it much more difficult for players to mine the best players who would restart their save until a gem is generated. It was almost "legitimate" to cheat, so that's a big change as well.
There are still elements that could be better. Despite further engine improvements, the 3D matches view still remains lousy (as shown in the screenshot above), so 2D icons are still the best way to enjoy them, while press conferences are not very pleasant and seem to have minimal impact on your team's performance.
But the package as a whole is incredibly strong, and the series continues to grow stronger. As a simulation of managing a team, it seems like every post comes close to the day-to-day without actually being there, and that's precisely what it should do. Realism plays its part, but Football Manager 2020 also offers the pleasure of accompanying it. Bringing a team back to glory is a wonderful feeling, that you don't necessarily have to be a fan of the sport to enjoy it.
All you need is the intelligence to build a great team, a strategy to unleash your team's full potential, and an ambition to make the impossible come true.