Football Manager is a series that enjoys enormous popularity in Portugal, were it not for our country truly obsessed with the king sport as we all know. I suspect, however, that the popularity of the Sports Interactive title here goes far beyond its commercial success. I don’t know what percentage of players use pirated versions of FM, but I honestly suspect that it is quite high.

The best way to combat this phenomenon, and this is just my opinion, is to offer added value in the original game, a service, a guarantee of future content, or just a box with careful art are some examples of what I mean by this. . Another essential thing is to be fair to the consumer, which in the case of these sequels means providing real and significant improvements to the content, something particularly difficult in the case of those that come out every year.

In the past I lost many nights playing Football Manager with friends, even in the time when I was called Championship Manager before the separation of Eidos. I am part of the group that gradually stopped playing the series until it stopped completely, and I don’t know if this was due to the fact that the game has grown in complexity, yes it probably helped, but it was not just that. It always seemed to me that despite all the qualities of the simulator, it failed in terms of feedback and reward, I didn’t feel my decisions, even in the victories.

To solve the problem with complexity once and for all, Football Manager 2013 brings Classic mode, probably the biggest novelty of this year’s title. This mode is very similar to the portable version of the game, it gets rid of all the secondary elements and focuses on the central mechanics that made the simulator successful. As a consequence, we have access to a much faster experience, a season only takes a few hours, and ideal if you want to avoid all the secondary simulation options that the game traditionally imposes.

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This mode also manages to solve what was one of the biggest problems of the game, its demanding entry level. There is no tutorial that replaces the simplicity of trying the essentials and then understanding the accessory. In other words, Classic mode is perfect for new players as it focuses on what is essential in Football Manager, hiring, organizing the team and playing.

Another novelty is the strong integration with the Steam platform, which, in addition to allowing you to play online competitions with friends, will for the first time offer leader tables with admirable complexity for a debut, and which will finally allow you to reveal our “skills” of coach to the rest of the world. The simulator’s growing bet on online is the best way to promote the sale of original games and increase players’ commitment to content.

Entering the game itself, the most explicit novelty is the redesigned interface (UI), which now has a more modern look, with the windows where the database is processed through pop ups. This look comes in addition to the ability to personalize the information that appears on the page, which was one of the flags last year.

The game engine of the matches brings more animations to the players and an improvement in the physical behavior of the ball, but this is already a custom every year, it does not represent anything innovative. What makes all the difference this time is the way we access the mechanics, and at the same time the way the game guides the player. In a simulator like this, we have very little direct control of the events, like the real football coaches, we just choose the base and the orientations, who really play are the players on the field.

“The redesign of how matches were played was one of the best things that has happened to Football Manager in recent years”

The point is that in order to decide, to improve as a coach, the game needs to offer guidance. There are plenty of tactical options and statistical information in real time, that is, the depth is there. However, the truth is that the players have no real idea of ​​what to do with it, it is to apply the usual tactics and hope for the best. To change this, the interface now not only allows strategic changes, game intensity and tactics to be made with just a few clicks, but it also guides the player using the assistant coach.

During the matches we received text messages from the assistant, continuous feedback and mainly specific to what is happening in the field. He warns us, for example, when a player is too aggressive, advises tactical changes, draws our attention to some more dangerous opponent and even gives us information about what is happening in the rivals’ games. The reformulation (or refoundation that is now in fashion) of the functioning of the matches was one of the best things that happened to Football Manager in recent years, allows the game to guide the player towards a good decision, while ensuring that it remains fundamentally his.

Besides, you can always count on the immense detail of the Sports Interactive simulator, with all the incredibly detailed information of the biggest leagues in the world, their clubs, players, technical teams, history, medical staff, observers, and now there is even the figure of the sporting director. In practical terms this figure only serves to delegate even more tasks, we can even put you in complete control of the signings of the main team, to worry only about the matches. I find it hard to believe, however, that anyone was capable of such a thing.

“The last day the market is open is increasingly important in modern football, which is why the producers decided to add this moment to the game”

The reason I say this is because hiring is undoubtedly the most rewarding aspect of a Football Manager, and there are also new features in this year’s version in this field. The last day the market is open is increasingly important in modern football, which is why the producers decided to add this moment to the game, where the time in the game is replaced by the hours of the day, and when entrepreneurs redouble their efforts to place your players. It is a good time to get good deals and loan some players from the bigger clubs.

Another addition that is not exactly a novelty in the series is the Challenge mode, which, as the name implies, allows you to face a series of previously prepared challenges, some of them quite demanding. Facing a competition with an injury crisis, or using just a group of young players from the club’s schools are just two examples of what you might find in this mode, the requirement is generally low, but it is a very suitable mode for short game experiences .

To my surprise, I ended up taking enormous pleasure from the game, having actually played two full seasons in the main mode for the purpose of this analysis, more than I originally planned. I played with all the superfluous additions like press conferences or conversations with the team in charge of my assistant coach, I never had the patience for the conversations for more variables they add. If the quality of the simulation is determined by its veracity, it is important to say that I fought for this last title side by side with Marítimo, and with Benfica twelve points away in third place.

To finish, let’s dive into a little controversy, namely about the brand new ?? Unlockables ?? Classic mode that basically serves to buy ?? perks ?? that allow you to double the game system, in other words, “cheating” in exchange for money. The existence of this system for me is irrelevant considering that the score on the leaderboard distinguishes the players who buy from those who actually achieve a certain goal.

As for its operation, it touches the limit of the so-called “pay to win”. It is true that a large part of these ?? perks ?? they are accessible through dedication through the achievements in the game, but some of them seem too “out of the real”, after all, Belenenses can buy Messi. This system makes the Classic mode basically a Football Manager adapted to the stereotype of the casual gamer who wants to complete the seasons quickly and enjoy the essentials, paying for it if necessary.

In short, Football Manager 2013 continues to be the best experience on the market as far as a trainer simulator is concerned and will therefore please football fans in general. Never before has a game in the series brought so much news, which leaves us wondering what the future will be like, Miles Jacobsen pointed to a “fantasy draft” style system in the interview he gave us, which clearly points to online. Can we ever have a single FM, persistent and financed by the sale of micro content? This seems to me a first step in that direction.

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