Think you could do better?
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2017 ON PC
The Football Manager games give every fan the chance to put their match-day ramblings into virtual action. Can you win on a cold, rainy Tuesday night in Stoke? As it has done for years, Football Manger allows you to test your mettle as a manager and create some unique stories about overcoming the odds and tasting glory. Football Manager 2017 continues to bombard you with a virtual spreadsheet full of statistics and facts to help you lead a squad to success, but it isn’t much of an evolution from last year’s iteration.
As always, the sheer number of things to keep track of in Football Manger is incredible. Player morale, tactics, training, transfers, staff assignments and youth development are just a fraction of what a player has to deal with on top of winning matches. Numbers, graphs, charts, and statistics are organized in such a way that, although they look overwhelming at first, are always clear in what they want from you. The freedom to tweak everything to you heart’s content is what makes Football Manger so compelling. You can implement your own style with ease, allowing you to assemble a squad that meets your ambition. Are you a man-manager that requires discipline and determination from his players? Or are you a manager that puts more weight on technical ability than attitude?
The moment to moment gameplay so closely resembles the role of a real life football manager that you’ll be telling your stories to friends for the rest of the season. You’ll tell of that time you took a conference side from football league obscurity to Champions League Final in less than a decade. Maybe you gave a player struggling in the lower leagues a chance to prove themselves, only for them to become the answer to your team’s insufficient depth in attack. All of this, however, is not news to the seasoned Football Manager players. It is the depth and realism that keeps them coming back every year. What they are looking for is an improvement to the overall experience that makes menial tasks more appealing, or cleans up the cluttered interface. Unfortunately, 2017’s Football Manager does not have much in the way of new features.
The most obvious addition is the social media feed that gives you an idea of how the media and fans feel you are doing and collects all the footballing news in one simple place. It tracks rival transfer activity and offers fan opinions on performances and your own transfer market dealings. It is a neat idea and realistically conveys the roles social media and fan interaction have in the modern football world. Supporters are divided, each person stubbornly believing that they could do a better job. It is an added pressure, of sorts, but the problem with the social feed is that is can be ignored without it having an effect on how you play the game. Fans will always have different opinions and, whether they are happy or angry, they won’t affect your status at your club.
The other addition to Football Manger 2017 is smaller but far more useful. In your inbox you get messages from staff members, advising you to do things such as track a player or praise an in-form youngster. In previous years, to act on the advice you would have to dive into the labyrinth of menus and tables to find the relevant option – it simply wasn’t worth the effort. Now, messages offer a shortcut to quickly do what is suggested. With one click, you can praise a player or let your Director of Football pursue a transfer target, allowing you to do things you may not have bothered with last year. It makes everything much more manageable and allows series newcomers to be more comfortable with the overwhelming way certain aspects of the game are presented. Other small additions include added staff roles such as sports scientists and some interface tweaks. However, it is difficult to criticize Football Manger 2017 for lacking a complete overhaul since it is by far the best game of its kind available. The sheer level of detail in every aspect doesn’t allow for much of a change, especially in areas that are already perfect.
The rest of the game remains largely unchanged. The match-days remain a break from the organization heavy pre and post game moments. Tactics still play out well, with team shape changes and team talks having a clear impact on the on-pitch gameplay. Players do still move awkwardly and the game’s idea of a ‘highlight’ can be bemusing, but since the time between matches can be quite long, it rarely becomes a problem. If you are looking for a beautiful recreation of the match-day atmosphere, then FIFA may be your best port of call. There are still some slow moments as you cycle through your inbox. Press conferences are dull and repetitive and lead you to answer the same question over and over again, always giving the same answer. Aspects like that don’t have much of an impact on your status so you can rush through them but it doesn’t seem like as much thought has gone into them as features like player interaction.
Football Manager 2017’s greatest strength remains its detail. Deep, realistic youth squads include players most fans wouldn’t even have heard of; player attributes closely match those of the real world counterparts and club structures are exactly how you’d expect. For example, if you choose to become manager of Arsenal, Arsene Wenger won’t simply be deleted from existence, he becomes your Director of Football. Just as he could do in the real world, Wenger still has a say in the running of Arsenal, even after he has stepped down as manager. It is this kind of detail and adherence to the real footballing world that makes Football Manager 2017 feel so authentic.
2017’s iteration of Football Manager is still the irresistible management sim with a seemingly endless number of statistics to track and players to look after. It offers so much potential for unique stories and is unrivaled in how well it recreates the world of football and management. It may not offer many new features to persuade seasoned players to start their journey all over again but that doesn’t stop it being the best game of its kind. For newcomers, what additions there are makes it an easier experience to get to grips with and, once you are a few hours in, it is as difficult to escape as it always has been.
SCORE: 4/5 – Great