Football Manager 2013 Review
Football Manager is back with even more teams, leagues and game modes
Sports Interactive has been making games about managing football teams for two decades. That is a long time to be putting out games which basically involve navigating menus. Since the early days of Championship Manager in 1992, to the switch to Football Manager in 2004, and right up to the present day, these have been some of the most popular management games on the market. This year’s release, Football Manager 2013, raises the bar again, and still manages to bring something fresh to the table after all these years.
If you are a football fan, it is highly likely that at some point you have complained about the way your favourite team is managed. We all think that if we chose a different striker, or played that midfielder in a slightly different role then we would win every trophy and never lose a match. That is the reason why the FM games are so appealing, you can make all of those vital decisions, and thankfully, they are quality products to boot. This year’s title brings whole new game modes, as well as adding yet more teams and leagues to the already vast database. The menus look slicker, the match engine has been updated, and the whole thing just seems to run even more smoothly. The 3D matches seem to run quicker, with less time spent processing in between each highlight. They do look and sound much the same as last year’s attempt though. The graphics are quite basic when compared to full on football games, and the only sounds are of the crowd and the ball being knocked around. There are fewer highlights when you choose to view only the “key” ones, but they are relevant to the action more so than in last year’s game. Most highlights are of genuine chances, rather than simply shots on target or free kicks being given away. Strikers with high shooting rating definitely miss a lot less when one on one with the keeper than in previous games, which used to be a frustration.
The main new addition is the Football Manager Classic game mode. This is for the fan who does not have enough time to take charge of every little detail at the club. You can only select up to three playable nations, leaving the database much smaller so the simulations run quicker. It leaves much of the work to your backroom staff such as training and team talks, and allows you to complete a season in around eight hours. Transfers are simplified, now you can simply ask someone to chase a transfer target for you, although you can delve deeper into the market yourself if desired. Media interviews are rare and short, allowing you to simply pick your team, choose a general training schedule, and watch the season unfold. You can even skip watching the matches and click a button to bring up an instant result, just to save even more time. However you will not be able to make tactical changes during the match as you will be leaving all decisions to your assistant manager.
For another relatively short burst of action you can participate in one of the new challenge modes. There are currently four challenges available. The first dumps your team into a relegation battle halfway through the season, and your objective is to avoid the drop. The second sees your team afflicted with injury problems, and it is up to you to continue to meet the board’s expectations with a reduced line up. The third places you at the top of the table having already gone through most of the season undefeated. Victory comes from continuing not to lose any games for the remainder of the season. The final challenge grants you a team filled with youngsters who have climbed up through the youth team ranks, and you have to claim some silverware with these players. Most of the challenges can be completed in an even shorter amount of time than a season takes, and bring an interesting, slightly more goal oriented approach to the game.