The Football Manager series is the arguably the GREATEST EVER football management game in the games industry and Football Manager 2012 provides the series with another top drawer game for hardcore football gamers to sink their teeth into.
There are reportedly 800 changes in this latest edition, although I didn’t verify this, but you can certainly spot some changes more than others.
The navigation and layout of the system is one of the first clear-cut changes that veteran FM gamers will spot. As ever it takes an initial click or two to find your way around, but after the initial navigation issues they soon disappear.
The 3D match engine has had a transformation with an eye-catching evolution. The Director Cam mode transforms the basic match engine from last year into a TV highlights package with various angles including behind the goal views at corner kicks. However if this is all too fancy for you and want to go back to basics you can click on the 2D match engine.
The animation of both the players and fans in the stands have improved also, but just a little, there is still work needed to improve this significantly, but the improvements are where it matters most, it is just a personal preference.
There has been improvements to the pre-match aspects of the game also with the team talks seeing an increase in the tone of your remarks from aggressive to assertive, passionate, calm, cautious and reluctant. However one significant and sometimes annoying factor of the game – the press conferences – have not improved in my opinion. More often than not I sent my assistant to answer said questions in the style of Sir Alex Ferguson, unless it was a major game. Even then it was tedious, maybe next year’s game could include the option to fire a hairdryer, football boot at the waiting press or label the journalists monkeys a-la-Vladmir Romanov.
Match fitness and condition references have also been tweaked, and you can now see how far each of your player’s have run per game.
With new features and the game becoming more in-depth and at times complex, the FM team have created a new tutorial mode which will help beginners to the game, as well as seasoned veterans who have just hit a brick wall in what they were trying to do.
Football Manager 2012 has evolved from last year’s effort and for 30 quid it is in my opinion a must for all us opinionated football fan who loves to spout how great we would be in charge of the club we support. I have been very opinionated on the tenureship of Craig Levein as Scotland manager, and the failure to reach EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. FM 2012 gave me the chance to put my comments and opinions into practice and the end product? Securing a play-off place with ease, beating Serbia over two legs in the play-off to reach EURO 2012 proper. Into the group stages my record was two wins out of three over Denmark and Ukraine before being humbled by Germany in the final group game, but by that time I had already qualified for the knock-out phase of the competition – where I faced Italy and was knocked out after a 3-0 defeat.
The game is addictive as ever and will see many a fan play through to the early hours of the morning and phone in sick just to complete a game or two. Not that I have ever done that!
Football Manager 2012 is released on Friday in all good gaming stores for around £30.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Platform: Microsoft Windows (also available on Mac OS X, PlayStation Portable, iOS)