The Average Gamer

Football Manager 2013 Review (PC)

It’s that time of year again; where the younger become addicts, and the adults become divorced yet again (in some reported cases, at least). Yep, it’s time for a new Football Manager, and boy it can be a life taker. But does it have to be, this time?

The lovely people at Sports Interactive and publisher Sega have delivered an alternative addition to the Football Manager experience; one that won’t necessarily require being permanently stationed in the doghouse.

Indeed, this excellent addition, intuitively titled ‘Football Manager Classic’, will take long time followers back to the original Championship Manager days, before Sports Interactive’s move to Sega. This takes the experience back to the pre-Eidos/SI split of 2004 somewhat, but this is no means in a negative way.

The backroom and training portions of the game are automated, leaving you to concentrate on the results side of things – picking the team, watching the match if you wish, and adjusting tactics where it may be required. Between matches, everything is centralised using a simple news feed; highlighting updates on injuries, transfer targets, even reducing the press conference sections to single, all-round answers instead of the usual mammoth Q+A sessions of the full game.

The 3D match engine, should you use it, replicates that of the full game also, and is beginning to look a lot like the current FIFA games. No bad thing, of course. All in all, Classic mode is an absolute triumph, and is worth the asking price of the FM 2013 alone. This could easily have been a separate release, so major hats off to Miles Jacobson and the team. Married men can live once again.

Lest we forget there is also the main game. It’s clear here that just as much time has been spent improving this experience as well as the development of the classic mode. Handy pop-up menus negate a hell of a lot of clicking from previous year’s editions and feels like Football Manager is becoming a social media network of its very own.

Even during matches, a Twitter-like feed pops up when your assistant manager makes contact regarding tactics or advice on the pitch goings-on.

In my experience with CM and FM over the years, this is the first time I’ve really felt I am the manager on the touchline. It’s all very simple in its use, and is a big success in FM 2013.

The press conference sections may seem a bit heavy at first, but the response are so varied in tone, you can really put yourself on the managerial pedestal, or be the cautious coward. Even better, you can storm out should you find a question too pressing.

Training is vastly extensive as expected, but for those who prefer not to handle all that, a carefully appointed assistant manager can handle that for you. Not only do you need to trust your players but also all your staff, should you decide to hand the reins over.

Football Manager 2013 is the complete football management experience. Sports interactive not only ‘get’ football, but they also fully understand how clubs are setup, managed, financed, and amusingly, how football is handled in the media. You can mould the experience however you want it, or if you cannot be bothered to do that, Classic Mode is the perfect alternative. This may well bring back fans of the Championship Manager of old, who can finally manage both Football Manager and looking after their kids.

Football Manager 2013 will be released on PC and Mac from 2nd November 2012.

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