Monday 27 November 2017

Football Manager 2018 Review

Football Manager 2018 Review
Addictive as Ever - 4.4 / 5
The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about past Football Manager games is just how addictive they are.
While I haven't spent much time with the series in recent years, in the late ’90s and early ’00s, sitting in front of my PC chasing virtual glory was how I spent the majority of my weekends. As I longed to become football's most famous gaffer, the weekends stretched into weeks and weeks into months. In fact, I spent so much time playing these games that I am pretty sure the only moments I was away from the computer was when I was at school. (No smartphones back then!)

Although reminiscing about these games brings back some fond memories, it's frightening how many hours I spent playing each one. So with that in mind, I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little apprehensive when the opportunity to review Football Manager 2018 came my way. However, once I got my hands on a copy of FM18, it didn't take long for my apprehension to subside. Moreover, although it is not my favourite, (that accolade goes to Championship Manager 01/02), Sports Interactive's latest effort is still as engrossing as ever.

*For a more in-depth review of Football Manager 2018 and other great games, check out Impulse Gamer!*


Now, the first thing you are going to notice about Football Manager 2018 is the disorientating user interface. For veterans of the series, this is part and parcel of the experience, but I can see how beginners might shy away from learning all the ins and outs. However, while the sheer amount of data on the screen can be quite daunting at first, by sticking with it, you will soon get to grips with the UI.
Football Manager 2018 Review
And once you are accustomed to the layout, it is time to prepare your squad for the upcoming season. Whether it be organising your team, tactics or set-piece routines, the fundamentals of Football Manager 2018 are the same as before.

While there are more tactics on offer, a new feature sees a change to match planning. Now you can organise your team on a game-by-game basis aided by sports scientists and data analysts. These members of your back-room staff provide detailed information on your squad and the opposition which is particularly useful when your next game is against a superior opponent, and you are struggling to figure out how to nullify their attacking threat. Now, onto this year's most significant inclusion. Like previous instalments, Sports Interactive has once again expanded the number of players and staff and while increasing the size of the database is not anything special, this year, players now have a personality. This feature, called ‘Dynamics’, sees players split into social groups, which determines your team's morale. For instance, selling a favourite player, or failing to look after an area of your team can lead to losing the dressing room which, unfortunately, only has one outcome – losing your job. (A stint as a pundit for Sky Sports is not a feature yet) … As for the transfer market itself, not much has changed about how it operates. You can still send scouts to all corners of the globe and hope that they unearth some hidden gems. That said, scout reports now include a comprehensive list of pros and cons for each target so you can be more meticulous when deciding whom to buy. The last notable new inclusion to Football Manager 2018 is the ‘Medical Centre’ where you can investigate player injuries, which helps you to identify what's causing specific issues and alter training methods to prevent them from reoccurring.

Visual / Audio

Indeed, much of your time playing Football Manager 2018 will involve staring at walls of text for hours on end. Roughly 95% of the game is scrolling through pages of data, in search of new players and changing tactics. The remaining 5%? Well, that's for match day, where FM18's graphical engine beats all previous entries in the series.

Football Manager 2018 Review
Watching a game looks clearer thanks to the new graphics system which allows for more elegant textures, lighting and motion capture. These sleeker visuals are thanks, in part, to Total War Developers Total Assembly who helped build the new engine for Sports Interactive.

While these sharper visuals will please Football Manager enthusiasts, I still prefer the 2D setup, where 22 circles whizz around a flat pitch. Of course, that is just my personal preference as I prefer the simpler days of the early 2000s. Hell, I’d even go as far to say that I would be happy with a box of text that flashes the word ‘GOAL’, like what was on offer in the late ’90s!

Final Thoughts

All-in-all, Football Manager 2018 is as addictive as ever. Packed with a plethora of options and tactics to choose from, it immerses you into the world of football management like never before. Quite Simply, unless you are up to date with your coaching badges, Sports Interactive's latest effort is the closest you will get to becoming a managerial messiah.

So, if you are passionate about football and you fancy yourself as a bit of a José Mourinho, then Football Manager 2018 deserves a place in your collection.

Gameplay - 4/5

Graphics - 3.5/5

Audio - 4/5

Value - 5/5

Overall - 4.4/5

Football Manager 2018 Review
Game Details
Primary Format: PC (reviewed)
Game Genre: Sports
Rating: G
Game Developer: Sports Interactive
Game Publisher: Sega
Reviewer: James Coles