Football Manager 2015 Review - We Know Gamers

Year in and year out, football fans await the release of the latest Football Manager with hopes of leading their team to the top of their respective divisions.

Sports Interactive has always done a great job building upon the previous year’s release, as each game has generally been better than its predecessor. With Football Manager 2015 being the 11th annual FM release, can Sport Interactive continue their excellent record of providing fans the chance to build squads and prove naysayers wrong, on the way to cementing their name in the FM hall of fame?

While previous FM’s have been criticised for not differing too much from their predecessors, 2015 has had quite the shake-up. Right from the get-go, making your avatar feels a lot more detailed as you’re able to select whereabouts you were born, whether you have multiple favourite teams that you support and languages that you can speak and lastly whether or not you have a favourite formation. It’s a small addition, but as a whole it makes management of your player profile feel a lot more personal.

The customisation doesn’t end there as another noteworthy addition is the introduction of being either a tactical or tracksuit manager. Tactical (obviously) focuses on tactics and strategies, whereas tracksuit relies more so on training. You can now even select what coaching badges you have, which adds a great sense of realism to your role as a manager.

What kind of a manager are you?
Quite a big change has seen FM reverting back to the side bar for the game’s navigation. The side bar doesn’t hurt the layout much; in fact it actually makes the entire user interface look a lot less cluttered. One section that doesn’t look clear however is the headlines section, as each headline is filled with a different colour resulting in far too much colour in one space. It may seem small, but you’ll likely grimace every time you see the horrible rainbow looking list of headlines though on a more positive note, it’s nice to be able to see the upcoming events, recent results and recent transfers altogether adding to what is a much improved overall presentation for Football Manager.

Identifying the right players for your team and formation is better than ever, as you are easily able to see what the key attributes are for each player role, which is very handy when you are looking for the perfect anchor man to boss your midfield. It’s also ridiculously handy being able to see a clear list of the pros and cons regarding a player before attempting to sign them.

Building the perfect team is better than ever
On the press conference/interview side of things, tunnel interviews have been added in which you are asked a couple of questions right before you walk out for a game. It’s a nice addition in a long line of improvements when it comes to interactions. Press conferences on the other hand while less repetitive, aren’t as realistic as they could be due to odd occasional glitches, for instance one of the options I was given following a draw was ‘I’m pleased with the victory’. As FM is generally not associated with having issues like that, the fact it’s happened a couple times unfortunately makes it stand out like a sore thumb.

Player interaction really stands out as a major feature in this year’s Football Manager. There is so much option in regards to what you can talk with your players regarding, such as talking to your captain about the morale in the dressing room or having him welcome a new signing to the club, talking a player out of potentially leaving or even giving a farewell message to a departing player (the only one of which that could use more varied options). It all adds to player interaction being right up there as one of the most important parts of the game.

Amazingly it isn’t even just the player’s interaction that’s improved, but also your interaction with the club’s boardroom. Talking with the board before signing a new contract about what you want to see implemented into the club is fantastic, as it makes signing a new contract more of an actual decision. One gripe I do have with your contract in the game (and this is one I have had for many years) is that you still cannot do anything with the money you make as a manager, making the money offered to you in a contract offer essentially worthless.

Lastly in regards to interaction, the interaction with your potential new boss during job interviews has been improved, as the chairman goes into detail on your past playing experience, your current reputation as a manager and your history prior to the job interview. It’s really excellent stuff, as the detailed job interviews can actually be nerve wracking if it’s for a job that you really want.

Since its introduction in Football Manager 2009, the 3D match engine has continued to improve with each FM release and 2015 has been no different. Player animation looks better than ever, with players popping off little skills that actually look like they were meant to happen.

Remember the days of watching 22 circles chasing each other on a 2D pitch?
The gameplay generally looks smoother than it ever has too, which along with the games being a lot less predictable make for a seriously enjoyable watch. Players don’t all seem like they are programmed the same, making your key individuals look like real superstars when they are on the ball.

It’s taken awhile but FM’s 3D match engine is at a stage now where it is genuinely enjoyable to watch, even if it still isn’t everyone’s cup of tea visually.

Everyone familiar with the options of play in Football Manager will recognize everything available, such as the main FM experience, FM classic (for a quicker experience), the usual challenges that give you an injury filled team or a lack of finances and of course online play, all of which work just as smoothly as they did last year.

Those new to the wonderful stat filled world of Football Manager may feel lost right away, however you can set the help level so if you are indeed a beginner, there will be help notes located all over the screen to help you find out more about everything within the game. If the help level is set to expert, then it only highlights the newest features to the game.

Sports Interactive knows how to improve upon previous FM’s and 2015 is right up there as one of the best and most addictive FM titles yet. The new features and improvements are all welcome additions that help make the player’s time with their team a more detailed and personal experience. If you love Football Manager, then there is no reason why you won’t love Football Manager 2015 and if you’ve never played Football Manager, then now is as good a time as any to get stuck in to the best football managing title available.

What did you think of Football Manager 2015? Agree with the article? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on twitter - @KingKicks

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