So the latest edition of one of the most addictive games around has been out just over a week now and it’s safe to say it lives up to the hype Sports Interactive have created for themselves.
For years football management games seemed to be part of the seedy under-belly of the football simulation games, LMA Manager was one of my personal favourite games but it seemed to be looked at with pure confusion whilst the likes of FIFA, and Pro Evolution Soccer (or PES, or maybe even Pro Ev0 – I’ll never be able to call it Pro Evo) soared through the mainstream gaming market.
Whilst this was happening Football Manager (after having split away from Championship Manager) seemed to increase its cult following, year-after-year the latest and greatest FM wonderkids grew in prominence for fans. Something that was touched upon in Ian Macintosh’s 2012 book Football Manager Stole My Life.
Acting Out Your Team
So we all know how addictive Football Manager can be (according to the in-game addictiveness rating I’m “mildly addicted” – let’s not go into my FM14 stats) but some fans even manage to take the passion of Football Manager to a whole new level.
I’ve recently learnt that conducting post-match interviews in the shower is a more common occurrence than I thought it was. In fact during my reading around for this blog post I learnt of fans who have posed for pictures on football ground tours in the hope to emulate their real-life counterparts.
And we all know of that one fan who has suited up for the Champions League final or a promotion play-off at Wembley.
We seem to have a level of expectation now with Football Manager 2015 and every year seems to have its own little teething problems so I thought I’d wait until I’ve played through a season before I really passed judgement or even comment on the game.
So here I am, a season later in the game, having guided my Crewe team (it’s always a Crewe team to start) to automatic promotion.
The game has had a fairly drastic reshaping in terms of layout – the old side-bar from Football Managers past has replaced the top-bar layout – I won’t lie this confused me a little when I first started – things had moved – I didn’t think change scared me but when it’s the much-loved Football Manager it does – at least a little bit.
The tactics screen has also changed; definitely the biggest change since the old arrow-based system left us in Football Manager 2010.
We’re now faced with a stars, coloured circles and lines style system – maybe I’m making that harder to explain than it is. The old 5* system has been replaced by a usefulness for the first team rating which seems to give you more information as to who your best players are and what roles they’re best suited to. It seems to have received some initial criticism but I for one quite like it.
No doubt it is hard to keep improving and trying to build on a game that has such a following – this was typified earlier this year with the release of the Football Manager documentary. Especially when the game now hosts scouts that interact with the professional game.
They now cater for the gaming market, their hardcore market, and the professional game itself.
But even with early bugs (four-man defences are particularly susceptible to crosses) FM 15 doesn’t fail to deliver – although I do hope I put less hours into it than I did in Football Manager 2014 – it was a long summer.
For those wondering it was 940 hours – that’s the best part of 40 days it was running on my computer!!!