Football manager gave us a nice surprise with its first console release in years. But is it really the same as on PC? And are the controls doable for a console release?
Let us first take a look at what Football Manager actually is, and what the core mechanics really are. Everyone knows the football titles like EA’s “FIFA” and Konami’s “PES” games dominating that market. But there is a third and more technical/ tactical game out there… Football manager. In Football Manager, you play as a manager in the football world. First, you start of with designing your manager, and then the game gives you the choice of becoming a manager immediately or start unemployed and try to find a team to work with. The number of teams and competitions you can choose from are insane. Going from the first league in Spain to the 5th league in England, or the 3rd league in Slovakia. You call it, the chance that your favorite team is in the game, is really big. The only downside in this story is that a huge amount of teams and leagues are not licensed so you won’t have their official logos and kits.
Football Manager is a tactical game. What is misses from the perception of FIFA and PES in its gameplay style, it compensates in the amount of depth FM 21 has. Every aspect of a: competition, Club, or player are so immense deep and complex, making for a real deep and immersive game experience in its genre. The game really lacks in graphics and sound, I am going to be fair on that (even though this year, the engine got a big upgrade from the previous years with better animations and lighting). But it does not bother when you are really into the game itself. As a manager, you have to arrange everything that comes to mind when at the steering wheel of a football club. Talking about your own team tactics, training, scouting, transfers, youth, facilities, and so on. every single element of your manager career are in your hands (okay you can leave certain things to your assistant manager, but what is fun about that?)
Now that we have a rough image from FM21, let’s take a look at how well it got ported to the Xbox game console. they went with an FM21 Touch version of the game, which sacrifices depth for speed and more “casual gameplay”. Fine for me… less fine for the more hardcore FM players out there. Controle wise, it was a different story. There are 2 different control settings available when playing. a more casual system where an onscreen mouse is displayed and you use your analog stick to move it and select/move things around. Or a system where you use a combination of all analog sticks and the arrow pad to select and move things. this really felt strange and not really easy to play. So I chose the arrow control, but this felt rather slow and buggy. To define this whole part short: it is a good port for the console, but please revamp the controls because it really makes it annoying at times when playing.