Football Manager 2013 Review

In the release of Football Manager 2013, there is something sacrilegious: because for many years the cornerstone of the series has been unquestionably realism, the inclusion of the new, improved Classic mode in the game now seems somewhat betraying its ideals. But those of you who are worried that the quality of the game may have suffered from this, do so in vain: the full version of the new Football Manager will captivate you for as much time as the previous ones (if not more). Just load the game – and you will immediately notice how many positive changes have occurred compared to last year.

And it was said as follows: “Truly, from now on and until the end of time, each subsequent version of Football Manager will require more time to complete and become increasingly difficult compared to the previous one. And this will continue until, finally, one beautiful day, team managers will have the ability to choose everything, down to the color of underwear for their players. And gamers will be ecstatic about the fact that the in-game season will need to be played longer than it lasts in reality.” – statement from the game developers, Sports Interactive.

The first thing that catches the eye is the complete change of the interface. Now there are pop-up menus on the navigation panel, and overall the panel itself looks neater. Although it will take some time for you to get used to it, once you do, you will not fail to notice the fewer clicks required to achieve the desired result. The new design of the navigation panel may not work perfectly when the game window is minimized to smaller sizes than the monitor, but overall this element has become more elegant and rational. Especially pleasing is the abundance of useful information – calendar, news, etc. – that you can familiarize yourself with during the loading window demonstration.

The game day mode has also been significantly improved, and now you feel like an integral part of the team’s match more than in any previous version. Your assistant is constantly in touch with you through pop-up messages, similar to Twitter. This way, you can determine if the opponent’s forward has any extra free space without the need for a detailed analysis of tactical and technical match indicators.

Highlighted Gameplay

The menu items in the new game are displayed in a fairly unobtrusive manner, and information about the team (such as the current state of your players and the match rating) is shown by default during replays of the best moments. I must admit that in the past, changing tactics during a match caused me a lot of trouble (mostly due to my own laziness). But now, with the help of an assistant, making decisions during a match has become much easier. For the first time, I have the feeling that managing the team during the match is as important as the weeks of grueling preparation leading up to it.

It’s not fair to complain about the increased difficulty of the classic game mode. But I wonder how many players genuinely enjoy the increasing number of diverse aspects that we have to take into account each year? For example, just like with “locker room talks” in the past, the responses at press conferences can now be delivered with different emotional tones and have different consequences. The training and scouting processes have also been significantly improved (read: “made more challenging”). And while I’m glad that overall, this direction has undergone the least changes in the past five years, I once again ask myself: “Who among you, playing last year’s version of Football Manager, wouldn’t want the effectiveness of training sessions to increase in the end, not just the time spent on them?”

The only comforting thing is that, as always, you can assign your assistant to handle all these complex routine tasks. But every time you delegate one of your own responsibilities to him, it becomes a little scary: because of his thoughtless actions, the team may lose more than it gains. Especially if you manage a team in lower leagues (meaning you operate on smaller budgets) and hire a useless assistant (because you simply can’t afford a good one), this person can wreak havoc on tactics, training processes, interactions with reporters, etc., to the point where you curse the day you decided to deal with him.

And it is precisely these things that distinguish the Classic mode, making it unpredictable and exciting. The number of different game parameters that affect the outcome of each match is so great that you simply cannot physically calculate which one needs to be taken into account at a certain moment. Of course, luck can always come to the rescue, but in most cases, you won’t even be able to analyze the reasons for defeat because the task of identifying the weak link in your managerial decisions will be like searching for a black cat in a dark room. With each passing year, the depth of the game has increased and increased. And in the end, it simply increased the chances of making wrong decisions and, as a result, added stress and negative emotions to the average player.

Strategic Management

Fortunately, this year the infamous average player can breathe a little easier: they finally have a choice.

If Championship Manager 00/01 (often considered by fans as the best in history) has a worthy successor, it can only be Football Manager Classic. It combines all the best features of the game franchise from the past ten years. At the same time, it doesn’t have anything unnecessary and manages to capture the true spirit of enjoyment from the game, which we almost forgot due to constantly calculating the most advantageous strategies for success. In other words, now, for the first time in many years, you can afford to go through most of the season in a relaxed manner.

In many ways, this is how Football Manager has always been: you choose your team on Saturday morning and win the Premier League with them by Sunday evening in the second season. The Classic mode requires less time and creates less addiction – thus increasing the loyalty of the adult audience who are not willing to spend months on a computer game. But, if you have the desire, it can easily become a time-consuming activity (if you start the next season immediately after the previous victorious one). However, what has really changed dramatically is the number of nerve cells you lose while playing: now most of them remain intact.

As an example, let’s take my performance as a team manager in last year’s version of Football Manager. After each subsequent season, the team under my guidance was getting closer and closer to winning the championship. Because of this, half of the players started demanding higher salaries, and I didn’t have the financial resources for such a step. Therefore, in the new season, I had to replace expensive players with cheaper ones (and consequently, less qualified ones). As a result, the team started rapidly falling in the table, and after the first round, we were at the bottom.

In Football Manager Classic, such a drama would take no more than one or two hours of your precious time. Here, if your chosen tactics don’t work or the acquired players don’t perform well, just a few clicks allow you to try a new strategy that might be successful. In previous versions, the whole story I described took almost a week. Every time after a loss, I had to sit down and analyze which of the hundreds of possible development options to choose in order to improve the unfavorable situation: maybe I should have increased the defense by ten percent or changed the pre-match settings received by the players. But nothing was certain, and all actions were mostly taken by chance. Then the defeats continued, days passed, and nothing significantly changed from my “wise” actions. After a week, I simply gave up: a month of my real time spent on a fictional team was wasted.

In the new game, you have a new Challenge mode at your disposal, where you can take control of a team right in the middle of the season and try to achieve success with it by the end, trying out a great variety of different paths to achieve it. Another distinctive feature of this mode, available exclusively as an additional option to the classic one, is its low time consumption, accompanied by equally low stress.

Analyzing Stats in Football Manager 2013

In the new Classic mode, it has become possible to avoid blocking certain game settings using the in-game store. And no matter how much the conservatives protest, personally, the opportunity to include my own “son” in the main squad or sign Cristiano Ronaldo seems like a great entertainment that many have been waiting for from Football Manager for years. Half of these possibilities will eventually become available to a talented and persistent manager, provided they achieve a certain progress. Therefore, accusing Sports Interactive of wanting to make additional profit from players would be tactless: in the game, everyone is given equal opportunities. Moreover, do not forget how much money was spent on creating Football Manager 2013 and how the company constantly suffers from the pirated distribution of its own products.

Moreover, both in the classic and regular modes, there is a multiplayer option that can be played through Steam. In addition, leaderboards have become available for the first time in online mode: now you have the opportunity to compare your results with the best football managers in the world. And in the new “one-on-one” format, you can create your own tournaments in which teams from your saved single-player games will play. And dealing with all this is much easier than with any online mode in previous versions, which means more people will compete with real opponents, which is also pleasing.

Now we just have to understand in which direction the series will develop further. For many years, Football Manager has offered us the opportunity to enjoy the widest range of football club management possibilities. But is that what most of us want? Year after year, the full version of the game becomes more and more difficult, so many players will switch to Classic. And if the classic version becomes popular (which is likely to happen), then in the near future it can turn into a separate full-fledged game. Will Sports Interactive continue to invest in the full version if the entire fan base of the series is permanently taken over by its younger sister?

Here, everything can easily end up like in the fable about the fox and the hare. Before I got a copy of the game a few days ago, I thought that the classic version would be something like a game for mobile devices: a nice addition, but nothing more. However, after the time I spent developing the team started to yield positive results fairly quickly, I started to look at it differently. The truth is that since the mid-2000s, Football Manager has only disappointed me year after year: achieving decent results within reasonable time frames was practically impossible. And even though FM Classic also takes time, at least I don’t waste as many of my nerve cells on it.

The choice is not easy: right now, in front of me on the screen, there are the names of two subsections of one game: Football Manager and Football Manager Classic. I don’t even know where to click. What would you choose?

Football Manager 2013
Multiplayer, Simulation
Sports Interactive
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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