Football Manager 2014 - Analysis

Author: Jaume Esteve
Date: 2021-01-26 10:28:23
A few days ago we published on IGN Spain an interview with Miles Jacobson, the person responsible for the development of Football Manager 2014, a star title among football managers and one of SEGA's safe bets for the PC market in this final part of the year. One of the questions we asked Jacobson had to do with the basic approach of the 2014 edition. The same study has insisted on not highlighting any major update but has sold the more than a thousand improvements introduced in the game. A tactic that, from the outside, seems like the same marketing strategy that Apple follows when an iPhone has the S behind the number or that we could endorse a football game like FIFA or PES.

Jacobson's response to this comparison was straightforward: "Although I understand the comparison, when you play you will see that the game has improved in many ways." The truth is that the 2014 edition of the Sports Interactive manager points in line with other editions without major structural changes: it is a great improvement in general lines that underpins the experience developed last year.

Let's remember that last year was a revolutionary game in many ways. We are talking about a title that came out of its sleeve two new game modes for its PC version. The first, clearly new, was the Classic mode, a simplified game experience that was a siren song for those players who had left the franchise either due to lack of time or because the complexity of the game had overcome them. The second addition was Challenges, an improvement that had appeared in the versions for mobile devices and that offered players quick games in a series of predetermined scenarios.

But the changes this year in Football Manager bet on subtlety rather than breaking with the already known. A subtlety that, in many cases, turns into simplicity. For example, the game is committed to eliminating previous steps for certain events in the game. Press conferences take place in your own news box, and many of the interactions can be made by shortening one or two steps. Some press conferences, by the way, that have increased in variety and where on some occasion we will be cornered by questions from journalists on duty.

Because although Sports Interactive did not want to highlight any fundamental aspect, the truth is that there are two points that take the cake in this new edition: the tactical section has undergone a new improvement and the signings have also incorporated some ideas to make them more agile.

Let's go through the tactics first, possibly the fundamental point of the game. The place where you really decide if your team is going to fight for glory or drag it every weekend. The 2013 edition had a hybrid system that could cause confusion for some players. On the one hand, the instructions to the team were simple and pointed to the line that the game has introduced in recent years: if we want to play control football we have an option that, by default, makes our team widen the field, take risks, forward the defense and prioritize possession and the short pass. But on the other hand, the bars that controlled those aspects of the equipment could be touched manually. Hence the confusion.

This year the bars have disappeared. Forever. The tactical control of our team is measured by the tactical drawing, the mentality that we want our team to print on the field, the collective instructions and the role of each player on the mat. Many variables that are thought for a single purpose: to eliminate duplications and that the player falls into the least possible contradictions.

For example, if we are desperate and need a goal, choosing the mentality of overloading will give us options that allow us to take more risks. Conversely if we have to keep the score in the last minutes. To eliminate more duplicities, the designation of a brain and an objective man has disappeared and it is in the individual roles where we will have to designate, if we want to, who are going to be our reference players.

Perhaps one of the improvements that the new player will appreciate the most is the inclusion of a short explanation in the instructions to the team. Beyond the instruction itself, the fact that the game explains to you in which cases it is convenient not to pressure your opponent and give him spaces or advance your defensive line will be a help that will avoid many frustrations during the first games. In addition, we must not forget that the game indicates possible contradictions in the instructions to the team, so if we put the defensive line very high it will indicate in red other options that we should not take.

We continue to discuss the Football Manager improvements on the next page.