Football Manager 2014 - Review

Author: Stefano Talarico
Date: 2021-01-26 10:28:28
Scrolling through the twenty-year history of Football Manager you notice something bizarre, bordering on disturbing: unlike other sports titles and their electoral promises about innovations, year after year the SI Games title is really improved and embellished compared to its predecessor, even when improving seemed, if not impossible, very very difficult indeed. Miles Jacobson and his people have an obvious inclination to perfectionism, a sort of divine illumination of managerial game design that allows them to see the flaws of their creature, imperceptible to the remaining 98% of humanity, and to remove them with a nonchalance and a " delicacy ”, if you like, which leaves you speechless every year. Whether it's new small implementations or a substantial change of a key element of the game, the feeling is always that the innovation introduced by Sports Interactive is actually a very clear improvement of what has already been seen in - far from deficient or imperfect - previous year's edition. All while always managing to appear familiar and legible, both for longtime fans and for newbies.

After the "Copernican" revolution that took place last year, coinciding with the twenty years of the series, Football Manager 2013 seemed really difficult to overcome, given its notable improvements in the gaming experience (especially compared to the editions immediately preceding it, a little 'too "static") and the graphical interface, completely revised. Not to mention the implementation of new alternative modes to simulation, such as Football Manager Classic and Challenges, which somehow have shown how an innovation of this magnitude, if made with conscience, can bring many fruits even to a historical formula, highly appreciated and followed by millions of what some would call "fundamentalist fans".

Does this marriage have to be done?

Football Manager 2014, however, is obviously the son of that divine illumination I was talking about at the beginning, and already immediately shows new elements that, although they might have seemed unthinkable or of little importance only twelve months ago, not only are there, but they give the idea of how the guys led by Miles Jacobson are tireless and attentive to details. Already at the beginning of your career, as soon as you find a team to coach, the first chat with the president will prove more important than it was in the previous editions, since it will act as a real job interview in which to expose the own ideas of football, and in which we will be called to have our say on the team, on the possibility or not of achieving the objectives set by the management and on the type of direction that the company intends to take during our leadership, going to contextualise at best changes to the budget and to the various technical departments.

These elements, of course, will also return on the occasion of the various contract renewals and in the event that we are offered another bench, and they can determine the success or failure of a negotiation even more than the millions who dance on the engagement, as is that's right: on the other hand, a coach who wants to bet everything on high-sounding names doesn't have much to do with a president who wants to bet on young people, right? The first interview, therefore, must absolutely not be taken lightly: beyond determining the budget and "ambitions" of the team, we must never forget that on the other side of the "desk" there are the usual Football Manager presidents, always anchored with parameters that are too rigid (and on which we would have to discuss) and inclined to question (if not dismiss) a coach for not having achieved a set goal, despite having won the championship and / or the Cup.

After the first important interview, to remind us that exams never end, the presentation press conference arrives, which serves to illustrate two other small big improvements compared to what has already been seen previously: the first is that the news screen, in addition to appearing further refined than last year, it acts as a “container” for interviews, without referring us to a special screen. The second is that, listen, listen, the vast majority of the textual parts of the game have been revised, updated and proposed with a lower frequency close, managing to hide a little the fact that, after all, we are still responding to an intelligence artificial not exactly fresh. The dialectical component, even in Football Manager 2014, is in fact still quite ornamental and "mechanical" (not to mention the small typos here and there), even though it manages not to get bored immediately after the first interviews.

The various collaborator reports will also be contained in the new, convenient news screen.

Of course, among the various questions from the press, the one addressed to transfers cannot be missing, which in Football Manager 2014 are based on the limitations imposed by financial fair play, introduced in the game last year and always visible thanks to a practical reminder in the offer. . In this year's edition, however, the negotiations for the acquisition of a new player see some interesting implementations: first of all it is possible to discuss with the other teams in real time, without waiting for a "fax" reply as in the past, but conversing directly with whoever holds the card until an agreement is reached (or deadlock in negotiations), similarly to what happens during the discussion of a contract or a renewal. In addition, several new realistic clauses have been added regarding the bargaining, such as a bonus for defenders who keep the clean net, or the possibility to buy a player leaving him on loan for a period to the club of origin.

Put aside the bureaucracy and made the presentations with the press and new players, we move on to the actual management of the various situations of the club. After the increase in the roles (and their specificity) of the staff seen in the 2013 edition, this year the most interesting news of Football Manager concern the training and the tactical part of the preparation. Although the mechanics and management of training have not changed much compared to last year, everything appears more practical and easy to read thanks to some pie charts, which show the state of form of the team and their appreciation for the load of work to which they are subjected. Regarding this situation, it should be noted that not only are the personalized training menus more readable than in previous years, but also that it is now possible to assign a new training task to a player by simply right clicking on his. name, in any window of the game.

This is particularly convenient (also because in Football Manager there is always so much to remember!) Also by virtue of the new tactical menu, which abandons the dualism between the "classic" system and the more recent one, made famous by the abundance of bars and cursors, in favor of a new, very rich schema editor. In Football Manager 2014 it is in fact possible to create game tactics almost totally adherent to our idea of football, thanks to the implementation of eight new roles to choose from (including the now inevitable "fake nueve") to cover the various areas of the field. An in-depth personalization, further improved also through the new system of instructions to the team which, as mentioned, abandons bars and cursors in favor of real indications, which follow the "sideline instructions" present in the match, and which allow to establish all the various preferences regarding the depth of the passes, the height of the defense line and other fundamental parameters so that the team plays the triumphal march that you have prepared at its best.

The system based on the indications was preferred to the sliders also with regard to the management of the players, which will now be easier to impart a different style of play depending on the characteristics we want to see on the field or, even, on the circumstances of the match: if for example, our team is betting everything on the counterattack, we can tell the striker to ignore the general tactics to always stay close to the opponent's half, making the most of the counterattack. A system certainly thorough and fully functional, which however does not seem so indispensable, also by virtue of the balance of teams and matches due to the new tactical editor, which seems to be a bit more tolerant towards coaches who are less attentive to details.