Football Manager 2016 - Review

Author: Stefano Talarico
Date: 2021-01-26 10:33:49
Imagine that teams like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and other great teams of world football no longer exist, overnight. Their history erased forever, their coat of arms smeared on all sports almanacs, as if it were an alternative past. Successes and trophies won with the sweat and tears of magical nights that fade like this, in a moment, like any 25 May 2005. Priceless players without a contract anymore, free to trot arm in arm with agents and prosecutors. Legendary stadiums left at the mercy of boiled rock stars and talent groups. No, it's not a Fallout 4-style apocalyptic scenario and this isn't the review of the latest Bethesda title (which is at this address anyway). This is, incredible but true, the latest big news that Sports Interactive has introduced this year in Football Manager.

In addition to the actual simulation, the Touch mode and the inevitable Challenges, which I will return to later, Football Manager 2016 introduces for the first time the Create a team mode, which is a variant of the traditional game in which, precisely, it is possible to shape a football team. As usual, once we have created our coach and chosen the starting league, when choosing a team we could change its name, nickname, location, name of the stadium, social colors, logo and even the squad, and then start with the first of many summer retreats and lay the foundation for future successes.

All very nice? Almost.

In fact, the Create a team mode is based on the huge, very deep and very complicated database built and constantly updated by Sports Interactive, which lies under the hood of the graphical interface and in which the rules of the butterfly effect apply, in the sense that if move a iota of the characteristics of Ryder Matos the Carpi ends up making treble between now and 2027. This is to say that, in fact, it is not about the creation of a team from scratch, but rather to replace an existing and already inserted team in Miles Jacobson's system, undergoing more or less all the small-big upheavals and the consequent limitations.

By replacing a football club, while erasing its past history, it inherits its corporate structure and asset value (based on the price of the players in the squad). Two aspects that, when you find the supposed freedom to "create a team" in your hands, turn out to be discriminating absolutely not negligible. First of all, trivially, the economic distances that separate companies in a league are often enormous. Spain has Real Madrid topping with one billion euros, Barcelona with 845 million, and eighteen teams facing them with less than half. In Germany and France, restarting on the basis of superpowers such as Bayern (760 million) and PSG (600 million) annihilates all internal competition since July. To a lesser extent, Italy and England, while traveling on extremely different standards (just think that the best of the Italians, which has double the availability of the second richest, is worth little more than the sixth English team), have many teams with quite similar to each other. This means that, having to assemble a squad of at least twenty-five players, taking the place of a big player guarantees infinitely more funds (and therefore much more "supposed" quality, or if you prefer more "star power") than founding your team on the ashes. of one of the other nineteen teams.

In this sense, the choice of the team to "inherit" becomes doubly important: not only is one confined to the state of the original team (one cannot, so to speak, take the City and put the Eredivisie to fire and sword), but how I said you don't even have managerial power over the company and its finances, since presidents, CEOs and treasurers of sorts will have moved with us from the old reality, and there is no way to improve a team's income and finances if not sacrificing our precious pieces, through the barbarism of fantasy football.

In terms of gameplay, then, the Create a Team mode is nothing more than a sort of NBA-style relocation; a MyGM mode in which, however, instead of throwing hands and feet in the growth of a franchise through sponsorships, structures and so on, we only have the weight of a salary ceiling under which to cram twenty-five (or more) players and try to do something in the league and in the cups.

A rather difficult task to face with serenity and with the right perspective, at least at the first attempts. Unlocking half a squad to fill the team with established stars is a difficult task if you start from a “poor” team, but even with a lot of wealth available you risk being discovered in key roles, especially in the event of injuries. In addition, buying a player in the repair market can be difficult if they are not attracted to the team's coat of arms, since inheriting one of them erases their history in various competitions (this is an optional option, but set by default). Wanting to stay balanced, it must be considered that putting an absolute star in an average-good team risks making you too dependent on the new symbolic player. And then, inevitably, making a team of young promises in Football Manager continues to be a mission capable of squandering all your petrodollars, given the crazy figures that artificial intelligence has always assigned to the under 23 cards. Not to mention that, with a slightly smoky management, you still risk that your dream team goes into the hands of a ferryman (great news for 2016!) or another coach, breaking the toy a bit.

Yes, because obviously, after putting together the squad, Create a team still remains anchored to the classic mechanics of Football Manager, so you have to follow every little aspect of the game, from the harmony (remember this if you want to bring Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi closer) to workouts, obviously passing through the results, which are decisive for staying on the bench.

Mind you, assembling your own dream squad is still something that, prior to Football Manager 2016, was only feasible with months of in-game work or, worse, brutally using some editor, so it's great that it was included and it will surely delight. of many fans. But it is also undeniable that, as it has been arranged in this edition, the Create a team mode soon takes on the characteristics of a god mode in which to spend the first two hours enjoying the training and playing with tactics, only to realize that much of the fun of Football Manager lies in sleepless nights, in building the squad in the transfer market, in signing the favorite player after weeks of negotiations. The risk, in short, is that putting together your ideal XI will affect that realistic, didactic and even formative component given by the defeats, training and satisfactions that only a team of jugs that wins the championship can give.

The hope, however, is that this is a first step towards a future in which the sublime and very deep management components of a team will also be expanded to the administrative side.