Football Manager 2020 - Review
Indeed, let's face it: for years now the real Football Manager has blossomed in February (or March), after his cycle of patches that align the game engine with the current season and the expectations of the fans . In my opinion it is not a question of negligence, but of an almost natural process of a software house whose modus operandi reflects the personality of its leader, Miles Jacobson: essential, pragmatic, obsessive and methodical up to paranoia.
Without the exchange with the community, which never fails to make its dissent (and support) heard vocally, Football Manager could not exist, and without the comparison with reality its essence would be violated, incomplete, even wrong. So what starts on November 19, and which has been in beta since the beginning of the month (I started playing on 7), is only the beginning of a journey that will only culminate with the end of the winter transfer market and the beginning of the crucial moment of the football season. The following is the story of the first 50 hours spent imagining doing the most thankless and beautiful job in the world: the football coach. An interval of time sufficient to have clear ideas of what is now and what we can expect in the future, but certainly not of all that Football Manager 2020 will have to offer in its almost illegal opulence at the end of its race .
With this vitrified epithet, Roma fans on May 15, 2019 show their dissent in Trigoria against the property, guilty in their opinion of being eradicating Romanism from the team. Beyond the judgment of the matter in itself, only a few months later we discover a Rome that is absolutely one of the most skilled companies in dealing clearly with not only its technical present, but also some complicated events such as racism. These two aspects are intimately connected, and that banner is a painful but effective snapshot of today's football, where romance and dreams leave more and more room for the corporate vision.
This step is the key to understanding the managerial part of Football Manager 2020. This year the transformation of the teams into clubs is completed where the technical, economic and ideological objectives are equally important. This is not an absolute novelty, but after two years in which the achievements with the management were discussed in a fairly esoteric way, this year everything is put in black and white, with a finally clear and very specific interface regarding the direction to follow . This is a small, big change that changes the approach to club management, especially in the middle class of world football.
If the top clubs want the best and (often) make available many tools and the smaller series clubs can be forged like a coach with personality, the middle range becomes absolutely more intriguing and complex to play. The stakes can be many and, I assure you, equally binding. When the contract is signed, a five-year plan is presented which defines all the parameters according to which our work will be evaluated. This means that doing well in the championship may not be enough if, for example, a healthy engagement policy is not implemented . Frustrating and unfair that it is moral and sporting, winning is no longer the only thing that matters.
The excellent news is that the evolutionary step has been totally painless and, with no small surprise, I can say that what has been played so far by Football Manager 2020 from the managerial point of view is the best that the series has offered in the last three years , and in this sense I mean that the ways in which we relate to the club and the team are complete, functional and stratified as usual, but also incredibly clear and legible. Thanks to a revised interface, much more effective and customizable that immediately highlights the important things and tidies up the amount of superhuman information that each screen slams into the player's face. Among other things, and this I emphasize for the benefit of those who always feel overwhelmed by the greatness of Football Manager , it is also the chapter where it is much easier to delegate and know what to do at all times. It takes time to dominate all the tools, but there is a surprising linearity between causes, effects and solutions (or attempts). Furthermore, strange but true, the accident situation is already under control.
It is always a transfer market
In this climate of planning and mandatory planning, the technical project must also be organized methodically and rigorously. The first aspect refreshed by the transition to the third stage of development of the corporate vision is that of human relations, both with the management and with the club. Beyond the discussion of the objectives, the management is much more present, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The new staff members to whom to entrust part of the technical direction and, above all, monitoring the development of the players (a godsend) are important additions to keep the pulse of the situation, but at the same time the sports director and the president do not hesitate to hinder or facilitate operations that go against club principles. Compared to the past where the will of the management, however, was granitic, the room for maneuver is now incredibly wider , and imposing one's belief becomes an exercise in patience, will and stubbornness that is very stimulating.
This scenario gives us a more sparkling market and relationships with truer, less schizophrenic players and, above all, more elements to act on, such as for example clarifying the atmosphere of the locker room with a precise ethical code. Among the essential innovations, it should be noted that now also the contracts stipulated with the athletes foresee a very precise development, with varying expectations of minutes over the years. Defining the role of a player in the squad well allows you to be more serene in his management, and avoids sudden stomach ache crises. Similarly, the function of observers in courting any market objectives is much more important, to convince them that they are the right team at the right time in their career.
The feeling is that the high-sounding promises of engagement are only part of the equation, and that the players are much more aware of themselves, their ambitions and the blazon of the teams . Playing the Champions League as a starter in a second-tier team may be more important than playing on the bench in a rich but decayed club in the Europa League, or simply a good club in a more famous league. To convince them you will need to unleash the staff, talk to the press, observe them closely, building credibility and showing real interest. By widening the lens on the simulation of the market in general, however, the situation is even more credible in the past, since the unusual raids of the most powerful clubs have been limited precisely by the conscious turnaround of digital players, who at most are now more attracted by Chinese flattery.
In this highly engaging picture of human relationships, however, the tail light always remains that of the press, whose engine of conferences and interviews remains stuck to old and stale solutions, which in the long run represent more a boredom (and a risk) than a opportunity. After fixing the corporate side, the next goal must necessarily be to reform the media sector , but in the meantime we can only record the immense increase in sentences to provisions and issues to be treated, which is not enough to make us feel contemporary media pressure.
The verdict of the field
On the tactical profile and closely related to the field, the situation is a more complex thread , and it is in this direction that Sports Interactive's efforts will have to focus more efforts. The basic idea is clear: to contrast the domain of Gegenpressing last year by offering greater versatility. The fluidity and management of spaces remain the key point, with the possibility of using asymmetrical modules between the offensive and defensive phase with the utmost taste and creativity . The price to pay, in beta days, was an excessive vulnerability to the counterattack with long ball, super precise game changes by the fifths and the defensive central, with the typical action from band to band by Gasperini sometimes overly abused by some teams. To this slight imbalance is added the recursiveness of some situations, such as offside goals in the millimeter, lack of lucidity in 1 on 1 in the open field and a few bombs from outside the area too.
Disaster and devastation? No not at all. Beyond that the first fixes have already reversed the course, Sports Interactive has recognized the problem and is working to balance a game engine that has profoundly changed in its principles, and that needs a little break-in. Here too, if I compare it with the first version of the game of 2019 and 2018, the situation is more rosy overall, even if, trivially, the past few years the imbalances made the game sensationally easier to start, and therefore there was the impression that everything was going smoother, between a goleada and the other.
This year the matter is more complicated, and there are even more variables to consider when developing a tactic . Among the most evident refinements is the player's personality, which can influence the way he responds to some specific indications. Conflicts are indicated in the player indication panel, and can become serious dysfunctions if not taken into account. In general, placing the players in a favorable context is the new tactical key of Football Manager 202 0, which takes another step towards contemporary football , where principles and spaces are much more important than modules.
As a corollary of the tactical aspects, the game engine has been partially improved from a graphic point of view, with a more decent lighting system and animations that make movements and actions more readable , at the expense of a lightness that could put more configurations in difficulty old. Overall, there are still quite ugly things, such as the deterioration of the pitch, or the look of the stadiums, but the progress, albeit minimal, is equally evident.
After fifty hours of full dedication, Football Manager 2020 is configured as a chapter that draws the sum of the changes introduced in the last two years and that prepares for the future by reiterating that football is never the result of chance and that talent, alone, is no longer enough. If you feel like embracing a technical project in its entirety, however, despite the benches being hotter than usual, many satisfactions await you.