Football Manager 2021 - PC Version Review

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Jason R. Rich

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Another year, another race! The classic annual appointment with Football Manager has come, with the boys of Sports Interactive who have tried, once again, to improve their beloved product, without upsetting it, in order to guarantee a better gaming experience and above all more immersive.

With Football Manager 2021, all fans of the most beautiful sport in the world will finally be able to go back to doing what, weekly, is done from their home sofas: the coach. An always tempting opportunity, as well as complete, to vent your creativity and management skills, to bring your team to the top of the world, be it a top Serie A team, or a group of carpenters from a lower Swedish division.

And now let's put on a jacket and tie, or a nice Maurizio Sarri-style suit and let's throw ourselves into a new and exciting enterprise. Will the developers be able to polish what undermined the quality of the videogame and simulation experience of the last chapter? Let's go and find out!

You are the center!

The main intent was to give a new level of immersion to all those who want to try their hand at this new chapter of the series. Starting first from the interpersonal relationshipsbe it with colleagues from the technical staff, players or the press. The latter has never been satisfactory in recent years, with an almost pathological lack of credibility, as well as involvement.

To accomplish all this, the developers focused mainly on a key figure of the title: Tu. Because you, the coach, the manager are the fulcrum of the whole system and while last year we thought about a greater management of transfers, development and training, this year instead we have been made available several new features, in in such a way as to make us feel at the center of the entire ecosystem.

The goal is also to be able to best express our personality and game idea, together with an interface with the staff able to build the foundations of our team in the present, but above all for the future.

With regard to this we have already partially introduced the discourse relating to interpersonal relationships, which will be further expanded later, but deserve an adequate analysis also the new match interface, in which we will have the opportunity to enjoy every single action even more thoroughly, thanks to a revised UI and a qualitatively improved game engine, both in purely aesthetic terms and animations.

To this we go to a great pre and post game analysis, in such a way as to allow us access to a wealth of information, as well as to be able to adjust our line-up or tactical dictates accordingly, never seen before.

The key is always communication

Let's go more specifically into what represents the point of greatest change in the title at the end of the games: the comunication.

This has been completely revised in almost every aspect, depending on who are the entities we are going to confront. Much work has been done with the print, with which we will always be in close contact, going to be involved, even graphically, in real conferences, in which we will be asked questions by individual journalists and to which we will have to answer, also choosing the way in which a given sentence is actually communicated.

Although this set turns out to be actually more immersive, we always find ourselves in front of the same historical defects of that functionality, that is a constant mix of trivial questions, mixed with possible answers on the same level, without even this time being able to bring out one of the truly aspects. important in the life of a coach, almost relegating it to being, for some, a potential waste of time.

Instead, what we see to be more functional and above all more accurate, better able to express what we really intend to communicate, is the relationship with our players. This happens in the classic moments during the match, whether before taking the field, at half-time or at the end of the match, but also through the so-called "Quick Chat".

In other words, moments of rapid exchange of information, in which we will resolve some perplexities or motivate them, replacing personal interactions present in the previous chapters, which left the time they found, giving space instead to a more immediate and gratifying structure.

I need a full back

Even the interactions with staff and management show a significant improvement, having been as for the press an aspect made partially marginal, being able to connect better with them and propose our ideas more effectively.

With the new interface, we will have clearer requests from the management, with the possibility of discussing all the salient points one by one, being able to say our opinion and trying, where necessary, to change their minds to the upper floors. To this must be added the discourse relating to the market, in which we will communicate the weak sections of the squad for us, depending on our tactical alignment, bringing to light the gaps that we will necessarily have to solve, or strengthen in the long term.

We also find it was a much more than appreciable insertion to be able to communicate in this way to our observers and to the sports director, indicating the individual roles, given our tactics, in which we urgently need, specifying the ideal characteristics for our technical project. This replaces one of the main problems of the previous chapters, where scouting had been made much more laborious and complicated, partly affecting the overall experience.

Everything at your fingertips

Sweet note of the production is the considerable reinterpretation of the game engine, going to characterize more the players on the screen, enriching them with animations capable of increasing the simulation behind the progress of the games.

The reconstruction of the user interface also succeeds in an attempt to be more functional and rapid, allowing us to make, for example, tactical or strategy changes more quickly, but above all it allows us to keep all the fundamental aspects of the progress of the match under control. Whether this is the performance or the condition of our players, up to the statistics, we will always be ready to observe every detail, even to the advice of our collaborators, to be able to take home the victory.

The result is an aspect that is certainly also influenced by the new interaction with the players, through a communication system that differs widely from the classic canons of "furious, worried, enthusiastic, balanced or happy", but instead going to represent us in first person we ask ourselves, we gesticulate and consequently we relate to them when we choose a single affirmation.

What is interesting about it is hiding the phrases that are potentially less suited to the approach we have chosen, to avoid possibly unrealistic situations, canonical in the past, in which we could address with phrases with totally opposite meaning to the selected tone.

Together with this feature, definitely not negligible, we have been made available an even more accurate management of the match, which starts even before taking the field, with specific and accurate analyzes, going to show us where our opponents could change their approach, or in what they usually propose, in order to be able to build a strategy aimed at our final victory.

In this, the careful choice of staff, from the match analyst to the second coach, will be key in the long term, to find the hidden pitfalls and find solutions suitable for every occasion.

Final Comment

Are we therefore facing a revolutionary chapter? Definitely not, probably not even in the face of improvements that make us tear our hair or cry out for a miracle. But at the same time we have an enriched experience in our hands, able to make us enjoy a football season worthy of the name.

The new interactions with the press are not actually satisfactory, while we personally found the new way of being able to relate with our players and above all the observers very interesting, significantly improving a system that we considered unintuitive and effective in the previous chapters.

In conclusion we would like to recommend the title, but only if passionate lovers of the game of ball and especially if you do not approach F with that desire and craving for upheaval, for something that can be effectively defined as "new", because you will not find it.

Certainly there are interesting news, as you have been able to read so far, but nothing that we can define "Game Changing" or that can totally define a new path to follow, but you will surely find some ideas able to make you enjoy the hundreds and hundreds of hours that you will use to bring your team, whatever it is, to the roof of the world.

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