An excellent football simulation that disappoints us
The Football Manager 2023 is once again an excellent football simulation, but still disappoints in the test. What’s behind it?
The year 2022 could have been so nice for football fans. The last FIFA was really convincing at the end, with Anstoss a beloved football manager series celebrates its comeback after 16 years and the Football Manager from Sega and Sports Interactive is convincing every year anyway
All is well after all
Although the introduction sounds quite dramatic, Football Manager 2023 is not a bad game. It’s not a bit worse than its grandiose predecessors, which captivated millions of players year after year.
In essence, you can expect exactly the same game as in the years before: an incredibly comprehensive management simulation that lets you fulfil all the tasks of head coach and sports director down to the smallest detail.
You take over a team of your choice, buy and sell players and meticulously plan training, tactics and moves down to the smallest detail. Of course, only if you want to, because you can also let the co-trainer and other AI assistants take over almost all tasks and download well-functioning tactics from the Steam Workshop if you feel overwhelmed by the dozens of different tasks and setting options.
This all still works brilliantly, as old tactical foxes we immediately lost ourselves in hours of statistics analysis, scouting and hair-trigger tactics options again. After all, it takes a lot of work to lead the cash-strapped Rot-Weiß Essen from the 3rd Bundesliga to the German championship. And yes, if you love Football Manager anyway, the old familiar gameplay loop is just as much fun again as it was in previous years.
New features? No way!
Of course, it’s not enough to rest on the core that has been almost perfected over the years. As an annual title, Football Manager, just like FIFA, has to be measured by the number of its innovations and improvements. And in this respect, it becomes noticeably problematic this year. With each new version, so-called headline features come into play, i.e. mechanics and improvements touted by the developers as major innovations. But these are so marginal this year that we are simply disappointed. But first things first.
The squad planner wants to be THE big innovation. A screen to help us shape our squad for the next three seasons doesn’t sound wrong at first. In practice, however, the thing turns out to be mostly a repackaged squad view in which we can now also add players from our watch list. You can use it, but you can also leave it alone. In practice, we only occasionally took a look at the experience matrix, which quickly shows us where all our players currently stand in their development. But even this info we could have gathered almost as quickly in the screens we already had.