FM15 features review

AS WITH most new video/ PC games, the thing I look forward to the most is the chance to explore a brand new model.

Everything is new and exciting even if the main difference is the way it looks.

I can’t wait to delve in to FM15’s new database and see what hidden gems there are, which players suit my play style, who is a bargain buy…

I’m looking forward to the learning curve that challenges me each year. How long will it take me to win a trophy? Hopefully not as long as in FM14.

I tend to play Football Manager very differently to how I live my life. As a virtual manager, I jump in with abandon, resign without fear, venture in to new territories on a whim and tell my boss where to go.

In FM15 I’ll probably spend six real-time months sussing out the new game and working out what I want to achieve. My favourite and most successful save in FM14 is my current and probably last save, with Newcastle United.

In previous saves I’ve become frustrated quickly, had no patience with my players and feared defeat so much I’ve created toothless tactics and struggled to play with threat and creativity.

What I’m saying is, I think I’ll know early on in FM15 what I need to do to really immerse myself in to a particular career, but I don’t know where I’ll start yet.

New user interface

home screen

The new layout on the home screen in FM15 seems more user-friendly and intuitive. Everything seems to be available at a single click of your mouse whereas in FM14 we had to use sub-menus to find tactics and finances, etc.

It looks similar to my current home screen so I should find it easy to pick up where I left off.

There is also a Google-esque search bar which I think has been desperately needed. The current search I find too small and it can be awkward to use.

Overall, it looks like FM15 will be easier to navigate and this means you can spend time doing what’s important, playing matches.

Management styles

screen

This is one the new features I think will be a real hit with everyone who plays the game although I don’t think anyone’s entirely sure what effect it has.

We all have preferences on how hands on we like to be with our players and maybe more importantly, I’m sure we all have an image in our head of the sort of manager we’d be if our dream came true.

In FM15 we can be more of a Tracksuit Manager or a Tactical Manager.

Personally, I like to step back a bit, put trust in my team to carry out my instructions and to make the right decisions, so I’ll most likely choose tactical 90% of the time.

Nevertheless, it is possible this choice of managerial style could be a gimmick. Does it really have an effect on the way players see you and will it make any difference to your team’s performances?

It could just be that it’s a way to label the way we delegate training in the game. Do we choose the training focus before each game or allow an assistant to take charge? In this case I’d probably be a tracksuit manager.

Match engine revamp (“most significant improvements since 2009”)

outside of foot control

Outside of the foot control – will it make any difference?

Sports Interactive, the makers of Football Manager, have finally chosen to use motion capture data so players will hopefully now make more authentic movements, strike the ball with expert technique (presumably as long as they’re quality players – might be disappointing if amateurs have the perfect Ronaldo freekick taking skill) and goalkeepers will dive across the goal realistically (no superman saves?).

Goalkeepers’ kicks look more natural and this sort of thing will surely add to the experience.

Apparently the ball moves closer to how it would in real life. This should be fantastic and who knows, we might even see proper ball curve this year. Maybe not though.

Honestly, improving the look of the match engine was never in my top five desired improvements, but if it stops ridiculous saves and makes players move more authentically, I’m all for it.

Tactics Overview

tactics screen

The new tactics screen has benefited from a makeover. It seems more intuitive now, less rigid. Hopefully this is reflected in the football played on the pitch.

In the screenshot above players seem to be placed in asymmetric positions so maybe we’ll be able to fine-tune how our players fit in to our system more than ever before.

Without the rigidity of the positions we’ve had to stick to before it could take some getting used to.

I will say I love the look and colours used in this area of the game. I believe the green circles with stars in the middle represent how comfortable a player is playing in their currently designated role. It will fill all the way around if they’re totally comfortable.

New player roles

Thanks to samdiatmh on the sigames forums for summarising the new roles:

Roaming playmaker: Heartbeat of team, drives forward, spearheading attacks, helps out defensively. Offers passing option. Must have high physicals. Picks up ball deep and works ball forwards with urgency. Camps on edge of area looking for shot/ killer-ball

Raumdeuter: Find pockets of space to operate. Takes up harmless positions out wide, waiting for the opportunity to shoot/cross. Difficult to mark due to drifting. No defensive duties

Inverted wingback: Functions defensively like a normal wing back, but cuts inside and runs through the centre of the pitch, acting primarily as a CM while attacking

Wide playmaker: Teams primarily source of creativity. Drifts inside to find space to play the killer ball. Just clogs up space defensively. Sits as a CM while attacking and main creator”

I’ve wanted the opportunity to use wingers in my tactical set-up for at least a year now. I believe in FM13 I had great success using El Shaarawy and Robinho at AC Milan as supporting wingers in AML and AMR positions, however, in FM14, I’ve found that anyone who plays there tends to put every cross in to the side-netting and is extremely easy to force towards the corner flag where the winger invariably kicks the ball out of play.

On the other hand, complete wing backs have been brilliant for me, mainly due to their willingness to advance past the opponent’s full back and burst in to the box to score. Their crossing is only usually effective from deep though. Crossing is something I desperately hope is improved in FM15.

This brings me on to the new role, the Raumdeuter.

Another guy, Jayahr, on the SI forums said this of the above role:

“Having watched the FM15 feature video I was quite surprised to see that the ‘Raumdeuter‘ was made a tactical role in the new FM.

I believe that this term is not really understandable because it is no real life tactical term. Therefore the term should be abolished in favour of another one for the same role.

The term ‘Raumdeuter‘ is used only in relation to one single player, Thomas Müller. It relates to his personal abilities and styles of play. ‘Deuter’ also doesn’t mean ‘investigator’ as I believe was indicated in the video footage, but rather interpreter (not translator, of course). It’s an almost poetic description opf Müller’s qualities to see and exploit spaces which others never realized as existing. Therefore it is very tied to Müller as a person.

To the contrary it does not relate to a tactical role and I have never heard of anybody, journalist, manager or fan, who used the term as an explanation for tactical behaviour in general or of anybody else than Müller. It is a nickname much more than anything else.

Didn’t Miles translate the role as being a ‘wide poacher’ in the video? I think that term may be spot on and understandable to a lot more people.”

If the above gentleman is correct, well, I’m sure we’d all love to try to re-create Thomas Muller in our teams.

I’m not sure the Raumdeuter is the wide attacker I was hoping for though.

I want a player who gets involved in the build up play more, runs from deep, and gets in to the box with the intention of assisting my striker or midfielders. I want someone who will cause havoc in the opposition’s defence but the Raumdeuter sounds a bit like a lone wolf.

Wide playmaker

I like the idea of experimenting with a 4-4-2 in FM15. I want to put my own slant on the formation, using flair players who can cross and create great goalscoring chances from the flanks.

I imagine the wide playmaker as someone more intelligent than your average winger.

Someone like David Silva, this player will use the space out wide to his advantage, he won’t run up and down the wing all game but he’ll choose his moments to break in to channels where he’ll be hard to pick up.

Scouting

You can now search for players who are unhappy at their club potentially making it easier to sign them. I’m sure this will be popular with the bargain hunters among us and it could even throw up a few surprises, e.g. a player you’ve always admired might want to leave his current club.

Apparently, scouting reports are more detailed too, so we should find it easier to decide if a player is up to the task.

There are plenty more new features to discover, like post-match interviews in the ‘tunnel’, and encouraging a player to put himself in the ‘shop window’ so you can sell them.

Better to find out what they’re like first-hand so let’s hope Friday, October 24 (and the beta release) comes around without delay!

Please follow me on Twitter @fmscrapbook for further articles, including a review of the Football Manager 2015 beta, shortly after it is released.

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