Football Manager 14 Beta – First Thoughts

The real-world football season is a couple of months old but we’ve all waited patiently to get our hands on the rough copy, the beta of FM14, and on Wednesday, a day earlier than I expected it, it was finally available to download to those who had pre-ordered the full game.

Well, my FM14 journey didn’t start very well. In fact the beta crashed about five minutes in to my first game.

BUT after I loaded again it was fine until I tried to use a new facepack!

Ah well it’s fine now…

The interface looks bare at first but is livened ten-fold with a facepack and official logos that give its peaky appearance some colour. Not a lot has changed but the font seems slightly bigger.

Lack of windowed mode In the beta you cannot play the game in windowed mode unless you reduce font size to 75%. I’m sure this will be fixed for the full game. Still, it’s a major issue which has been neglected so far.

The match engine seems sluggish but not annoyingly so, the 3D is more 3D, still there isn’t an obvious major evolution.

The way the ball goes past the goalkeeper when goals are scored often looks very strange as if it’s gone through his fingers. This happens too much to reflect the unpredictability of how goals are really scored.

match preview fm14

FM 14 match preview screen

match preview fm13

FM13 match preview screen

Easier to analyse opponent pre-match In the pre-match screen you’re shown a predicted starting formation and line-up of your opponent with a gold star next to their best player, someone you should pay special attention to. Unless it’s an important one-off match I must admit I usually do minimal research on my next opponents so this pre-match screen saves you time. Sports Interactive have revealed CPU-controlled managers will use more creative tactics on FM14 than previous editions and work to impede you if they know your usual game plan. This means you’ll have to also take time to tailor your game plan to ensure you’re not at a disadvantage.

Moreover, a few days before your next match, your assistant will show you some information, such as the formation your opponent struggles most when facing. So if this is a formation your team are familiar with it’d be wise to use it!

Shown opponent’s players’ current match rating during a match whereas in FM13 we were shown our own team. I don’t know if you can change this as I used to find it useful seeing which of my players were underperforming as I could make substitutions as soon as I felt necessary.

Bug spotting Some unfortunate FM14 beta players have experienced an issue where their goalkeeper walks with the ball in his hands in to his own net scoring an own goal.

One problem I have faced, possibly a bug, is where opponents’ players score from crosses. This has happened too often to be coincidence. In my case it happened twice in my first four games on FM14.

I haven’t played even 10 games yet however it does seem it’ll be harder to pick up wins with the game demanding you put even more consideration in to how you set up your team and prepare to take on opponents than ever. I don’t think it’ll be possible to be successful without putting in that extra research on your next opponent’s weaknesses and strengths.

It’s a positive thing though, because we’ll be forced to become experts at every aspect of the game: man management, training, tactical planning, youth development, scouting and much more.

Stay tuned for an overview of my Hangzhou squad and send any feedback to me on Twitter @footymanagermad

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