Football Manager 2015 quick review – the pleasure and the pain

FM15 is finally available in BETA form and not a day too soon. I believe it became available last Thursday around 17:30 GMT so we’ve had a weekend or so to test it out, find out what’s overpowered (crossing) and what’s a bit clueless (goalkeeping?).

We’ve also discovered a few things we really like and some we like less so.

It’s ironic for me crossing should be something people are going mad for. Getting the ball wide and then in to the box seems the best way to score on the BETA while crossing was ridiculously poor, in my opinion, in FM14 (maybe they listened to us but went a bit overboard).

Although I couldn’t wait to start playing FM15, the experience has, so far, been 40% brand new excitement and 60% frustrating I-got-what-I-wanted-for-Christmas-but-it’s-Boxing Day-and-I-still-can’t-figure-out-how-to-work-it.

I was well in the swing of an FM14 save when the BETA was released so I wanted to jump straight in to a career and get the same level of enjoyment from it.

It was too much to expect though. Football Manager is a LEARNING CURVE more than anything else.

You have to learn what team/ player instructions are effective and get the right players for your tactics and philosophy. There are so many variables in FM it takes a lot of molding and tender loving care before you hit your stride (for most of us, anyway).

If it was as easy as 1. you pick your team 2. you send them out on the pitch and 3. they win every game 5-0, you’d stop playing after less than a few hours.

This is why I sometimes frown on people who rely on things like wonderkid lists and other people’s tactics.

It’s so important that the FM community or Football Manager Family help each other out, discuss ideas, and share knowledge, but you get so much more satisfaction if you create a working tactic or find a great unknown player yourself.

Maybe you could be the pioneer instead.

If anyone I know seems to be getting to grips with the new game it’s @jlaspey.

He’s been trying out a alternative asymmetric 4-4-2 formation with Real Madrid. I’d suggest choosing a good team in your first career so you can get an idea of how the new roles should be executed.

Things can be murky in the lower leagues and if you’re not experienced, you could get lost, as it might seem your players are reading off a completely different tactics whiteboard to you!

The more I play FM15 the more I’m starting to think Sports Interactive, the company that makes the games, have taken on board the criticism from so many who have given up on the game, that it’s getting too complicated, less fun.

FM15 seems, so far, a little more back to basics. The way it looks is arguably more user-friendly, possibly more attractive to a younger audience, and I think it gives every fan of the game the opportunity to play the game how they want to and still be successful on the virtual pitch.

Let me tell you what I like and dislike about the game so far:

 

Things I like:

  • spectacular goals
  • clearer match interface, player outlines are clearer
  • easier to see who’s at fault for mistakes due to better graphics
  • in-game team talk: the more control I can have the better. A little word in my player’s ear during the game should really help
  • players look a bit more realistic and it’s easier to see what they’re doing
  • In-game menu boxes are nice and big making clicking on the right thing easier
  • quality seems to show in results: no ridiculous/ random-seeming losses against lesser teams
  • things haven’t changed too much
  • I’ve heard people say the user interface is technically slow but it actually feels considerably quicker-moving for me
  • the new fake club logos look really cool, much improved on last year’s
  • after a bit of getting used to the new user interface I think experienced FM players will find they’re spending more time doing the important things like playing matches and adjusting tactics and training than finding ones way around stupid distractions
  • the circles that tell us how comfortable a player is in a position/ role are more a guide giving us freedom whereas on FM14 a player could either play there or not – and to see the circular bar fill would surely be satisfying
  • everything seems bigger, brighter and thus clearer for example below:
formation

The overall view is much cleaner and takes things back to basics

new 433

SQUEEZE: as much as I like the old design, there’s a lot going on and things seems squeezed on

 

Things I dislike:

  • the game seems to favour direct play at the moment
  • defenders are too easily outpaced, many look like they’re running through quick sand.
  • the sidebar on the ‘home’ screen looks a bit blocky
  • press conference questions are too detailed and too many
  • I’m not very good yet
  • players’ arms look a bit weird (like squeezed out tubes of toothpaste)
  • despite having ex-international footballer experience even semi-pro players lack respect and some are argumentative (tone it down, please)

I’m going to get on with another career now while I search for a club that suits me down to the ground. I’ll be back soon hopefully with an article on how to defend in Football Manager 2015. Until then, follow me on twitter @fmscrapbook.

Goodbye!

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