Football Manager 2013 Review: The Special One


Each year across the entire globe, millions flock to their local games shops or digital retailers to purchase the latest installment in the Football Manager series. Many 'outsiders' question why we're 'buying the same game as last year', but that's a rude and to be honest, poor interpretation and analysis on the game. I'm not a massive fan of 'The Sims' and to the uneducated eye, the same could be said but the fans go back because little by little, their game is slowly forming into a gaming masterpiece. Why buy an expansion of 'The Sims' when you can the original game? Why buy FM13, if the 'core' game is similar to FM12? It's simple. This year SI Games have really pulled it out of the bag. I've been a fan of the football management sim for more years then I care to own up to, ever since I sat down with my PS1 and played a game with Kevin Keegan on the front cover. I fell in love with the idea of actually being involved in my own club's misfortunes or glories in a different way to just being a spectator. The series has come a long way since the split from Championship Manager and I feel SI Games lost their way a little with FM12: there were too many game breaking bugs to start with and the network offering was poor at best. But Football Manager 2013 is the proverbial rabbit out of Si's enormous hat. The developers did a great job in generating huge levels of hype this year, helped partly by the series of video blogs made by Miles Jacobson, studio director at SI Games. They released a beta version of the game two weeks ago (available to those who pre-purchased the game), followed soon after by the demo a week before release - this is all very well, but it's a risky strategy if your game falls flat on its face, but luckily FM13 stands tall and proud. Delving into my first game on the full version of FM13 I'm struck by how clean and clear the user interface is: SI have done away with the optional skins you can use as a background, but I only noticed this when having a play with the various settings. The game is fully customisable too, with the information being displayed on each screen fully in your hands. After all, you're the football manager so it's quite right that with time being a precious commodity, you can maximise your time in-game. To help this a variety of new roles within each club have been created, to allow you to effectively delegate tasks you're not interested in or simply have no time for. The Head Scout can run your scouting program for you and ensure your scouts are always busy and the Head of Youth Development can oversee your under 18s squad. This leads nicely onto the role of 'Dictator of Football', sorry I mean Director... Much has been made of the role in real life and whether it's a help or hindrance to club managers - after all who knows what really goes on behind the scenes? The answer is, you do. In FM13 the Director of Football will work tirelessly for you to help with the day to day tasks that have frustrated you in the past. He'll handle the transfers of those big name signings and even try to offload those troublesome and temperamental players who are disrupting dressing room harmony, but only if you want them to. I found that it was incredibly useful letting him find clubs for my youth players to go out on loan to, as in previous games you would often have no one come in for them (in real life Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would attract a host of offers but in FM12 no one picked up the phone to call me). Speaking of the loan system, rather than getting a huge sum of money as an up front loan fee (I once got £4.5million for Affelay just as a loan fee) you now pay a monthly fee which I feel is more realistic. By far the most talked about feature of the new Football Manager series however is the new Classic and Challenge modes. The latter offers you various scenarios to test your footballing brain, giving you a team who are rooted at the bottom of the table, or a bunch of kids who couldn't possibly win anything, or could they? These offer a nice break away from the main game and are designed to push you to the limit as well as offer up a smaller helping of the full game. We are told more scenarios will be released in the not too distant future, but currently there are four available which should be more than enough for the time being. Click next to read our assessment of the new Classic Mode, as well as our full scoring break-down of Football Manager 2013...

Arsenal fan of 20yrs+, theatre company owner, gaming geek and avid Pokemon Go master! Based in Northants, I'll always try to give my own brand of unbiased thoughts and feelings!