Wednesday, 29 November 2017 10:59

REVIEW: Football Manager 2018 (PC)

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Football Manager 2018 is the latest iteration of a franchise that has been around in some form or another since the early 90’s. This is a game for only the most hardcore of Football (Soccer for us Aussies) fans.

Let me explain with my take on this very in-depth and sometimes complex management sim.


As the name suggests, you are a football manager. You get to manage EVERY aspect of your football team as they go through the highs and lows of the football season. Now I say EVERY aspect because on just about every screen, there is, what seems to be a hundred different options to manage. And this can seem overwhelming.

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For those new to the series, every menu screen in FM has its own set of yellow circles that can be toggled on or off to help guide you through the hundreds of different options and aspects related to managing your team. Whilst these features are great for the new players to the franchise, FM18 also needs to give its existing players a reason to upgrade.

FM18 has not just deepened the series with more customisation and options, but has also added a new item called Dynamics. This Dynamics add-on details how players interact and relate to each other and you as the manager. You also have the team leaders that can control the mood in the dressing room. Be sure to treat them well or you could be in for rude shock.

The Dynamics system is a little hit and miss if you ask me. Sometimes it seems to make some kind of a different and other times... Nothing. The problem here I believe is perhaps the limited responses available to you when conversing with your team. This restricts what you can say and makes it harder than it needs to be to keep moral up.

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Another big change is to the scouting department. You now more options with budgets, reports and more advanced filters. Scouts will also show you an overall rating out of 100 in addition to the existing 5-star system. This makes it much easier to make decisions during the bidding process.

With a scouting database of over 700,000 officials, players & coaches from thousands of clubs and teams, this would have to be the most comprehensive collection of data there is. So understandably with this much data, it can sometimes become overwhelming when going through the scouting process.

As you dig in to this vast database, the “next-level” realism starts to shine through. Say you find some teenage prodigy, you groom them, teach them and do all you can to get them ready for the big time. But thanks to the realism baked in to FM18, they turn out to have leadership issues or just simply want to go home and never make it through.

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Of course FM2018 also has those fake, generated players to replace the real ones as they retire or get hurt etc. Realism comes back into the limelight here as it is possible that your generated player may come out as gay. Depending on how you handle this as a manager will affect moral, public relations and even revenue.

One of the problems though is the lack of womens footballers. EA made this move with FIFA, but I am sure womens football will make it to FM sooner or later.

Graphically, while FM18 has a new engine, it is still far inferior than anything on the market today or even yesterday. In saying that, FM is not about that. It is about team management and the intricacies of the behind-the-scenes action required to make your team great. There are still bugs in the menu system especially in some cases where there is no clear indication of what you are supposed to do next, but I am hopeful these smaller things will be fixed in patches.

I can see that effort was made in introducing Dynamics and adding to the scouting module, but there is little to entice players of previous iterations to move to FM18. The biggest problem is that with all this information at your fingertips, there may be too much. Maybe an option to change the game to a more simplified play style may have helped, but I can only image how much work would be involved for the developers.

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It is easy for me to sit here behind my keyboard and judge, but I can see the amount of work that has gone into creating such an in-depth management sim is phenomenal. With no real competition in its genre, it could become easy to stagnate or become complacent and perhaps that is partly what is happening here.

Look, for what it’s worth, I do like the game but it is not without its own issues. This is a game that presents a world of full immersion in to Football management. It is a game that requires commitment and time to really dig in and find what it has to offer. This is not a FIFA or PES and nor does it try to be. If you have the time to invest in FM18, you will gain a sense of fulfilment by guiding your team to greatness and finding those rough players and moulding them in to all-stars. If you don’t have time or are not perhaps a dedicated Football fan, maybe this isn’t for you.



Additional Info

  • Review Score: 3.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Nov 10, 2017
  • Platform: PC
  • Age Rating: E
  • Developer: Sports Interactive
  • Genre: Simulation