Let me begin by telling you: if you are a looking for a game to kick back, relax and have fun with for an hour after work in the evening, then Football Manager 2015 is not for you.
Sports Interactive’s latest release of their life consuming football management simulation is immersive and detailed to the extreme. So much so, that it is widely used in the professional game, with the full timers utilizing the extensive player databases for their own research.
Let me be completely honest with you, this game stresses me out. Letting a computer game effect your emotions so much might sound silly to the uninitiated, but I’m sure there are plenty of hardened virtual managers who are nodding along while reading this.
I found myself thinking about my chosen team (Northampton Town) while going about regular day to day business. Which players can I buy? How can I convince my want away striker to stay? Why won’t the board agree to upgrade my youth facilities? The game is like a full time job.
The team at SI have truly produced a perfect football management simulation. Although they do seem to have traded realism and true to life frustrations for a lot of the fun.
The stress to fun ratio while playing the game is about 80:20. Yep, it really is that vexing at times. I was going really well with my un-fancied Northampton side down in League Two. I was in and around the play-offs at around Xmas time, but suddenly and without any perceivable reason, I started to concede a veritable shit tonne of goals. Right through January and February, I was shipping just under 4 goals per game and I just cannot for the life of me stem the tide of concession.
I’m 33 and am not ashamed to admit that I have been whining a lot to myself, cursing my luck and verbally abusing the game. “Just give me a f*cking break!!!” …..the game never refuses to listen. (It would be weird if it did in fairness).
I’ve asked myself “Why are playing this when you’re not even enjoying it?”
I can’t provide a rational answer; I just want to keep playing.
The game could do without a lot of the padding. Some might enjoy the media/interviews side of the game, but to me it became tedious and repetitive very quickly, an opinion that is echoed by many others if the comments on various FM fan forums are anything to go by.
Player interaction also rapidly drifts toward the banal – having the exact same conversation with 5 recently transfer listed players is a complete pain in the arse. The emotional control on team talks is a bit of a puzzler too, I don’t think anything you say REALLY makes that much of a difference on the outcome of proceedings.
I think potential enjoyment of Football Manager 2015 comes down to what you want out of it. Sports Interactive provide a game that is exactly as advertised. It is a hugely immersive, complicated simulation. If you have the time and enthusiasm to throw yourself fully in, you won’t be disappointed, however it certainly isn’t for the casual gamer. I don’t think the folks at SI would have it any other way.
3.5 out of 5