Football Manager 2023

Football Manager 2023 Review

Football Manager 2023 Review


need to know

what is it? The 30th edition of the massive football management sim that loves to kill your time.
expect to pay £45/$60
developer sports interaction
publisher Sega
Reviewed on Windows 10, Ryzen 5 3600, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce3060 Ti; and 2021 Macbook Pro, Apple M1 chip, 16GB RAM
multiplayer game? Yes
associate Official Website(opens in a new tab)

Playing Football Manager has made me a better and more informed football fan. I don’t know the name and trajectory of an upcoming prodigy anywhere else, and it makes me sound cultured when I can tell my mates about a promising new player from the Austrian league. Outside of the Premier League, there is a vast world full of talented players to pick from.

This has never been truer in Football Manager 2023, and if you’re passionate about playing with virtual spreadsheets and trying to bring your small hometown football club into the Champions League, it doesn’t get much better than this.

(Image source: Sega)

I’ve spent 18 years trying to do this. The hyper-realism of Football Manager 2023 allows me to wrap up my work email at 5pm and enter my fantasy email at 6pm. A group of researchers has worked to make the player database as realistic as possible, so learning the game can translate directly into real-world soccer knowledge in a way no other sports simulator can. And, like every other iteration before it, I’m completely hooked.

In Football Manager 2023, I’m a manager, but I’m so much more than that. I’m the head coach, the chief financial officer, the director of football, the whole human resources department and the media relations department. I think José Mourinho actually has less work in Football Manager than I do. Micromanagement can be done your way – I could spend 25 hours on recruiting, scouting, tactical setup, and optimizing training plans, or I could delegate most of the work to behind-the-scenes staff and breeze through the first season In the pre-match, we only deal with recruitment matters.

What’s the trouble with all this?

It’s really overwhelming, and the experience feels almost identical to Football Manager 2022.

It also looks similar to the FM22. I started with 2D on FM05, and the 3D engine has been clumsy since it came out, looking like an iPhone game. FM fans don’t play FM just for the graphics, but not FIFA 23. The sound is also something I don’t think is moving forward. It’s very different from how it sounds on game day – the crowd hum is so inaccurate it’s unbearable. The new UEFA-licensed Champions League song brings a little audio excitement. Mute until you qualify, unmute a game, go back to mute.

There’s a term in the community: “you’ve been FM’d”. No matter what you do, RNG will give you better stats in terms of performance, but will make you lose games. But it happens a lot in real football too – take Leicester winning the Premier League for example. The resulting anger never goes away. The biggest overhaul to the match engine this year is that the AI ​​managers are smarter and will change their tactics throughout the match. Something that makes the game harder and sometimes even more rage-inducing.

(Image source: Sega)

The race engine is a mature beast, and while it changes year after year, the limited number of animations in the 3D engine see little change between games. I got the same stupid red card because my midfielder cut down an attacker from behind with both feet once or twice a season. Still, it feels like football, with your players reacting to every change you make from the sidelines, for better or worse.

Tactically, the new defensive system allows for smarter blocking and formations, especially when using my favorite full-back formation with five backs. New options emerge for offside traps, aggressive transition play and defensive width in crosses. That’s great for a player like me who signs five great new attackers every season while leaving the defense shabby.

But set pieces still feel like lottery tickets, and I’ve always found that messing with corner routines and the like resulted in more goals conceded than goals scored, so I let them default. To save me from downloading corner breaking routines from the Steam Workshop, I’d love to be able to hire a positioning expert and let them figure out what works best for my team.

(Image source: Sega)

I have signed with my club Coventry City and I have been working desperately to bring our core of young talent together. I’m essentially preventing them from furthering their careers and selfishly trying to get them to push the club to the top. When I actually play competitive games — you know, the parts that really test marriage — I’ve been playing for hours and I have a couple of new players to show off to the media. Honestly, the 24-hour news culture of global football revolves around transfers – and that’s my favorite part of FM23.

I think José Mourinho actually has less work in Football Manager than I do.

First, I had to take a look at the new squad planner, but even that has teething problems. I like free agency and the lack of trial players in the latest team depth analysis, so no staff to tell me if these players are better than my current harvest. I’ve done it myself, but it’s frustrating to have to click four extra times on something I used to see in a view. Where the squad planner helps with recruiting is the experience matrix: a one-page sheet about the distribution of age and skill levels in my squad. When experienced players leave and no development or emerging players come in, it’s easy to see what gap I’ll have over a few seasons. That certainly saves snapping up expensive players in their prime.

Then, every transfer window, my head scout called me into recruitment meetings to tell me what was right and what was wrong. Sports Interactive have changed these to better reflect what’s going on in the football world, but I feel like the extra ‘conversation’ and changes in recruiting focus have made the process much longer.

(Image source: Sega)

I’ll miss FM22 meetings that were like: “Here, Alex, look at these great players in positions we’ve been missing. Consider buying some of these.”

A new dynamic timeline is a seemingly small integration, but it will jolt your memory when you dive into long-term preservation. The fun and addictive part of Football Manager is the stories you make up in your head about winning cup finals, discovering new stars and writing legacy. To this day, as I develop him into a Treble-winning player (Nick Smith, I miss you), I can still remember the joy a new generation Dutch midfielder brought me.

choose your own adventure

Picking a club you know makes entry fairly simple, but this exotic football manager requires an extensive database and dives into uncharted territory. The size of the database determines the depth of the game and how far you can go. Choose a size from small, medium or large, or select more leagues and players to import advanced database settings. A bigger database with more players means more bargains to find – don’t forget to load South America. Technically, the game is lightweight, so most PCs can easily run these clunky advanced databases. I also play on my Macbook because the January transfer window is the best companion on trains and planes.

(Image source: Sega)

Mods will come in time to introduce more playable leagues further down the football pyramid system. The Football Manager modding community usually fixes things like real names, missing badges, jerseys and player portraits on day one. These add a little extra immersion that the blank faces and generic badges lack, and are especially useful if you don’t know who the team you’re running on is. There’s a whole bunch of FM players who end up supporting random foreign clubs they run in-game, buying jerseys and even flying abroad to watch “their team”.

No other sports game offers a wider range of challenges that you can set for yourself and play your way using only your imagination. Start from scratch, beat a big man, or just want to dominate the league generation with your favorite team.

If you needed to save the scum to fix the results and continue the 100-game winning streak, you did it. Need to sell 36-year-old kneeless non-league striker to Real Madrid for £100m? certainly. I have nothing against any community member who needs to do this to have fun. I did it when I was younger, but I’m not satisfied anymore.

(Image source: Sega)

New fans will get the ultimate football management/strategy/sim, but may find all the bells and whistles intimidating. Veteran Football Managers won’t feel revolutionary in the game they played last year, but they’ll play it anyway. See also: All the sports games released for the year.

There are intros at the start of each save in an attempt to make FM more beginner-friendly, but if you want to get the hang of the game, you can try the Xbox version, which is coming back to PC via Game Pass. Think of it as a Touch version of the game, now only available on Apple Arcade and Nintendo Switch. It’s a bit like the original Championship Manager 01/02 – tactics, transfers and games at your fingertips. It’s a great introduction to FM before diving into the “full fat” version.

Still, as addicted as the latest version of Football Manager has become to me, I can’t help but feel that Football Manager 24 needs to add something a little more drastic in order to remain relevant. Years of technical debt and an annual release crunch have prevented the Sports Interactive team from launching a new era of their bestseller, which could threaten the game’s long-term growth.

What form that revolution will take is anyone’s guess, but given their dedication to women’s football behind the scenes, they likely have an ace up their sleeve to ensure any future installments start with a bang.

Sports Interactive Football Manager 2023: Price Comparison

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.