Football Manager is a series that has become famous for its consistency, with the game based on a winning concept and layout. But with each new game, there are new elements giving managers a level of control that would have seemed unprecedented a decade ago. Here’s a look at the four most recent installments in the Football Manager series, ranked from best to slightly less good.
4. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2015
FM15 is the grandfather of the most recent games in the series, marking the introduction of a new style of game interface. The transition was jarring for those accustomed to the previous system of navigation in the game, and with any drastic change, there were inevitable teething problems that have since been tackled. The match engine became more visually realistic, while the interactive character elements of the game were expanded from Football Manager 2014.
3. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2016
FM16 built on the interface of its predecessor, and offered the new modes of Fantasy Draft and Create-A-Club. These two modes are interesting twists on the Football Manager concept, and give players a change of pace if desired. The match engine suffered slightly, with players acting less like real footballers and more like FIFA players being operated by a dodgy controller. A reviewer at Gamespot talks of their frustration of taking Burnley to fourth place in the Premier League being undermined by unnatural quirks of the match engine. Still, Football Manager offers the chance to realize incredible achievements and feel like Pep Guardiola; a look at football betting tips at Betsafe will not find many suggesting that Burnley should be backed any longer to make the top four at odds of 200/1. Some criticize the Football Manager series for making unrealistic events transpire, although those critics should be directed to that Leicester Premier League title that felt like a classic Football Manager campaign.
2. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2017
FM17 corrected many of the issues of the match engine, while affording AI manager more tactical aptitude. FM17 also managed to harness all of the new features in the past two installments into far more accessible forms and packages. The introduction of social media is unnecessary, and unnecessarily endures into the newest game; unless you’re going to have people swearing at your management and not have people criticizing a player who just scored a hat-trick, it will never be realistic. However, in almost all other elements, FM17 marked a clear improvement on its younger siblings.
1. FOOTBALL MANAGER 2018
The general trend throughout the entire series is that with each new installment of the game, the experience becomes even more immersive and fulfilling. Some players may pine for the streamlined nostalgia of earlier Football Manager games, but through delegation of staff responsibilities can still focus on the meatier aspects of management such as matches and transfers. But it is definitely better to have the option to complete many different and seemingly small tasks than to have limited control foisted upon you. In FM18, there are so many minor details that combine to make the wider experience extremely gratifying.
There is more tactical freedom than ever before. The addition of player dynamics is slightly clunky, but hints at the level of reality that could be possible in future games. The 3D match engine moves more like real football, and silly quirks of previous games have been ironed out. It is dizzying to contemplate what Football Manager 2019, or Football Manager 2025, will hold.