The most legendary dugout sim has dealt with a lot of back and forth when it comes to critics. Some say that it’s too complex and sprawling while others state that it’s too complex because of the depth of being a real sim manager, while some state that the UI is impenetrable. There are even those who state that you have everything you need if you know where to look. When it comes to pretend football like real life, squabbling will smother serious talk, at least until each person agrees that Robbie Savage is a plum.
The main interface is overwhelming for new or even lapsed players. Where there was once team selection, vital stats, and player searches that were only a click a way, not there is a bunch of pie charts, spaghetti junction of digits and words, that are all on a foundation of assumed knowledge where you hit dead ends. The only way for a novice to get in is by doing the key tasks like scouting, training and more to the AI controlled staff members. They will do everything like you would, but it isn’t completely ideal.
Once you have the menus mastered which can take 2-5 hours, you will notice just why everyone praises this game and the deeper features. All of the actions that you do will trigger a domino effect no matter how small they may be. Football Manager is more of a micro manager and even though you will be handling the day to day life of the training grounds, you will notice that it is a new feature and it is quite impressive.
The transfer negotiations are quite fun as well. You will be able to agree on a certain fee for a certain player and you will be able to sit down with their agent and negotiate for their wage, but clauses like fees for being an unused sub and promotion pay rises. It is fun to play around with the middle man as well by upping the target salary to more than requested and then reducing their personal cut. The lower league clubs like penny pinching play a huge part in your long-term success. Think of it this way: signing a major league for a weekly appearance fee can cover the wages of three less popular players.
Match days are just as fun. They are elaborate and even have press conferences, team talks and tactical options that give the appearance that each is a unique occasion. There isn’t the breezing through the weeks anymore. They may be boring to those who skipped a few editions, but it isn’t embedded anymore.
There is a small issue with the match days though. Since its introduction, the 3D engine doesn’t feel like it could be all that it could be when it comes to representing the top level football. Yes, it is passable, but it is quite disappointing.
Football Manager 2016 is still untouchable when it comes to football sims, but the shelf life and the 3D engine chip away the fun of it.