A longer and more detailed version of the review can be found at the bottom.TLDR
; A lot of improvements over FM14, but some take getting use to. Needs a patch to balance out injuries and tweek the match engine, but easily worth the purchase for fans of the series.
╦╩╦╩╩╦╩╦ Short Version ╦╩╦╩╩╦╩╦Pros:
- Improved match engine.
- More dialogue choices for meetings/players; these conversations have more benefit than previous games (and stuff like tunnel interviews).
- Necessity to adjust tactics against your opponent more frequently (less 1 tactic fits them all style of play).
- Ability to individually train players.
- Transfers (and changes of staff) are more realistic for AI teams.
- Adding benefits to transfers/contracts seem to properly influence negotiations.
- More players (youth in particular) with potential, but less become actual all-stars.
- The interface is much simpler and easier to navigate (except for the Tactics menu) but takes some getting used to.
- 3d engine has occasional glitches during highlights but never anything game breaking.
- Ridiculous amount of injuries.
- Buggy UI elements (example: the view bar under the Tactics screen always reverts after you advance a day) and poor UI color choices (white checkmark text on white background).
- Searching for players/staff doesn't always yield proper results.
- Occasionally shoddy FM logic.
Once you get use to the new interface and adjust to using the new tactics screen FM15 is a big improvement over the last years. I have to admit I found myself frequently making backup saves before international breaks due to the frequency of injuries (losing three key players, one of which is out for 5-6 months is ridiculous) and reloading every so often. The game is definitely a big upgrade compared to the past years FM, and since this is still a beta version of the game, I'm going to accredit most of my gripes to the system not being polished just yet.
Since its beta, I won't be giving this game a score. I recommend this game
to anyone that is a fan of management games and footie.More detailed review (and a couple of tips) follow below.
╦╩╦╩╩╦╩╦ Long Version ╦╩╦╩╩╦╩╦Training
You can now control individual players training. I personally find this very cool and extremely useful. For the players you choose, you are able to set a Focus (which gives you the option to choose an individual role or specific attribute), New Position, and New Preferred Move. For the New Preferred Move category, you basically encourage or discourage a range of things like runs with ball
or plays short passes
. You can have your assistant coach train the rest of the team while you choose individual training for as many or as few players as you like as well.User Interface
It is a lot simpler, though a touch more irritating to navigate. Probably because I'm so use to the other FM layout. As far as aesthetics go, the simplicity is nice. It doesn't feel as cluttered as it did before, but it's a very minimal difference.Scouting/Transfers
More or less seems the same. Really interested in the "scout more to reveal potential ability" concept. It seems to add a bit more potential development to players, but also makes scouting a more worthwhile endeavor.
Transfers pretty much feel the same. If you offer up enough money to a team, they are willing to sell basically any player. My only gripe so far (and bear with me, I haven't put in a lot of time yet) is that it seems like "negotiating" is beating your head against a wall a bit. It feels like there is less actual "negotiating" going on and it's more a game of chance. The biggest improvement here is the influence benefits (winning the league bonus, goal bonus, etc.,) have when offering a contract or making a transfer. While its a bit frustrating sometimes, teams and players logically include benefits in the negotiating process.Squad Line-up/Tactics Screen
I'm not actually liking the new tactics/line up screen. It seems weird to me not instantly seeing how a player does in a particular position after the past FM games (star ratings out of 5 essentially). The little star/circle gauge they use to determine it now doesn't seem to have the specific level of detail the previous one did, but this might just be my lack of use. It's not... bad, but it also doesn't seem like it's an improvement either.In Match Tactics
The tactics overall seem improved compared to last year. They added a few more options under quick tactics and took away one or two (wasn't finding Hassle Opponents, GIMME MY YELLOW CARDS!) but its improved on.
As far as in match playing goes, it suffers from the same problems as the past FM games. While the game itself uses a system that tries to be fair, you'll occasionally run across times where your tactics will just simply refuse to work. I imagine its incredibly difficult to figure out a string of codes that would allow for extremely precise games, but when you are playing a Premier League team and you are playing against a 3rd division Brazilian team, you wouldn't expect your team to only complete 2/3 of their passes, and to shoot 40 times with only 3 on target. That being said, this was expected given the history of Football Manager. I'm not a developer, and I barely know coding, so I cannot imagine how difficult it is to get this system right. It just feels like sometimes there's actually no logic/skill involved. New 3d Engine
It's nice. I can't really complain about it, but I was never really one to watch every second of every game either. For highlights I found myself using it more often than for actual gameplay, but that's just me. It looks decent enough (think PSX FIFA) and seems to function well, so there's really nothing to gripe about. Everyone will get their own level of use out of it, but it's a nice improvement.Random Notes/Observations
For FMC, you can now select more than 3 leagues. Granted it does make the game run a bit slower, I personally am very grateful for them to remove the limit.
Seems like there are more actual player pictures (particularly in Spain and Holland).
There seems to be an abundance of injuries this year. Not so much on the club level for myself (I hired a Physio by the name of Filé who has 20 Fitness and 20 Physiotherapy whose seemed to prevent most injuries for me) but on international breaks. At LEAST 2 players come back injured, usually one first team and one reserve team player.
This might just be an issue for myself but it seems like half of the stats of Staff personnel don't display when you open them up. The whole right side of stats (Judging Player Ability/Potential, etc.) doesn't display the actual numbers for me. I had to compare the staff member with someone else as a work around. Bit annoying, but it's easy to manage.Concluding Comments
Overall I'm pretty happy with FM15. Granted the majority of people purchase these games just for the updated clubs and all that, but the game has a lot of potential as always. I'm personally a bigger fan of FMC than I am the more "traditional" FM, but they both have been improved on fortunately. If you've played Football Manager before and didn't enjoy it, this one isn't going to make you love it anymore than the past ones. For vets of the series, and fans of management games though, this is definitely a step in the right direction.