As happens every Fall, Football Manager has returned bring with it all the excitement of being an elite football/soccer manager. Football Manager 2016 follows in the wake of multiple years of fantastic installments for the franchise, which has slowly been evolving with additional gameplay and customization elements. And this year is no different, with new enhancements and game modes previously unseen in the franchise.
Create and train the team of your dreams
Football Manager 2016 remains an exemplary sports title – and a benchmark for the genre. This is all thanks to the games wonderful depth and complexity, with its main mode that let you take control of your football team at multiple levels: management, tactical, the minutia of pitch strategies, coaching, and signings.
So, at first glance though it seems that Football Manager 2016 has done little to advanced the franchise, but nothing could be further from the truth. And it doesn’t take long before you start to discover these tangible and interesting improvement.
The most striking new feature is the ability to create a club. Here you must start by selecting a league to join from the game’s database. From this starting point you can personalize everything – personnel, facilities, and even strip - to develop your new team from scratch.
Once you have your club built, it’s time to start constructing your team. The real limit here though is budget: ignoring players who do not interest you while chasing those who can raise your standing and work with your team is a joy. But realistic balance is what’s required, sure you may be able to afford Leo Messi, but if your budget then prevents you buying any other players he isn’t going to get very far alone. It’s a good back and forth that beautifully simulates the problems managers have to tackle in real life.
But, if you are lazy, then you can let Football Manager 2016 randomly assign players. Alternatively, if you want to play god, the Football Manager 2016 will happily let you create your own players and define their parameters.
Once you have configured your club what awaits you is similar to the normal game, but with the experience of having a more personal attachment to your creation.
Besides creating your own club, Football Manager 2016 still has the Challenges Mode and a unique online mode called Fantasy Draft. This builds you a team, and then lets you compete against friends to see who can manage best with limited resources. You know this is football, money is not everything.
Another novelty is the new playmaker. This lets you build numerous plays to create different tactical opportunities, specific moves for each player, new zone labeling options, and much, much more. Realism? Yes, even more.
The decision is yours
Football Manager 2016 still has the same options as always, although in practice this results in endless game menus. Though, luckily with so many personnel in your club, you can delegate many tasks to simplify this a little.
Still, if you continue to feel overwhelmed, Football Manager 2016 does offer one option to make things more simple - a new touch option. Touch mode simplifies things down a little, and also offers support for mobile devices allowing you to game on the go. This way you can continue your game anywhere – letting you ruin your work, home, and social life.
Where Football Manager 2016 has not evolved is in its graphics engine which still looks conspicuously old. Is this a problem? No, not at all, at least I prefer to sacrifice graphics for better playability and depth.
Improving on greatness
Football Manager 2015 was already a very rounded game, but Sports Interactive has shown us that you can always polish a formula that works. Their new game modes and its high degree of customization makes Football Manager 2016 a must for all fans of both sports and strategy games.