Football Manager 2010 Demo Impressions

Posted by WhenYourGodGivesYouLemons On 1:37 PM

Oh glorious day, the demo for the hotly anticipated football management game Football Manager 10 has been released. Fans of the Sports Interactive series can head on over to Steam to pick up the demo which lets you play as a team from a variety of European nations like England, Scotland, France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Norway. By now we all know the drill with these demos, you select your team from the quick starts section which selects only one playable nation and all it's leagues. You are then given six months in the game world to test out all the new features SI has put together and then if you wish when purchase the game you can load up that save and keep playing. I'll warn you now to experience some delay with your download because the servers are pretty damn full with people trying to get their hands on this.

So first things first the most obvious upgrade on this edition is a complete interface overhaul. It now seems pretty standard with each new edition of FM to have a completely new skin and interface design. This year they've gone with a largely bright white colour scheme which makes everything far easier to view. Also the sidebars full of links to your training and tactics screens are gone and instead they have been moved to the top of the screen. This makes the interface far less cluttered but requires some getting use to as you need to rediscover where all the features have gone. One interface issue I did have was with the matchday screen. There are tabs for the match stats, analysis and tactics but when you click on the tactics tab nothing happens. This was really annoying in my first game as I just assumed I clicked on that to make my substitutions, turns out though the link is located in the Match Control tab which also contains the Match Speed and Replay options. For the most part I like the new interface, it's easy to read, fairly easy to navigate and just makes everything look nicer and a little bit more 'professional'.

Anyway now that's out of the way I can discuss what you really want to know, what's it like to actually manage your team in Football Manager 10? Well the answer is, easier and a whole lot more fun. I have always failed at creating my own tactics in FM games, I can just never get it right but that has changed in FM 10. Creating your own tactic is now far easier than before, you just go into the tactic screen and click on the pitch display. That brings up a whole range of headings like philosophy and starting strategy which you can alter. This tactics screen is split into basic tactics, the default screen, and advanced tactics which displays width and defensive line. When operating in the basic setting each component is explained when you click on it and how changing it to something else will affect the way your team plays. It is very helpful when trying to formulate your own strategy and you want to know what settings work well with others. This explanation then extends to player roles. Selecting one of the jerseys on the pitch brings up the individual instructions for that position regardless of whether someone is selected for that position at the time. It explains the difference between setting a defender as a full back or wing back in the basic mode and once again if you hit advanced it shows sliders for making forward runs, crossing position etc. This whole set up makes tactic creation less overwhelming than ever before and makes the game far more accessible for any new comers.

The new Backroom Advice section is also very helpful. When you first start at your chosen club you can hold a staff meeting. In the meeting they will point out your teams strengths in regards to the rest of the league, for instance my Notts County team is listed as one of the most technically gifted sides in League 2. These sorts of analysis can then help you in choosing what sort of tactics will help your team. In the Backroom Advice section they also point out multiple players you should try to sign through your scout's contribution, coaches you should sign or specific training aspects to focus on with certain players. Before each match your coaches will also advise you on the team you are playing against. They analyse how that team plays and may point out that they score regularly in the first 15 minutes of the game but then concede in the second 15. With this advice you might choose to play ultra defensive at the start and then change to an attacking style later on. I believe it's a great addition as you can choose to either take their advice and further tailor your tactics for individual opponents or choose to ignore it all together, it's just another way SI are trying to help you out.

The final focus is the match engine itself. In 09 SI introduced a 3D match engine which players could use to watch their games with. Personally I thought it showed promise and was a good step in the right direction but for the large part the execution was quite terrible. FM 10 sees the return of the 3D match engine and well, it's a little better. Player movement, design and animation looks a lot more polished and realistic although there is one weird moment when your player gets injured and has to go off the physio seems to drag them off with them which just looks wrong. Touchline instructions are a nice inclusion as you feel more like a manager yelling things out from the sideline but as yet I haven't been able to notice when they are taking affect in the game.

By and large the demo impressed me. SI are seeing increased pressure from Championship Manager and FIFA Manager along with the fans of the series who have become more and more frustrated with each years release. From the look of things they have really tried to step things up a little with FM 10 and for the most part it is a very polished, fun, accessible and professional looking game. New features like touchline instruction and backroom advice make you feel like a real football manager and the overall presentation of the game, from the new interface to the tactics builder, are a marked improvement over previous years. Look out for the full release of FM 10 on the 31st of October.



  1. CaptainD Said,

    I dunno... I get bored of fottie management games pretty quickly these days, because there's just TOO much detail - for this child of the eighties, anyway!

    Posted on October 17, 2009 at 3:54 AM

  2. haha yea i know what you mean, they can be really overwhelming at times but i think FM 10 might make things a lil more accessible for people

    Posted on October 17, 2009 at 10:17 PM


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