Monday, October 19, 2009

The Beautiful Game!

Attention! This post is about a game. If you would like to skip all my ranting and frothing in the mouth you may scroll down to the last paragraph and read the summary. Thank you.

I downloaded the demo for this last week and I've been playing it to death, trying to find out whether anything isn't working properly. My conclusion is FM2010 is so fantastically awesome it's beyond belief.

If you are a football fan I URGE you to try this game out. You WILL love it!

As good as FM2009 was, it had some problems that turned off a lot of people. For me personally, these would include the broken Italian Serie A transfers and Italian lower league problems. The game's tactical side didn't really work as well as I wanted it to either. It was tricky and a lot of people who used to play FM casually stopped playing it. Which is sad.

Other things that bothered me a lot is how many clubs in the game world don't retain their players. As a result as time when on, the AI squads would get smaller and smaller especially in the lower leagues. Another thing I hated was some leagues were just... broken. Especially the financial part of it. I like to try and play in different parts of the world and I couldn't get in to it due to some of these leagues not set up properly.

As one can imagine these problems caused a storm on the SIGames forums and apparently, the game devs took notice and made improvements. And improve they did!

I want to note down and write EVERYTHING that I loved about the demo but that would make this post huge! So I'm just going to write the more important ones.

Where do I start? Tactics would be a good place. Last time, when I wanted to change something I go into the tactics section and move many, many sliders that control things like width, tempo, defensive line etc. This goes for player instructions too like tackling and closing down and creative freedom and runs etc etc.

Those sliders are gone in FM2010. Instead, there are drop down menus with general instructions and strategies all written in plain English. So, if I want my team to play a high line and close down our opponents more.. I just tell them that. No more fiddling with damn sliders. Same goes for player instructions. If I want let's say, Leo Messi to run at defenders more or sit back and be a play maker or be a deep striker I just tell him that via a pull down menu. No need to set sliders anymore!

And these instructions WORK! I SEE them being executed in the new, improved match engine. Words fail to describe how much I love this new tactical interface! With this, I done things like change formation during a match, change player roles and duties from attacking to supporting to defending, subbed in extra strikers/defenders/midfielders etc. You know... like an actual football match in real life.

I never bothered before because previously it would take too much work to do it.

Now it's easy! It feels like... coaching a football team instead of playing a computer game! I could go on and on and on but the new tactics part of the game is a giant leap forward, nuff said.

A new FM player will be able to get in to the game immediately and start coaching his team instead of learning what all the fricking sliders do.

The 3D match engine is improved as well. It looks better and smoother now, the AI plays better football and looks even more real.

They fixed Italian Serie A! Woot!! And lower league teams aggressively recruit players! The finances of small teams are now logically set up!

The backroom staff talk to you now! They make suggestions on everything! Tactics, player interactions, the team's strengths and weaknesses. Your physio reports back regularly about injuries! Your scouts proactively make suggestions on players to look for!

Non useless backroom staff! I love it!

Media has improved too. So has hundreds of other small, small things. Like the customizable tool bar on top of the page! And the speed of the game has improved yet again. I've managed to play 25 matches in one go in a little more than half a day on Saturday. That's...... FASTER than FM2009!

The next feature I'm itching to try out is the editor which will come out together with the game. You now can create and edit your own league and cup competitions. This will include activating leagues and cups that are already in the game database but are not officially licensed.

Many people have already stated that they want to do things like activate and manage in leagues like England lower leagues, Italy Serie D, USL (US leagues) etc. I also might try activating leagues in Africa (Egypt!) and the middle east (UAE, Saudi Arabia). And sooner or later someone will create a database for J-League! I know they will.

So yeah, I'm really looking forward to this. I went and checked for all the things that used to bother me in FM2009 and all those things are gone. I'm going to get all my friends to play this especially those who got turned off by FM2009.

To summaries, FM2010 is a giant improvement and will be the best Football Manager game EVER. Strong points are the new, very user friendly tactical interface, the improved match engine and 3D, improved processing speeds, improved staff interaction, improved media, improved AI squad management, improved transfers and improved finances. The game editor will be awesome and I can't wait to try it out!

I hope these improvements will make long term career games viable again!

So if you like football, play FM2010.

Edit: Oooh, I forgot! New tactical element. Touchline instructions! Now instead off shouting at your monitor you can shout orders to your players! I love it!

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