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Football Manager 2023 Review

Football Manager 2023 Review

Like so many sports titles, Football Manager drops a new entry into the series each year. Therefore it’s that time again for a new title, this time under the unsurprising name of Football Manager 2023. But has developer Sports Interactive done enough to breathe new life into the tried and true formula that has made the series so wildly popular, or is it nothing more than a few updated team sheets?

The core gameplay of this simulation title remains largely the same. You start out by creating your very own manager (with a surprisingly in-depth character creation suite) before choosing which game mode you wish to jump into. Starting out in the main career mode, you’ll pick a team to manage as well as your managerial style, which then gives you points to allocate on certain attributes — adaptability, motivation, player knowledge, and so on — in order to create exactly the sort of person you want running your team.

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If you’ve never happened to play a Football Manager game before then good luck; this is not newcomer friendly in the slightest. Assuming you’re a fan of football (not sure why you’d be playing this if you weren’t) and know the ins and outs of the sport, then you will probably be able to pick it up fairly quickly. Just so long as you can get your bearings when traversing the relatively user-unfriendly menus!

Although I mentioned the game being slightly daunting for new players, there is an extensive amount of tutorials that seem to pop up every time you select a new menu option. These can quickly become overwhelming however, so expect to be re-reading them on occasions as you get to grips with this incredibly deep simulator.

Deep almost feels like an understatement when it comes to Football Manager 2023, with a seemingly endless list of things to keep track of. Things like what tactics your squad will be using when on the pitch, the teams training schedule, setting up a recruitment team to scout potential signees — it’s very easy to sink hours into fine-tuning your team before even jumping into a match!

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This is all happening without any background music or sound of any sorts. It’s eerily quiet as you navigate the menus, respond to emails and manage your squad. It’s easy enough to put your own music on in the background, but at the very least the option to have some generic tunes or confirmation noises upon button presses would have been nice. Even the on-pitch action is muted, the only sounds heard during my playtime were the roar of the crowd reacting to what was happening, and the referees whistle. Sure this is normal for Football Manager, but after so many years I would have expected at least something to be done about the sheer lack of audio.

If you’re a returning player and can confidently drag a team like Stockport County up to the Premier League, then you’re probably here to find out what’s new this year? Well, there isn’t much compared to last year's game. There have been some changes, mainly to how recruitment works this time around, with the squad planner being an integral part of managing your team and spotting areas in need of improvements. Coupled with this is the experience matrix that separates your players up into four categories (development, emerging, peak, and experienced) to let you delegate more suitable tasks to those that most need it. These two mechanics add so much depth to how you plan for upcoming matches that it makes you wonder how you ever played previous games that didn’t include it. The squad planner is undeniably the stand out addition to this year's title, and really streamlines any forward planning you’ll no doubt be doing.

Other features updated include the likes of how the supporter confidence works, with each of the six types of fans having their own wants and desires for the club. Manage to anger enough of them and it’ll be an early retirement for you, so keeping their expectations in mind as you progress through a season is essential to keeping the fans happy.

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Lots of smaller changes are here as well; including fully licensed competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League finally making their way into the series. Even the A.I. in matches has seen a noticeable improvement, and whilst this means your squad will play more akin to their real world counterparts than ever before, your opposition will switch up tactics and be much more varied — so stay alert!

In closing, Football Manager 2023 isn’t a revolutionary entry into the series; though it was never expected to be one. Fans of the franchise are fully aware of how incredibly engrossing these games can be, and if it isn’t broken, then why fix it? On the surface it may look like a quick reskin of Football Manager 2022, but additions such as the squad planner further enhance this series of insanely detailed simulators.

7.00/10 7

Football Manager 2023 (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

A few changes here and there improve Football Manager 2023 much more than I’d anticipated. It’s still the same deeply engrossing sim that you know and love, but with a few extra bells and whistles to keep the fans happy.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Mike Crewe

Mike Crewe

Staff Writer

Bought a PS5 and won't stop talking about it

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