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Regardless of whether you call it football or soccer (you shouldn’t call it soccer), the beautiful game is one of the most — if not the most — popular sports on the planet. With the likes of EA SPORTS FC and whatever Pro Evo has become leading the charge for the on-pitch action, few titles outside of the Football Manager series offer a true experience for football tacticians. With the release of WE ARE FOOTBALL 2024, does this relative newcomer from developer Winning Streak Games have enough going for it to stand toe-to-toe with the juggernaut that is the FM franchise?

Starting out, you’re given the choice to manage either a male or female team, with teams from Europe, Asia, and South America. From here, the options to adjust your difficulty (such as injury probability and budgets) are all fully customisable, allowing players to give themselves a true test, or a more laid-back experience. Sticking with the default options, I then had a choice of managing a national team in the World Cup or European Championship, create my own club, or the option to pick from a list of pre-existing clubs. WE ARE FOOTBALL 2024 features no licencing — although that was easily solved with a few simple mods — so expect to see names like Manchester Blue's star striker, Sebastian Grant, and other fictitious players if you don’t opt for any external mods. That said, I expect big things from Fulham’s left-winger Joshua Kellogg.

The opening portions of setting up your club, reviewing your objectives for the season, which players you want on your squad, and so much more, is a rather daunting introduction, especially for anyone that’s never played the FM games before. There are information panels on each page to give you a brief overview of what to do, but for the most part, you’re left to fend for yourself. Thankfully, this football management sim isn’t quite as in-depth as the FM series, making it much more accessible to a wider audience who don’t wish to pore over every minute detail.

As you’ll be spending the majority of your time within menus, stat sheets, and the like, the clean — if fairly basic — design of these menus makes it much easier to navigate. Handy, since players will be doing a lot of that! Just like every other sport management simulator, there really isn’t much to talk about when it comes to presentation. As long as the many, many screens aren’t cluttered with useless information, then it’s on to a winner!

The same can’t be said for the match presentation. There are a few options for camera angles and replays, but it feels lacking when compared to Football Manager. After spending so much time prepping for the match, it would be nice to have the short snippets of the action a bit more fleshed out as opposed to the low-quality animated players shuffling around the field.

So, you’ve selected (or created) your team, agreed to a manager contact, set your rules and expectations, and are ready to go! But hold on, it’s not quite time to get your starting 11 onto the pitch just yet. Your job is to oversee practically everything from training regiments to scouting potential new players. There’s a lot to think about that’s important to the club’s success. Why not gain some new sponsorship deals and display them in your grounds, or extend your stadium capacity to fit more fans? There’s even the potential objective of reducing your club’s carbon footprint!

During matches, the presentation doesn’t change all that much from your regular day-to-day management screens, which is a shame. The game will cut to the action during key moments of play, but it’s completely hands-off, and you’ll be unable to issue any assignments or tactics until returning to the previous screen. I would have liked the inclusion of a pitch map showing the action as it’s happening instead of the slowly filling bar to show the length of the match remaining. It’s a small touch, but being able to see exactly what’s happening minute-by-minute would have made it much easier to change up tactics on the fly, or bring a sub on if someone's not performing as they should.

How well you’re performing is all based on how players, fans, and members of the board react to your choices. Your popularity with all three will change constantly, making it a juggling act to try and keep everyone happy. But you can’t forget about yourself! Smaller things, such as throwing a party or learning a new language (helpful if you plan to sign with another club!) are just some of the things you can do to ensure you’re on top form. It’s a nice touch, and not strictly necessary, but you’ve always got to look out for number one!

Whilst not as in-depth as its contemporaries, WE ARE FOOTBALL 2024 is also not quite as daunting. Sure, this is a slow-paced strategic title that will take some getting used to, but for football fans, there is fun to be found here. As the game carries on season after season, there is potentially unlimited replay value here, especially if you’re someone who likes to bring a small team from the local playing fields all the way to the European Championships. Is this a Football Manager beater? No, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t worth checking out!

7.00/10 7

WE ARE FOOTBALL 2024 (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

WE ARE FOOTBALL 2024 may not be a revolutionary game in the football management sim genre, but it's a much more accessible title for fans who don’t want to get too into managing their own club.

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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