Football Manager 2014 is the ultimate expression of soccer management. The new version brings a never-before-seen level of interaction, a redesign of the interface, and depth of the game like you've never experienced before.
The hard life of a coach
The career of a player is long and difficult, but that of a coach can be even more so. In Football Manager 2014 you play as the manager of a soccer team.
You can choose to either start from the bottom or at a prestigious club. In any case, the mission is the same: to bring success to your team, both nationally and internationally. And, of course, to become a world renowned coach.
More interaction with the media, management and team
What caught our eye in Football Manager 2014 is the massive attention that's been paid to interactions with staff, team, management, media, and opponents.
You'll be able to talk in-depth with your entourage and every single player, and you can also call on the most influential players on the team to raise morale of players who may be unhappy or lacking in motivation.
The role of the technical staff takes on added importance: the reserve team will be constantly monitored as well as promising young players, so that you can stay up to date on the performance of players in the lower levels of the club.
In Football Manager 2014, the transfer market has been improved. The negotiation phase is more intense, and new contract clauses and transfer conditions also make an appearance. For example, you can buy a player's card and let his current club have him on loan for a year, thereby applying a stratagem typical of the big clubs to let young players mature in the minor leagues.
Even relationships with management are narrower and more realistic, especially in regard to the negotiations on the renewal of contracts and the stage of setting annual targets. Not only that, but you can also put pressure on management to increase the budget for the market, as an incentive to reject a job offer from another club. Obviously you have to measure your requests, otherwise, especially with tougher management teams, you run the risk of breaking off the negotiations or undermining employment relations and staff.
There aren't many new features with regard to the Challenges section, a game mode in which you'll be required to achieve specific goals, like saving a team on the brink of relegation or restoring the morale of a demoralized team.
The interface has been redesigned for better usability. News, the Transfer center, and many other areas have undergone a pretty convincing makeover. Everything is just a click away and organized by criterion.
An interesting new feature of FM 2014 is the ability to cloud save your games. This means that you can develop your career on Football Manager on different PCs and devices, wherever you are.
Your tactical experience for the team
The tactics screen for Football Manager 2014 has been redesigned to provide greater ease of use and variety in the positioning of the players. With the editor you can also define specific movements for each individual player to perform.
On the field, your strategic skills can really make the difference. In addition to choosing training on the field, you can order a more offensive or defensive approach, and in the technical pre-game meeting, you can talk to your players and motivate them to bring home a win.
During the match your deputy will be able to give you any feedback or tactical advice that you can choose to follow or ignore. And, according to how the game pans out, you can issue new orders to your players: keep possession more, play more up front, and so on.
Your tactical wisdom, however, can be counteracted by artificial intelligence, this year it's definitely improved and is able to take the necessary countermeasures to compete with your strategic changes.
3D engine has been improved, but could still be better
The graphics engine of Football Manager 2014 has been revised. The ball physics are now much more convincing, as well as the new TV-style shots.
The movements of the players are more fluid and even the animations are slicker than last year, but it's still far from perfect.
Simply the best soccer manager simulator
It was always going to be difficult to improve a game like FM 2013, but the developers have succeeded. Football Manager 2014 is the essence of soccer, as seen from the bench. You manage every technical, tactical, and financial aspect in a way that simulates perfectly every element of life as a coach.
The depth of play and the number of options is impressive and the gameplay is compelling. There have also been significant improvements in terms of usability of the interface.
Football Manager 2014 is a simulator that's pure and intense, and for that reason we'd mainly recommend it to the hardcore fans of soccer games.