Football Manager 2020 (PC) Review

By Chris Leebody 10.04.2020

Review for Football Manager 2020 on PC

While Football Manager has always been a popular title among fans of the sport, it is at times like these that its dedicated community comes to the fore. Having extended a free week into a fortnight, Sports Interactive took advantage of the millions of fans of football craving some sort of action with the real-life sport postponed at the present time. The 2020 edition of the annual series brings with it a whole host of new features, gameplay tweaks, and the usual raft of enhancements. This is a series that has been renowned for being the epitome of the 'just one more game' philosophy, and the stories of those who have dedicated hundreds of hours in guiding a minnow from the lower league into the peak of European power, are legendary. Does this newest edition do enough to keep hold its grand legacy?

Taking control of a football club and guiding their fortunes up the leagues just never gets old. From taking the local town team from nowhere to the heights of the Premier League, to recapturing the glory days of a tired European giant in one of the continental clubs, the variety of challenges on offer in Football Manager is unparalleled. Communities are formed, stories are told, and addiction to the cause is inevitable when individuals get sucked into the off-script drama that only a game like Football Manager 2020 can provide. When it comes to a guaranteed time sink, 2020 is as reliable as ever.

Screenshot for Football Manager 2020 on PC

The core gameplay of course never changes. Take control of one of thousands of clubs or nations around the world, with numerous licensed leagues and clubs and hundreds of thousands of real-world football players, each with their own bespoke stats as a result of actual scouting. It never really gets appreciated the sheer amount of work that has gone into scouting all these players and staff members - a credit to Sports Interactive by itself. Finding some undiscovered gem; developing a team to play a new revolutionary passing system or formation; winning the European Cup with a team in every league, these kinds of challenges are all possible and keep gameplay fresh for hundreds of hours.

Most of the time in the game will be in one of the many menus, creating tactics, buying and selling players or setting up training routines. In that regard, the UI in this year's edition is perfect, and is a natural development on last year's almost, equally well-developed interface. Clean, streamlined, and with an abundance of information - it makes getting through the slog of a season very easy. Setting up tactics is a doddle within the menus, and it is interesting and positive in this year's edition that there doesn't yet seem to be an overall tactic that is particularly underpowered. With so much control over how a team plays football, there is an abundance of strategies to employ.

Screenshot for Football Manager 2020 on PC

If there is one aspect that defines this edition, it is a focus on ever increasing realism, and a deeper level of immersion. For some, these are difficult words, and indeed the series has suffered over the last five years in trying to make things more immersive, while ensuring the gameplay is not bogged down by complications. 2020 seems to have finally struck that balance correctly, with additions that give the player more information and transparency, while not dramatically impacting the flow of the game. Take for example the new club vision system. Now when a manager joins a club they will set out a particular vision of how the club should run. Everything from what type of players the club will look to sign, to the year-on-year competition aspirations. It isn't an entirely new feature in the sense that the club boards used to give this information in previous titles.

However, it was never laid out in such a clear and focused way, and it helps greatly in building immersion and making the user feel in total control. It also helps to highlight just how powerful the owners of clubs are - with this system helping to add the sort of gameplay challenge a title like this needs. Taking over a small club will come with lower demands but lower rewards. Meanwhile, an elite club and financially powerful owner will demand glory from the off. As fans of the series will know, graphically there isn't a lot to shout about. Most of the "graphics" discussion would be limited to the menus. That said, there is of course a 3D match engine, and thankfully it has had a moderate upgrade with hundreds of new player animations, and a much more life-like sense of a football match.

Screenshot for Football Manager 2020 on PC

What is most important is that previous mistakes from the last few years have been avoided. There have been no issues with any animation errors causing ridiculous goals to be conceded, and while there still seems to be too many goals scored from certain set-pieces like corners, this has definitely been rectified to a good degree. The lighting has been improved, which makes a huge difference, and smaller details like the pitch being affected by the weather also helps to improve things. There is definitely still room for improvement in the match's engine graphics and animations, with the potential for more life-like player animations and an improvement in the crowds. Speaking of crowds, their sounds could do with an upgrade as well. For many the first thing they do will be to turn the sound off completely. It is a shame Sports Interactive doesn't attempt to add some more immersion by including, chants or maybe a greater range of cheering.

Furthermore, sometimes transfers can still be a little crazy. It is understandable in today's football climate with the money around - however sometimes the AI seems to go a little overboard, and more than once the figures for average players and strange buys seemed to go slightly too far into the realm of fantasy. One of the most interesting gameplay additions to this year, is the playing time pathway that has now been included when negotiating with players to buy. Firstly, it is far more realistic in terms of the kinds of discussions players would be having with a manager in real life. Secondly however, it helps to avoid the annoying situation in past games, with players agitating for contracts and an enhanced profile in quick intervals. Instead, now they have a set pathway they will discuss beforehand, allowing managers to plan more for who is worth selling and buying each transfer window.

Screenshot for Football Manager 2020 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Football Manager is still the ultimate football simulation series, and this latest addition makes enough positive changes to keep the gameplay fresh, and improve on some of the minor frustrations of previous entries. With a better UI, enhanced match engine, and some high-quality decisions around player motivations, it is easier than ever to get sucked into hundreds of hours of addictive gameplay. Football Manager 2020 is the perfect game for spending long days in quarantine, as the time will fly by.

Developer

Sports Interactive

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Sport

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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