Football Manager 21 has arrived in a very big way, making waves among first-time players and long-standing loyalists to the Football Manager franchise. Many reviews have dubbed FM21 the most impressive and authentic release of the football management sim yet. Within this article, we’ll get under the bonnet of the reasons why FM21 looks set to far exceed the 60,000+ years of gameplay that players racked up in last year’s version, according to data from the Steam and Epic game platforms.
The best match engine AI in Football Manager history
The 3D match engine was one of the most revolutionary additions to the Football Manager series, adding a new layer of immersion to the 2D-style view, bring you closer to your players than ever before. This year’s brand-new match engine AI is the most intelligent yet, radically transforming player intelligence both defensively and offensively. For those managers who pride themselves on tight defence and a reliable offside trap, you’ll be pleased to watch your defensive line work in harmony. At the other end of the pitch, strikers’ off-the-ball movement has also been greatly enhanced, working in tandem with attack-minded midfielders to move defenders around and exploit spaces.
FM’s very own xG system
xG is increasingly one of the most popular ways that data analysts of football teams review games and ascertain the effectiveness of their attacking play. xG, short for expected goals, is an accurate measure of the calibre of chances being created by a team. In actual fact, Sports Interactive’s managing director Miles Jacobson opted to invest heavily in building a unique xG model exclusively for the FM franchise. Sports Interactive partnered with SciSports to provide a unique addition to your post-game summaries, outlining the “match story” and supplying advanced metrics on chance quality and shot conversions.
Improved matchday experience and interface
There have also been radical enhancements to the matchday experience. The user interface has changed completely for pre-game team talks, allowing you to home in on individuals more specifically ahead of that crunch game. You can also glean players’ reactions and feelings towards your formation and playing style before each game to ascertain how well they are likely to respond. The new in-game tablet screen gives you a chance to customise all the player data at your fingertips. The manager ‘shouts’ have been altered somewhat, giving you the chance to ‘berate’ players from the touchline. Meanwhile, substitutes can also be carried out on the recommendation of your assistant coaches from the match tablet.
Slick mobile experience
The FM21 release is also available to play on iOS and Android mobile devices. FM 21 Mobile is a real triumph, comprising 24 of the leading footballing nations and 60 playable leagues. As we discussed here https://www.gamerbolt.com/, the franchise has followed the lead of several other online gaming niches by expanding its reach with ‘lite’ mobile-friendly versions, cementing it as a national obsession.
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Total flexibility to ‘skin’ your FM 21
The beauty of FM 21 is that Sports Interactive are perfectly happy for players to customise their gaming experiences and view things their way. You can download a host of different ‘skins’ to customise your user interface. There are modifications to certain in-game panels too, as well as the chance to incorporate official team badges, as well as player photos and even AI-influenced images for regen players as the game evolves through the seasons. Of course, downloading and installing any of these skin packs is done so at your risk, with Sports Interactive not issuing alternative skins of their own, although you can choose from a handful of basic skins from the outset.
In-depth recruitment and scouting networks
Building your squad for this season and future seasons has been made easier thanks to the addition of recruitment meetings. These are scheduled at the start of every season and towards the latter stages of each season, giving you a chance to liaise with your chief scouts, directors of football and even your chairperson to pinpoint areas of squad improvement. Your scouts will be able to provide a dossier of potential signings to plug those gaps. Of course, you don’t have to listen to their advice. You can always cancel those meetings and go off-piste yourself using your player knowledge and shortlists.
All in all, Football Manager 21 takes the level of detail in a football management sim to new levels, with a myriad of avenues to create your own success stories.