Football has changed over the last ten years, with managers forming new ideas on how to win the biggest prizes in world football. Whether it’s Pep Guardiola’s high-intensity tiki-taka or Jose Mourinho’s disciplined defensive style, there are many ways to play the beautiful game today. Sports Interactive takes those ideas of style, strategy, and tactics and places them in the hands of football enthusiasts in Football Manager. Its newest entry, Football Manager 2022, has received suitable changes to an already excellent football experience.
In-game, Football Manager 2022 looks and plays better than in previous games. I like the look of the stadiums and the new match engine makes the gameplay so much smoother. In addition to the smoother gameplay, I love how the crowd reacts to the action on the pitch. The roar of a crowd when a player gives the ball away or when a goal finally hits the back of the net is so satisfying. I expect this level of detail from games like FIFA, but it looks and sounds so good on Football Manager.
Life As A Football Manager
Most of FM22 takes place within the game’s menus. I spent loads of time tinkering with squad tactics, answering e-mails, attending meetings, and negotiating transfers. While this may seem like mindless busywork, you can delegate things you don’t want to do to other staff members. Delegating work to your staff ensures you are getting as much or as little out of being a manager. I rather not manage medical issues, youth recruitment, and attend board meetings; those things don’t interest me as much as tactics, transfers, and team selection.
During my first few weeks as manager, I found skipping some press conferences saved me loads of time. Press conferences are loaded with a lot of the same questions and sometimes don’t impact anything. Sure, some things affect players’ morale and squad atmosphere, but I found myself just clicking the “positive” answer multiple times to get through a lengthy presser.
During my first playthrough, I managed Manchester United. I was living the dream of coaching one of the best players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. I delved into tactics, taking United away from their 4-2-3-1 formation and playing them in a 4-3-3. Using this formation will allow me to use a vertical tiki-taka style and play attacking football. Rightfully, I was smashing teams three to zero every week until my first loss to Brentford in week four. I took it as an unfortunate mishap and continued my easy run to success with Manchester United.
However, I tried my hand at managing a club in a different situation, Marseille. Olympique Marseille was harder to manage because of the club’s quality, limited funds, and board expectations. I had to make better choices when finding players, and I lost loads of games simply because the quality of players at Marseille wasn’t the same at Manchester United. Regardless of the circumstances at Marseille, it’s a lot of fun to help lead a team to success in Football Manager 2022. It takes loads of time, but it’s gratifying in the end.
New Gameplay Features
Sports Interactive continues to improve Football Manager with deeper analytics. One of the newest features is the Data Hub, where players use data visualizations to see how their decisions affect their success on the pitch. The data hub will give feedback after your first three league matches and diagnose problem areas in the team. I used this feature to help me pick my team selections; the pass maps from the data hub suggest that Anthony Martial links up well with Bruno Fernades on the left side of the pitch. From there, I can change my game plan accordingly to get the best results. It’s a helpful tool that enhances your chances of success.
The new Football Managers 2022 match engine attempts to enhance the simulation on the pitch. Players make more sensible passes and movements in-game than in previous Football Manager games. The reworked passing system brings your tactics to life on the pitch. Overall, the better in-game simulation is all credit to the match engine and the developers improving this game feature each year.
Transfer Deadline Day
Sports Interactive has revamped Transfer Deadline Day. It brings a Sky Sports News look to your menu. In addition to the look, this feature replicates the outlandish rumor mill that you would see scrolling through social media, with stories about Bruno Fernades going to Real Madrid or Kylian Mbappe going to Manchester City. Although it’s very accurate to the actual Transfer Deadline Day coverage, I tend to skip the day altogether because this feature takes too much time to simulate.
Lastly, staff meetings take an overall look at your squad and club and suggest critical areas of improvement, from players that should be captains, new coaches getting hired, and what players to buy in the transfer market. You can choose to have these meetings every week or every two weeks. These meetings are helpful when you want to attend them; they bring up important information about your club. I skip some of these meetings, but it’s nice to get advice about what changes I should make to better my chances of success on the pitch.
Football Manager 2022 is a strategy game that continues to improve with more in-depth features that helps you succeed on the virtual pitch. The new Data Hub brings a more profound analysis system to the game that helps you pick the best line-ups on match day. The endless hours of tinkering with my club’s tactics, transfers, squad, and staff have yielded meaningful results in my club’s progression. And I still have many hours of fun ahead of me with one of the best sports simulators.