Football Manager 2022 could genuinely steal years of your life - here is a full, in-depth review before you get started with your journey.
Now, of course, it’s worth saying here that every single Football Manager release is, at least superficially, similar.
But Sports Interactive’s (SI) latest creation has plenty of tricks and flicks in its locker to surprise even the most seasoned FM player.
Let’s get into the review and have a look at just why FM22 is so good!
First and foremost, of course, it’s worth saying here that Football Manager 2022 has all the latest transfers and such.
However, Miles Jacobson, FM22’s director and executive producer, has confirmed that the game went into Data Lock last week, meaning that no more updates can be made.
Antonio Conte going to Tottenham, for example, won’t be in the game immediately, purely because it came too late for SI.
The presence of the in-game editor, though, will allow that to be changed manually by players.
Newcastle, as well, have been handed a £200m transfer budget after their takeover; so there are plenty of challenges for players to take on!
Regardless of how low you go in the pyramid, the army of researchers have ensured that even clubs like Tonbridge Angels have seen their squads updated to the tiniest detail.
How does it feel to play?
This is the biggest question, and the answer is like a dream.
The game was reviewed on a Dell XPS 1590 with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, and it’s smooth as butter.
Loading up a large database with 15-20 leagues still means you’re getting a quick experience every time you press continue, and you’ll also notice that save times have been shaved down even from last year when they were quickened up immensely.
Jumping from the tactics screen to bidding for a player to going into a game is all smooth and quick, and we’ve not seen any juddering, or buffering, even in the beta.
It should be said that there can be issues for lower-end laptops or PCs, but that’s why the game offers a star rating system for your machine when you start your game, so you can tailor it to your own rig.
FM22 Match Engine
This is the bread and butter of Football Manager. Regardless of how much time you spend buying players, tinkering with tactics, or scouting Brazilian wonderkids, the bottom line is this: You need to get your team on the pitch and start winning games.
So it’s good news that the match engine has been revamped this year.
It’s a rather difficult thing to describe as, first of all, the game looks very similar to FM21; once you start playing matches and start paying attention to the movements of your players, though, you’ll notice that they’re much smoother and that they regularly control the ball in new ways, and move differently.
They can dribble more effectively, protect the ball better, and are excellent at executing dribbling feints and tricks. Lionel Messi has never looked this realistic on Football Manager.
Of course, the game can’t compete with FIFA when it comes to graphics, but FM22 has carved out a niche of its own and the 3D match engine looks as good as it ever has, particularly in the way the players move.
Add in an increased focus on atmosphere and fans that look to move naturally, rather than sporadically, and you’ve got a match engine you’ll want to spend time in.
What’s new in Football Manager 2022?
The big thing here is the Data Hub, which is like a sweet shop for anybody who loves analytics and data.
You’ll get an in-depth analysis of every single league and cup game you play, while there’ll also be consistent comparisons with the rest of the league you’re playing in.
The team data is automatically compiled and you can request scatter graphs - that place your players or your team up against their rivals - for individual players too, for such things as goal output and passing.
You can also analyse all of your last five games, or your last four, or three, or two, or one, and you can do the same for your next opponent.
There’s no excuse for not being prepared this year, and the Data Hub is both beautiful to look at and genuinely accessible for those who may have scepticism of expected goals!
There’s also a new focus on transfer policies, whereby your staff, or your Director of Football, if you have one, will recommend specific types of players depending on who you’re managing.
Newcastle, for example, want high-reputation players. Manchester City will too. But a club like Brentford will be looking for a young player they can develop into a superstar. You’ll get consistent reminders throughout the game.
There’s also the addition of wide centre-backs so your defenders can make a real impact in the final third.
FM22 Transfer Deadline Day
Deadline day has a sensational new lick of paint this year, to make it all the more immersive.
As always, you can choose to take part in deadline day or not.
If you do, you’ll be taken to a brand new, yellow, screen, similar in style to the way that Sky Sports News present their coverage of deadline day.
Sports Interactive has redone the processing panel as well, meaning that you can actually see time ticking away.
The main screen now shows four different panels: Agent Offers, where representatives try to drum up business in their clients; Attracting Interest, where you can see which of your players are in demand; Contracts Expiring, which is exactly as it sounds; and Listed Players, where you’ll get an overview of players who have been made available by their respective clubs.
There's a real array of information to help you get those last-minute deals over the line!
So, what makes Football Manager 2022 so good? It’s a hard question to answer, as any FM nerd will tell you - this author included!
But the fact is this feels like the most playable, the most consistent, and the single most time-stealing iteration of the game that we’ve ever played.
Football Manager can genuinely steal hours away from you, or days, or weeks, or years.
There isn’t a game like it out there on the market and Sports Interactive have not been resting on their laurels, instead making it so that any wannabe upstart has to scale Everest to be able to really compete.
The new match engine, coupled with the data hub, the focus on transfer policies that you can shape in your own image, and the fact that it’s just so damn detailed makes this arguably the best Football Manager ever.
No, not arguably, actually. This is the best Football Manager ever.
Our score: 10/10
Football Manager 2022 will be launched on 9th November for PC via Steam and Xbox Game Pass.
You can find all of the latest Football Manager 2022 news and everything Gaming related right here at GiveMeSport.News Now - Sport News