When you don’t have any real competition in the genre, it is hard not to get complacent. SI Games has gone up and down with its FM series over the years, but they still remained dominant in soccer management simulations. It seems that they wanted to establish that leadership position with Football Manager 2019, which is a huge step up and undoubtedly the best addition to the franchise.
It Looks Great…and It Has Bundesliga!
Let’s start with aesthetics as that was the first thing we noticed when we started FM 2019. The new dominant color is purple and the skin was restyled so that it enhances user experience and getting around the menus. There are still situations when you can get lost among the submenus, but they are significantly decreased.
As soon as you start a new game and you are offered to choose playable leagues, you realize that Bundesliga finally has an official license. SI Games has always had an incredible number of licensed competitions, but it was that final major piece of the puzzle that fits perfectly. So, no more guessing game when it comes to which club you are playing against – the entire Bundesliga and 2 Bundesliga are licensed, including club and competition names, kits, logos, and player faces.
Forget the Cosmetics and Tell Me about Tactics
Don’t worry, we’ve come to that part and the good news is that the improvements in Football Manager 2019 are not purely cosmetic. In fact, the tactics and training sections went through a major overhaul, which was extremely necessary for years.
When it comes to tactics, you now have styles based on real-life coach philosophies available to choose from. There are also numerous additions when it comes to team instructions, including how the formation will look when you are in and out of possessions. Not only the developers managed to add depth, but they also made things easier in terms of navigation.
We also noticed a major change in training systems with several sessions now available during a single day. The idea is to provide you total control in match fixture and general fitness and skill preparation, but it suffers from a similar flaw as previous training adjustments – it gets bored after a while.
VAR and Other Things Worth Noting
Football Manager was always a series dedicated to creating as realistic as possible football management game. It is why we have the presence of VAR in FM 2019. The video assistant referees are paired with the goal-line technology, but only in the leagues that officially use them. Needless to say, it is quite nail-biting when you are waiting for the virtual referee to check out the video and confirm or deny the goal you just scored.
Those playing the series for the first time (is there any football fan that still hasn’t played FM?) will have a tutorial that will guide them through the basics of the game. Other improved features are improved feedback from agents during transfers and refreshments to the match engine. Yes, press conferences are still incredibly dull.