Gameplay: 7 / 10
Graphics: 4 / 10
Replay Value: 6 / 10
Sound and Music: 6.5 / 10
Out from beneath the shadows of the more popular FIFA franchise, FIFA Manager has been around for quite some time now, accompanied by a healthy following of supporters. The latest addition to the franchise has arrived, but does FIFA Manager 13 provide enough reason for you to upgrade from FIFA Manager 12?
There are a handful of changes to the game over the previous title, FIFA Manger 12. As always, EA has always had well-designed menus and features, which not only make it look good, but provides an element to the game that is often overlooked. Easily finding your way around tasks in FIFA Manager 13 plays large part in enjoying the game, especially with more and more elements added in each iteration.
Team Dynamics adds a new dimension to the game in that you now have to pay some attention to how players interact with one another, balancing egos and different goals of each player versus the objectives of the team. These interactions are of particular important in the team’s hierarchy and personality clashes (even when assigning youth players to mentors). Team Dynamics is based on 2 features also included in the game, Team Matrix and Hierarchy Pyramid. When you consider that your squad consists of 3 teams (first team, youth team, trainees), you will be spending quite a bit of time mixing and matching these elements and player characteristics.
In addition to balancing your team, you will also have to balance your work with your personal life. FIFA Manager 13 allows you to create a personal profile, which includes having a wife and kids, buying or renting a house, buying a car, and building skillsets such as golfing, sailing, etc. These elements affect your relationships with the clubs owners, which could have influence your stay at the club when times are tough.
As with all football games, the transfer market can have quite a bearing on the results. In FIFA Manager 13, the transfer market has seen a slight upgrade. As a manager looking to buy specific players, you will have to deal with more than 40 different criteria before players make their respective moves from their current clubs. Above the norms of salary, transfer fees and player bonuses, players will also consider their roles in the club, future prospects, club objectives, and many more, all of which different weightings on the overall satisfaction of the contract. The player growth system is also tied to the transfer market, with player improvements linked to the clubs style of play and training practices. As a manager, you can now consider the possible improvement of a young player in the market over that of a more seasoned player, which will affect the long term plan of the club.
The transfer market has even further additions, namely Buy Back and Direct Loaning options. The Buy Back option in a player’s contract allows you to agree on clauses and loopholes which give you the option of buying back the sold player, which ultimately reduces the transfer fees. The Direct Loaning option is as a result of the current real world trends of where clubs purchase young players from clubs and then loan them back to their previous clubs. This is simply a means of securing a player transfer in future without worrying about other teams competing for their services, which in the end can increase transfer costs.
The biggest drawback in FIFA Manager 13 is its 3D match simulation. In truth, this feature resembles FIFA titles dating back 10 years. Although you wouldn’t expect the simulation to match current FIFA titles, knowing what EA are capable of, and what they’ve made available, is quite a huge contrast. Animations aren’t as smooth, and can be considered quite robotic, which only get worse during player celebrations. Despite this, the manager options available during the 3D simulation make it easier to issue tactical instructions.
The FIFA Manager franchise competes against the likes of the Football Manager franchise, which offers a more realistic feel to managing a football club. FIFA Manager is aimed at the casual gamer with a much more accessible simulator experience. Although FIFA Manager 13 isn’t by any means too easy to play, it does beg the question that if you’re looking for a football manager title, would you then not opt for a more realistic game. For first timers, you will become accustomed to the setup and objectives within an hour or two. In contrast, novice gamers will easily spend 4 to 5 hours just get around the basics. This, then, is one of the biggest reasons for choosing FIFA Manager 13 over other titles, as it provides a more in-depth look at managing a team as compared to FIFA 13, without the headaches of spending 5 hours just to know the basics.
As always, the game is very addictive and on its own, FIFA Manager 13 is a decent enough title that should keep you busy for many an hour. On the other hand, owners of the previous FIFA Manager 12 won’t be as excited about the latest iteration, especially when you consider that the 3D match simulation has not been improved, apart from the tactical changes. Other changes to the game can be classified as interesting without being important. If you enjoy the management aspect to the game of football, without the requirement of going into details that will provide more headache than enjoyment, and you don’t already own its predecessor, then FIFA Manager 13 is a worthwhile purchase.