Is it Football Manager or Soccer Manager?
Football Manager, or soccer as it is known in America, has been around in one form or another on computing devices since 1992 when it was known as Championship Manager. Many companies have published games about the sport of football over the years and the new 2024 version of this iconic Football Manager franchise has once again been developed by Sports Interactive with the publisher being SEGA.
Football Manager 2024 like all of the earlier versions of the game, places the player in the team managers chair where they have full control of team operations. It is the manager's job to set tactics, manage finances, recruit and sign new players and even request for new club facilities to be built. Of course, there are team goals that the board of directors set for the manager to accomplish each season. The goals could be to play attacking soccer, to advance to the next higher league level or simply to finish the season mid-pack in their current league. Miss some of the more important goals and the board could have cause to end your employment with the team. If that happens then you will find yourself in the unemployment line looking for another job.
With a little help from my friends
If you enjoy looking through tables full of player skill and attribute numbers, negotiating player and staff contracts and virtually every other aspect of running a professional football team, then this is the game for you. If you want to control and play as a player on the pitch, then you might want to look elsewhere. This is purely a sports management game where it is the players job to put the best athletes on the field so the team can win. Of course, micromanaging every aspect of the team might not be feasible all the time, so players can hire trainers, scouts and other staff to take care of the more menial tasks. For new managers there is a very good tutorial that walks players through everything that a manager will need to know in order to be successful.
Despite it being similar to the previous edition, the new 2024 version has a few upgrades that stand out. The main upgrade – which is a nice addition - is the set piece creator. For those that might be new to soccer, a set piece is a set play that is used when the ball is returned to open game play after a game stoppage. Set pieces are used to align players appropriately when corner throw ins, corner kicks, free kicks and even penalty shots happen. In earlier versions of the game set piece usage was limited at best but now there's a new creation tool where players can make their own specific set piece plays. This will be sure to increase the realism when watching as the games play out. Of course, it isn’t necessary to watch the games, but doing so will tell you a lot about the players on your team and how they actually perform on the field. Plus, who doesn’t like to see a few goals being scored.
Other improvements to Football Manager 2024 include smarter player transfers and team finances when staff - actually the AI - are handling such tasks. I always preferred to manage player contract negotiations and transfers myself because in the past the AI would tend to give away too much. That has now been revamped. Another pretty big improvement is the ability to give incentives to your players via performance targets such as numbers of goals scored, assists made and games won. If the players are presented with performance targets they can achieve during the season it can serve to improve their performance and motivational attitudes towards their manager and the team.
Another improvement over previous game versions is the improvement in the actual game graphics during the matches. Player movement, ball physics and even game lighting has been improved and polished. Now when watching the games - especially when highlights are turned on - you can see the actual difference between star player performance compared to the lesser likes on your team. Player on field actions just look far more realistic in nature. Even though the underlying game Al seems to be basically the same, the new graphics update does seem to have been revamped this year.
It's all about the data and the ads...
One aspect of sports games including manager games like Football Manager that seem to be prevalent these days is the need to harvest game players personal data. User data is harvested in order "to allow you to see advertisements on match day hoardings that make more sense". In my personal opinion the only thing that makes sense is that advertisers want your personal data including your age and location in order to supply better ads on the in-game stadium billboards. Of course, you can decline after reading the long text explanation by clicking no, but the need to collect all of this data to be able to provide these targeted advertisements is kind of concerning none the less.
If players actually want to share their personal data, the game will collect data from your computer and share it with 3rd parties. Data that will be collected includes a unique identifier about your game usage. Then those 3rd parties will combine that data with other information they have collected from you apparently from other 3rd parties and you will be served relevant advertisements in game. Of course, if you initially agreed you can decide to stop all of this sharing but who really knows if it actually does stop and how deep does the data collection go? I prefer to have no tracking and I prefer to look at the SEGA and Sports Interactive company logos like was the norm in the past. We all need to be concerned about personal privacy and we should pay attention to protecting our personal data on our devices...
Is it really worth all the fuss?
We talked a little bit about the improved latest edition of Football Manager 24, and we even talked about advertisement presentations, but is the game really all that much better than last year’s title - and is it worth the purchase? Honestly, if you love the game of soccer and you enjoy the extremely in-depth and total immersion feeling of actually being in the managers chair, it is worth it. If you love spreadsheets with loads of statistics, numbers and other aspects of the sport of football then yes, there is enough here to whet any soccer fans appetite and keep them coming back for more. If you don't care about that, then an older edition will suffice.
Even though I don't care for it, I'm not going to base my opinion about the game on the ads or how they are generated. So, I'll give the need to generate additional income through advertising a pass because we don't know how deep the data mining really runs. With that said, being able to take the managers role on any one of the many teams present throughout the FM world will put you in sports manager heaven! There seems to be enough updates to make Football Manager 2024 a worthwhile sports manager franchise game to have, and I give it two thumbs up!
As always, follow Hooked Gamers on Instagram for news updates, reviews, competitions and more.
Another very complex and in-depth Football Manager game for 2024. The improvements and upgrades are enough to keep this franchise going for another year.
Yearly releases tend to only have limited upgrades each year and that is true in this case.