Review: Football Manager 2012 (PC/Mac)

Having never played any incarnation of SEGA’s Football Manager before, I may be excited over features that are new and, unbeknownst to me, old. So bear with me as I take on my management of Leeds FC.

Football Manager 2012 is the latest in the series of footie management sims by SEGA. It takes the complicated task of managing football team, like the buying of players, the change of play tactics, team motivation and referee screaming, squeezing it into a game that anyone with the slightest management skills should be able to handle. You can send scouts to seek out your next star player in the form of a budding young player or negotiate the transfers of players in and out of your team through contracts.

There are plenty of teams to choose from the various leagues in countries around the world, sans Japan and other nations due to licensing issues. If, like me, you get lost in the various menus and information boxes, the handy, compressive tutorial is ready to help you along.

There are several new additions and changes to the game in the 2012 edition, more than 800 in fact. In case you get sick of playing England (really?), Football Manager now allows you to manage more than a single team or league on a single save game, and make your world domination plans go that much faster. The new interface also adapts to players with screens of higher resolutions and adds more boxes of statistics to the layout for players to absorb with a single glance.

Animations, weather and stadium variations during team matches (shown in real graphical context, and not a bunch of stats and dots) have been improved, with the addition of more control over camera angles, and new cameras such as the intuitive “Director’s Cut” camera that switches cameras for you to take you right to where the action is. around every corner (kick). You can also upload videos of that one amazing goal onto YouTube (a feature already in FM2011) and share your greatest moments through the new Facebook integration feature.

The game now also let’s you set your attitude during meetings with the press. Five levels of tone help you express, or lie through your teeth, your feelings on your team and the current situation for media friends to take home. You can also pep your team by speaking to the before the match, at half-time and after the match, earning you their loyalty and respect.

On my 2.93GHz 2009 iMac housing a NVIDIA GeForce GT 120, the game loaded relatively fast and and ran smoothly without any hitches, even during my time on the unfinished preview. The adaptive interface allows you to resize the game window at any time without causing graphical issues, even during a match. The audio and spectator crowd was missing on the near-final review copy we received, but the appearance of both brings the match to life in the final incarnation of the game.

Football Manager is (and probably has been) the most comprehensive football management sim without having to climb the ladder and earning the right to manage your favourite teams in real life. Sure, you know it’s a simulation, and while you won’t be playing as the one on the field kicking the ball, you know it’s because of your team management that caused whatshisname to score that last goal. With the many improvements and a tutorial mode that walks with you as you rise among the leagues, longtime fans of the franchise and newbies alike are more than likely to enjoy the experience.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 10
Lasting Appeal: 9

Overall: 9/10

Football Manager 2012 is a Sports Interactive game published by SEGA for the Windows PC and Mac platforms from 21 October 2011. A preview copy of the game, with a subsequent upgrade to the finished title, was given to us for review. Available on Steam with SteamPlay compatibility. Tested via Steam for Mac on a 2.93GHz Early 2009 iMac. Also coming to PSP and Apple Devices.