Football Manager 2022 review: a football nerd’s nirvana

More detail-oriented players than me might scoff at such a revelation after interfering so carefully in past games. But they should be pleased that their own deep tinkering is now bearing more fruit and finding more satisfaction in watching plans unfold on the pitch. There are also a lot of new things that can help; with a new data center that offers far more detailed visualizations and game graphics than I could ever begin with. But it’s granular and customizable enough that I can dive into areas that interest me, request specific reports from my analysts, or “pin” particularly useful charts. It’s, to put it simply, a football nerd’s nirvana.

Other changes are more subtle. Player Agents are now a trickier mob to contend with. Should you ask about a client’s availability, instead of giving you all the details you might need for a transfer offer, agents now expect a commitment to make an offer, lest their noses get out of joint. The transfer deadline has been given a bit of a snappier look to make football’s most ridiculous day more exciting (complete with a Sky Sports-inspired yellow makeover), while the asking prices are more accurately labeled if you’ve got your scouting right.

Interaction with the media is less impressive. Dialogue is long overdue, especially given the high frequency of press conferences and phone calls, while this year it seems very easy to anger journalists. I understand we can be a sensitive guy, but I found that fairly early in my career I was treated with “strong dislike” by a local hacker, presumably because he didn’t overly enjoy my light-hearted platitudes about my out-forming players. It’s all pretty blunt, which is at odds with a game that strives to give you more feedback and data than ever before.

Still, it’s not the most consequential part of the game (and you can always delegate your media duties to your assistant if you trust them enough not to say anything stupid). Most of the work in this year’s edition focuses on what is most consequential: the work on the square. Casual gamers might need to be forewarned that pressing Counterpress and sipping a cup of tea on matchday won’t get you very far this year, as Sports Interactive strives to continue reproducing the pressure of being a football manager.

But every year should offer something different. In the middle of my Watford season, having stabilized the ship somewhat and learned more intricacies than in previous editions, I had an overwhelming urge to try something different. I started a new game, lost my job and got a job to start a fundamental revolution at Carlisle United; I overworked the backroom staff as much as my tiny budget would allow, built a roster around youth and pored over the stats of lesser-known opponents to figure out the week’s schedule. Many other players would certainly have followed a similar path in previous games. But I think that’s the whole point of Football Manager. And that it’s still able to inspire different approaches from different players every year is impressive, even if it might not look very different on the surface.

I’m knocking on the playoffs door right now. You can’t hold onto a good gaffer. Football Manager 2022 review: a football nerd’s nirvana

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