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Rarely does one game or series manage to monopolise a genre. But once again SI show why no one can compete with the only best football management simulation to date.

7.5

Author's rating

Overall rating

Story
7.0
Gameplay
8.0
Visuals
7.0
Overall rating
7.5
Pros
  • Core mechanics are immensely fun, including team and financial management, and social feeds
  • Development Centre is interesting and useful
  • Modest match engine and graphical improvements, including upgrades to manager appearances
  • Slightly improved press conferences and tunnel interviews; your manual comments can slightly benefit or hinder player morale.
Cons
  • Series has a need for material improvement including: more animations and enhancing the fluidity of matches, more applicable feedback from players and staff, press conferences, and financial management such as customising and managing club facilities and managing tickets/negotiating sponsorship deals
  • Underwhelming Club Vision and player negotiation features
  • Inability to identify applicability of new backroom staff and the supposed improvements to staff.

Football Manager 2020 Review

Football Manager 2020 (FM20) is a football management game developed by Sports Interactive and published by SEGA. It was released on 19 November 2019. In this review, I will briefly cover Football Manager game play, run through the features introduced in FM20 and provide a perspective on the state of the game.

In FM20, you, the player, manage a football team through 118 playable leagues. Of this 118, 26 leagues in 14 countries are fully licensed and another 24 teams (national and domestic teams) are licensed. Within the 26 leagues: French Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, German leagues one to three, and English leagues two to four are fully licensed. The English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, and Italian leagues are not; though the Serie A has 18 of 20 licensed teams.

FM 2020 Game Mechanics

Football Manager incorporates a variety of features and mechanics; including, but not limited to, 2D and 3D football matches, squad training, scouting and transfers, tactics, and financial management. The series also includes a vibrant modding community. In FM20, SI various smaller features such as Club Vision – long-term club progression, the introduction of the Development Centre, transfer negotiation improvements, better integration of backroom staff into your operations, and match engine and graphic upgrades.

I reflect on these main marketed features as small, but solid quality of life features that has a ton of room for improvement in future iterations. Club Vision enables you to consider the long-term aspect of the game, however I found that negotiating a different vision is not user-friendly to do and the Board of Directors offers you little flexibility to amend their vision.

Further, Club Vision allows for player negotiations to be interesting by offering players different playing times, but a mechanic that SI should balance because the penalty for not adhering to the playing time is little.

More on FM20’s features: The Development Centre is a cool feature that consolidates your developmental squads into a single UI. This is a neat addition because you can treat your reserve squads similarly, and staff provide useful contextual advice to you on the progression of players.

The changes to backroom staff are visible, i.e. you can select Technical Directors and Loan Managers, but I have yet to see any observations in their role. Lastly, the match engine and graphic upgrades are nice, but the match engine has a lot of room for improvement. If I summarise FM20 by the above features is relevant, yet underwhelming, but nice inclusions to expand on the core game mechanics.

Perspective on Annual Releases

I have played Football Manager since Football Manager 2012. Across these last four iterations, I recall that only two of the four (2017 and 2019) made substantial changes to the game. It appears that SI Games has a formula which Year X incorporates large changes and Year Y focusses on quality of life improvements that expand or address concerns on features from Year X.

I acknowledge the concerns of the community and question the situation: Is SI Games complacent? I think the football management market has a lack of competition and variety. While SI Games makes enjoyable annual games, I think they could address more community concerns, particularly with the match engine and to fix the various glitches and bugs throughout the game.

I do appreciate that SI Games is expanding the licensing of official teams and leagues because it makes playing the game a more enjoyable experience. But in saying that, I vastly enjoy the Football Manager series and it is addictive; though sometimes a frustrating experience.

FM20 Final Verdict

FM20 is an ultimately enjoyable game. It benefits from having a strong foundation of team management and football simulation, at the consequence of visible stagnation to new features and post-launch support.

FM20 specifically, has some nice features, but I applaud more the many quality of life changes implemented by SI Games. If you are new to Football Manager, I recommend FM20 at full price. If you own FM19, I recommend the game on sale.

What do you think? As always, we welcome all views. So, feel free to air your stance in the comments.

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