There are so many football management games that you may be forgiven to dismiss FIFA Manager 12 as more of the same. However, dig a little deeper and you will find a game that has had improvements from last year’s offering. It has more options and the glitches of previous titles have all but disappeared and you’re left with a pleasing football sim that shows the matches lives in fully 3D graphics. This makes it a pretty good update, but are the changes big enough to justify the price tag? And is FIFA Manager 12 a better experience?
So firstly, you are the boss, the head cheese and the Mac Daddy if you will. You take control of a team in any one of the huge number of leagues and divisions present, I chose Juventus as they are my team in real life. You then set your name, country of origin and the rest of the normal personal information. The first aspect that strikes you about FIFA Manager 2012 is the pleasing look to the UI and the ease with which all the different options are accessed - and believe me, there are a hell of a lot of options to manage and mess around with. Everything you had before is here, for example, you can take control of the tactics, lineup, signing players, the staff you can hire, training the team and even the stadium.
Yes, you can finally change the ticket prices and the actual stadium plans and seat numbers like you always wanted. As long as you have the cash, anything is possible in this game. A neat touch is that, in this game, the board take some of the cash for their emergency money, this is basically a way to keep you spending in check and gives you a sense of responsibility and realism (the point of a sim). Since this is a FIFA game, of course every team, player, license, kit and sponsor is present, and for the most part portrayed very well. Even the pictures of most of the players are real and the attributes they have seem to be more accurate than previous games (damn, Ronaldo).
A cool feature is the stadium editor, where you can do whatever you like as you can customize every aspect of the stadium. You can assign guests boxes for hospitality, you can pick the ticket prices and there is probably an option to pick the waiter you want bringing your drink over. It’s true that stadiums do age and so rebuilding and renovating is a key part, although I don’t know if it’s a manager’s role to be honest, but nonetheless, this is a good touch. There are also lots of new features this year including pre-match speeches. These basically gee up your team, but I didn’t really see what effect my words had on morale.
Another feature is the trial days you can plan where you can poach the new young talents and see the stars of the future, although so far I haven’t seen anyone I like. During matches you can make substitutions and tactical changes as well as toggle between text commentary or 3D match mode. The 3D mode is pretty nice and gives the feeling of a real football game actually happening based on your choices. The animations, for the most part, are smooth but sometimes they are laggy and I even had one case when the ball disappeared for a bit. They don’t take too much graphical power though, so a low end GPU is ok.
My favorite bit of FIFA Manager 2012 is the editor mode where you can make yourself, as I did. I was the best player at Juventus and scored crap loads of goals. The editor allows you to make changes to any team, league or player and make transfers based on real life teams so your game is always up-to-date. You can also do this via the live updates but this costs real cash. There is also an online mode, but it’s really hard to find and you have to launch it through Windows (odd), but its good for what it is. I don’t really think that lots of your mates will want to do this, but still it’s good to have just in case. The sounds are not bad; it’s odd that the music is somthing out of an epic historical film like Gladiator, but this does add a lot of tension.
Overall, this is a nice update to last year’s game. There are new features, but I don’t think they are good enough to persuade players with the old game to buy the new one. I do believe, though, that new players to the series will buy this and it will be a good starting point for them. The menus are easily accessible and the options give you a fully immersive experience. Football sims are hit and miss at the best of times but FIFA Manager 12 is hit. It’s time to tinker with your team once again.
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