Football Manager 2020 is further version of the series, with updated graphics, updated team squads and slight changes to gameplay itself.
Football Manager is the main, and to be honest, the only serious still running series of football manager games on PC, it offers a lot of data to dig into, a lot of countries to choose from and 3D match preview, but at the same time lack of competition made the game a bit stale and somehow user unfriendly.
All major football competitions in over 50 countries are simulated, which also includes local and international cups. National teams are also available to take over.
Over 50 countries are available with real competition names, club names and player names. No matter what club or nation you will choose all of the competitions are simulated, although some of them only take place "in the background", f.e. while playing in Italy you can access the data from Northern Ireland and the players will have statistics, but the league itself is not fully simulated.
Each player is described using 36 parameters, technical, tactical, mental and physical, each of the parameters have value between 1 and 20. The set of the parameters did not changed much through the years, among them are typical parameters like finishing, crossing, dribbling, flair or pace, but also some of them are very specific like jumping reach, long throws or corners.
Each player also have few parameters that describe his personality and his approach to the club, his future and other players (this version of the game includes the team hierarchy that describes which players are leaders of the team and which influence the others).
Basic player management options are available, like contract extension, transfer status and wages negotiations, also you can use meetings with the team or the player personally to influence his mood or his decisions.
Training schedule handles the planned sessions, which includes also the time for players to regenerate after the game.
Direct transfers from other clubs, free agents and loan deals are available. The scouting options are extensive, although in some cases could be surprisingly hard to handle, f.e. you can assign transfer targets for scouts, like player age and potential, but also with about dozen of other parameters, although some of them are not fully explained inside the game in the game manual. Transfer negotiations include the player contract negotiations with some degree of detail.
Tactics are one of the most developed parts of Football Manager, which on some level is a strong point of the game, but at the same time is sometimes a burden. The formation and lineup selection is at first a bit muddy to understand and grasp the basic concepts, but then you dive into world of savant level of detail, in which you can change several parameters for each of the players taking part in the match. During lineup selection only part of the player data are available, some of the elements are shortened or displayed as icons, which at the beginning could be tricky to say the least.
Nice element of tactics is inclusion of the opponent - through data you can gather via scouts and other staff members you can see the predicted formation of your opponent and assign parameters to them (how you expect them to play or what are their strong / weak points), which give the game a lot of depth.
Match engine involves the 3D animations, which on one hand can give you some idea of your team performance (even in highlights from the match), but at the same time it is one of the least effective ways to analyze the match, mostly due to limitations of the engine itself. Often the situations presented in match engine are just unrealistic, f.e. defenders do not attack player currently on the ball, but keep their distance and just wait to see what will happen. This does not give you as manager much knowledge - is the player on the ball so good that he mesmerized the defence line or is your defence line just lazy.
Player statistics from matches are available in his details, but their presentation leaves a lot to be desired - simple Excel-like columns of numbers do not make it easy to get through them.
Just like with tactics there are plenty of team management options to choose from in Football Manager 2020, but at the same time some of them do not seem to have much influence on the gameplay. New options in this version of the game is "club vision", where you can define the philosophy behind your club, which is a nice touch, but to be honest is nor here nor there - it just is in the menu and that is the whole bunch of fun you can have with it.
Some of the options rather basic in other games are missing here, f.e. you have no influence on the sponsorship deals or club events, but at the same time you can take a loan as a club... So you are not competent to deal with sponsors of take care of the stadium, but you are welcome to put your club in debts.
There are no options to improve stadium.
There is a long list of staff members that you can hire, from sports director, head coach, fitness coach, goalkeeping coach, to chief doctor, chief scout, chief data analyst or head of youth development. Some of them are needed to make the data available for you, but most of them are just there and it is hard to determine how important they are for current form of your team.
There are no options to full multiplayer game, you can play together with other players on single computer making your decisions in turns.
After Championship Manager finally stopped being contender Football Manager became the single leader in the market of tripple-A football manager games, which is unfortunately not a good thing. Of course, it is good thing for creators of FM, for their accountants and PR people, but not for the market. Lack of competition makes the sole leader lazy, which leads to mistakes and in all fairness in last few years Football Manager just concentrates on tiny little changes to the game and cashing in on the squad updates.
The 2020 version offers few minor changes to the game options, few graphic improvements and slightly changed interface, but overall for few years it is the same game that appeals to certain portion of the genre fans - those players, who love to dig into the tiny details of the tactical settings that are hard to determine how exactly change the gameplay. For those, who prefer simplicity and easy access to data FM 2020 has very little to offer.
In a way Football Manager became icon for the "hardcore" football manager game fans, who spend hours, days and weeks perfecting the settings of their tactics, but for new players the experience could be a bit unappealing - there are dozens of parameters to fiddle with, some of them are not fully explained (f.e. some of the roles you can assign to your players, like mezzala), some of them are just hard to understand (f.e. what is a "goalkeeper rating").
Rating: 1.6 based on 5 votes