Football Manager 2023 Review

A game for champions.
FM23 Header

Football Manager 2023 is, if you’ll excuse the rote commentator’s cliche, a video game sequel of two halves. On the one hand it now touts the UEFA license, adding the Champions League, Europa League and more to the series for the first time, but contrasting with the shine of that silverware, it takes another iterative step toward bringing all of the features that real world clubs use to players of a sports management sim.

Building the squad you want and need to challenge for titles is the core of professional football, and that’s the same for Football Manager. The scout reports come in regularly, highlighting players that scouts believe could be worth keeping an eye on, or signing immediately. These reports usually give players a letter rating with A+ being the highest, but the messaging does not always make sense. For example, a player may be rated a B with the recommendation of signing at all costs, while a player with a higher scout rating may have a comment like “could be a decent signing.” It’s a little bit muddled.

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Football Manager 2023 Data Hub

Those reports could use an overhaul in future games, but there has been a big addition to Football Manager 2023 for your squad building: the Squad Planner. This sandboxing tool lets you take a deep dive into each position and see how your squad could look not just in the current season, but in the next two seasons. In each position it will show which players could be crucial to your team’s success, and where players you have shortlisted could rank in your squad. You can also switch to see how different formations might look, if you’re considering a bigger rebuild. It’s a great tool and really helps in planning your own transfer policy, letting you really see where there are gaps in the squad, how players could come through the ranks, and where your current strengths are likely to continue.

Football Manager 2023 Matchday

Heading to the matches, the animations and AI have also been tweaked for Football Manager 2023. When it comes to animations and player movements there are some changes that make the match flow better, while manager AI has also been worked on to make opponent’s tougher to play against as they react throughout a game. However, there are some minor bugs with the match display. For example, in a couple of matches some of my players were in the opposition’s kit, which made things harder to follow than Manchester United playing in grey. It was not a regular occurrence though (much like Man Utd in grey).

Sports Interactive has also added a screen in the club vision that adds a breakdown of your fanbase. For example, Arsenal’s fanbase has a ‘hardcore’ group consisting of only 8%, while a ‘core’ group make up 27%. Other categories include family and casual fans. The make up of this in turn shows how influential fans are when it comes to club decisions. They will have their own expectations which can and will be different to the board too, feeding into the juggling act of managing the club as you’ll be quizzed during press conferences about how the fans feel about the job you’re doing

Football Manager 2023 Supporters

Thankfully, you can go as in depth as you want. You can offload a lot of responsibilities to your backroom staff if you just want to focus on match days, or you can deep dive right into sorting out individual training for each player, and taking note of every report that comes across your desk.

Most importantly, Football Manager 2023 is fun as well, even if you run the gamut of emotions as your plucky Arsenal squad suddenly goes 2-0 down to Nottingham Forest, completely wrecking your gameplay with just 15 minutes on the clock. Luckily, some tweaks saw my team make a 3-2 comeback, but the post match team talk was not fun for my squad! Side note: if you need a striker then Benfica’s Ramos is someone you should be looking at. He’s currently the league top scorer in my save.

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Summary
Football Manager 2023 is the most complete football management simulator yet, offering players tons of depth, but also letting them decide how deep they want to go. Just like real football, Football Manager 2023 captures the highs and lows of match days while engrossing you in this virtual football world.
Good
  • Squad planner helps with transfer policy
  • UEFA license brings proper European match days
  • Remains as fun as ever
Bad
  • Visual bug that changed the player’s kit to opposition
  • There's still room for improvement with scouting reports
9
Written by
From the heady days of the Mega Drive up until the modern day gaming has been my main hobby. I'll give almost any game a go.