Sports Interactive are tireless in their efforts to make their renowned football management sim smarter and more realistic every year. While there’s some big features waiting in the wings for next year, Football Manager 2024 takes a good few steps forward, building on everything that’s come before to still be one of the most in depth and complete experiences in the genre.
When you first fire up Football Manager 2024, you will be greeted with one of the first new features, as you’re able to import your FM 2023 save. All the work you have put in with your previous game can be ported over to take advantage of the other features of the new game, and that’s fantastic, with the only snags being that the game can run slower for a while as everything is imported in the background, and that you can’t earn FM24’s achievements. Then again, there’s always the appeal of starting afresh, and the new ‘real life’ setting means that actual player transfers are reflected in the game. Once you have started or loaded in your game, it’s then time to really delve into what the game has to offer.
Picking your team is the first step, and you have the option to pick from hundreds of teams around the world, each with their own goals, challenges and budgets. A big team like Manchester City will compete for the top prizes, while a semi-professional outfit in the lower leagues with a small budget and part time players might just want survival. The J-League has also been added to the game, offering a new competition to compete in. Whatever, your choice your goal is to meet the targets of the board and the fan expectations.
With any squad there are players that are key to the club and some that sit on the fringe or are not needed at all, and it is up to you as manager to decide who stays and plays, and who goes on to new pastures. Previously if you were opting to sell a player you would list them and set a transfer fee, and offer to clubs. A new feature in Football Manager 2024 are intermediaries. Once you list a player you can hire an intermediary to find a new club for the player you are selling. It won’t always work, so you can also ask players to look for a new club themselves. Another option is to loan players out, and here another new feature is included.
When you send a player out you can talk to them and set targets. Targets come paired with promises to make to the player, such as giving them more minutes on their return should they hit the goal. Targets are not just for players that are sent out on loan, but players in your squad to get the best of them. They will not always be happy and will ask to speak to you. In fact, it seems players in Football Manager 2024 are much more forthcoming in their thoughts, and chats with individuals and the team are a regular occurrence.
Keeping the players off the pitch is part of making them perform better on the pitch, and there are a number of ways to do this. Tactics are a key part and set pieces have had an overhaul in this game. When starting you can decide on the way your team will approach set pieces, and from their coaching staff will create set piece tactics based on your parameters. It helps, but being active yourself when it comes to creating and refining tactics is how you will get the better results, and come to know more about your players and how they play.
Of course you can sit back and allow for your backroom staff to take on the majority of jobs, going by their recommendations, but their decisions are not going to be perfect. Monitoring player training, their performances, and keeping an eye on the market is how your squad will improve. If it doesn’t and fails, well you’re most likely out of a job. Board expectations have always been a key metric in Football Manager, but in Football Manager 2024 boards seem much more reactive, and at times harder to please.
When it comes to the on-pitch action, player movement and animations are move fluid. You can see them pulling some tricks when passing, and spotting space and running into it is more realistic with improved ball movement too. On the whole, the matchday experience seems a bit more lifelike, and you can clearly see how your players are doing, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement, which will hopefully come alongside the switch to Unity game engine for Football Manager 2025.