Sport can build bridges and fracture friendships in seconds. It has an emotive culture and demands full loyalty and devotion from its fans and players. Many sports are huge, but I think we all agree that football is enormous. Whether you play, coach, or watch, it’ll get under your skin and will make you passionate. We all have an opinion on how things should be done, and that’s why football management games are so popular. Football Manager 2022 Xbox Edition is the latest title that’ll test your coaching abilities, among other things.
Developed by Sports Interactive and published by Sega, this is a sports simulation title. The latest instalment in a long-running franchise, this time sink game will have would-be managers champing at the bit. Whenever a game spans many iterations, I always worry it won’t evolve. Many sports games rinse and repeat gameplay with minor changes, so will this be any different?
Football Manager 2022 builds on its stable foundations.
The adage if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it is always a great starting point. Football Manager 2022 retains much of its familiar gameplay and charm while offering a more in-depth experience. Fans will adore how the developers have built on some of 2021’s expansive features while focusing on statistic analysis, improved graphics, a more fulfilling transfer window, and so forth.
However, for all its fantastic qualities, there are some glaring admissions. The most obvious of these is the lack of Manchester United. A trademark disagreement forces Sports Interactive to name them Man UFC. This isn’t a big deal, but it certainly brought back memories of International Superstar Soccer and its lack of licensing… Good Times indeed. There is also a lack of women’s football, which is a big oversight. This element of the beautiful game is growing ever-popular and fans expect the option to be available. Maybe 2023 will be the year this much-needed feature is incorporated. Finally, COVID-19 doesn’t exist! The “normal” world restrictions do not apply and you can finally escape the pandemic once and for all.
Addictive gameplay and so much depth.
There are oodles of minor and major tweaks to this year’s version. However, it’s still addictive as hell and a widow maker. You will lose your life to the in-depth tactical options, scouting network, transfer market, interaction with agents, and so forth. Playing Football Manager 2022 is like taking on a second job, albeit for free and much more fun.
The action is spread across 52 countries and over 100 leagues, so finding a team to manage isn’t an issue. You can start in the minor leagues and work your way up, or control your childhood team. The selection is mind-blowing, as you are truly spoilt for choice.
This vast choice is a staple for Sports Interactive and something its many fans expect to see. What I didn’t expect, however, was how much data I’d have to wade through, or how time-consuming it would be. Luckily, though, you have staff at hand to remove much of the finer elements if you so wish. They’ll offer reports, manage training, and do the day-to-day tasks. Subsequently, this makes it a little easier to play. With such a large amount of information, casual gamers will be overwhelmed. Yet, hardcore players and Football Manager aficionados will be in their element.
Analytical players will love the addition of the Data hub. Building on last year’s inclusion of xG and deeper match analysis, the developers have gone one step further. There is a dedicated data hub that appears on its own tab in the menus. This contains a vast wealth of information to help each budding manager to succeed. It helps you to view key reports while micromanaging every element of your team.
Here you can see how minor decisions can impact your match day chances. It has a simple overview for casual gamers and a data dump of facts for the would-be professional. You can observe trends in behaviour, each team member’s performance, and so forth. There really is too much for me to include in this review, but it’s a massive leap for this much-loved franchise.
Football Manager 2022 has a clean UI and improved graphics.
Year on year, it becomes more visually impressive and the match view is the pièce de résistance. The smoother, more realistic movement makes this key element much more pleasant on the eye. We all know the tactics, winning, and transfers keep us going. Yet, much of the gameplay focuses on match day, so I’m glad the developers enhanced this component. Alongside this, you experience a buttery smooth user interface that is simple to navigate. Loading screens are quick and this helps to reduce waiting times. With so much information on display, a messy screen would have been appalling. Luckily, however, it’s all manageable and you control how much you want to see and digest.
Though there are year on year improvements, the audio rarely changes. With limited sounds used outside of match day, gamers are left to their own devices. However, when it’s game time, the action is awash with noise. Thanks to the wonderful and familiar sounds of each stadium, each game sounds realistic and has a high energy atmosphere. It’s a small thing, but it makes such a difference in quite a serious and slow-paced title.
Excellent on console.
When a game is this big, there is always a worry it won’t work on console. However, I was wrong as the developers have worked extremely hard to port it correctly. There has been attention paid to the intuitive UI and the ease to move between menus. Every element of it flows brilliantly and playing it is effortless. It’s night and day from last year’s instalment and I applaud Sports Interactive for the gameplay and performance improvements.
This is normally the moment I discuss why you’ll want to keep playing the game. What can I say? Football Manager 2022 will keep you busy all year and beyond if you let it. You’ll play late into the night and be exhausted the next day, but it’ll be worth it. Moreover, completionists have a mountain to climb thanks to the brutal achievement list. If you buy it, it’s great value for money, yet a Game Pass subscription player can download it free of charge.
Football Manager 2022 is everything you want from the genre and more.
I swore to myself I wouldn’t play another FM game as they take over my life. However, here I am already hooked on its addictive gameplay. Thanks to its inclusion of the in-depth data hub, and the improvements to last year’s action, this is the best Football Manager yet. I loved it and recommend you to buy it here! Can you become the world’s greatest manager, or will you get a lowly team to the pinnacle of the footballing structure? Anything is possible if you have the skills, patience, and time.