Football Manager 2023 has finally arrived, and this year, Sega has made the game available on more platforms than ever. Players can access the Sports Interactive-developed simulation game on all four versions - PC, Console, Touch, and Mobile. However, I believe in playing the game on my laptop, and that's what I have been doing since 2015. After all, the series is all about the incredible amount of detailing and micromanagement that comes with it.
Once again, Sports Interactive has certainly satisfied me as far as the overall product is concerned. I started playing on October 22, and much of the gameplay has been in beta. As we all know, the beta is, after all, the beta; in other words, some issues did prop up due to its early access nature. However, the overall performances and improvements made this year are quite clear.
Football Manager 2023 is the classic tale of a good game getting even better with time
When the pandemic struck in 2020, game development was one of the hardest-hit sectors worldwide. The backbone of Football Manager 2023 was laid during two tough years. Despite the challenges, Sports Interactive has improved year-on-year, and the results are pretty evident.
Don't get me wrong - there are ample grounds for criticism, some of which can be found in this review. But the overall product is solid, and I was pleasantly surprised by a few changes. Some of them might be cosmetic, while others directly impact the gameplay.
Football Manager 2023 hasn't undergone a significant change in the game engine, but there have been improvements. I feel that this is where Sports Interactive has done a major chunk of the work. While the core game engine feels the same, matches are far more complex than they used to be.
The days of plug-and-play tactics seem to be over, and Sports Interactive has done this to offer a more demanding challenge. This distinction is much more prominent when it comes to home and away matches. There's a clear gap in home advantage, meaning players must strategize accordingly.
I also found shifting tactics during matches to be important. In last year's edition, this requirement was less crucial than it is this time around. It's best not to be very reactionary, but slightly tweaking the tactics and instructions can be very rewarding.
I found some big differences in how tactics are carried out in the game. The lack of cohesiveness among players would often cause frustrations from previous years. Things like players shooting from impossible angles instead of simple passes are now gone. Yes, you will be required to add it as player instructions, but the overall feature has improved.
Football Manager 2023 also seems to be much more rewarding for standard formations. The 4-3-3 has been my go-to tactic, and it's quite realistic, matching real-life conditions. Mentality is another area that has undergone a major improvement.
Playing defensively has never made more sense than now, and it will be rewarding to play with such tactics. I don't prefer playing in such a style with my beloved Manchester United, but it can be done when required. I firmly believe this change should have come earlier, as football teams play defensively in real life.
Scouting has undergone a few significant changes this time around, and some were badly needed for a long time. It's the most important task in the game, irrespective of your club's stature. Good scouting will allow you to get the next wonderkid for cheap and make clubs profitable.
The basic layout has changed with the scouting center's introduction. Make no mistake - the scouting center isn't very different from the earlier versions. However, the reports are much more precise, allowing you to better gauge the value of a prospect.
I also found it interesting that scouts rate a deal in good regard if the finances are worth it. After all, the valuation of a deal will naturally become a factor in calling it a good or a bad deal. In that regard, bargains will be given better ratings by your scouts even when the quality of the footballer may be low.
I started my Football Manager 2023 journey on October 21 with a close beta period on PC. Understandably, this period will be full of bugs and crashes, but the performance was quite smooth. To date, I have encountered only one crash in over 250 hours of gameplay.
As for the in-game performances, there have been marked improvements as well. Both saving and loading occur more quickly than in earlier iterations, and there are slight improvements in the in-game processes. There can be further improvements, but the device I tested is quite dated. You'll get better results on more upgraded devices, especially with 16 GB of RAM.
The graphics engine has also been improved in Football Manager 2023, but I couldn't fully test the credentials due to the limited hardware. However, the improvements are quite clear, and the new animations will entertain the players. That said, Sports Interactive seems to have focused more on accessibility than visual upgrades.
The minimum and recommended requirements have stayed the same, so the work done by Sports Interactive has improved the older engine. Not only do they impact the gameplay, but they also look better and add to their immersiveness.
Football Manager 2023 doesn't bring a radically new formula by any means, irrespective of how Sports Interactive advertises its product. However, it's for the best, as players can identify this year's release with the iconic status of the franchise.
This will be my seventh Football Manager game in a sequence on PC, and this is the hardest I have felt beating opponents. Matches tend to be easier at home, which is how football works in real life. While away matches don't become impossible, it's a lot harder than home fixtures.
Sports Interactive may have done the best job by making AI more complex. It adds so much more in terms of challenges, and it's unlikely that my current save will become boring anytime soon.
As far as the new changes and features in Football Manager 2023 are concerned, they are all positive. The new scouting system is better, but it takes players to relearn the older system. The new licenses for the European competitions are a wonderful little addition to Football Manager 2023. Overall, it's a solid release from Miles Jacobson and his team and worth getting at full price.
Football Manager 2023
Reviewed On: PC (Review code provided by Sega)
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Windows, iOs, Android
Developer: Sports Interactive
Release Date: November 8, 2022