Sorry, this review is late. I was a bit busy trying to win some trophies. Don’t worry though, I’ve been fired now, so I have plenty of time to write. Doesn’t unemployment suck?
Football Manager 2020 is a cruel game. Taking over the reigns of Glasgow Rangers FC after the departure of Steven Gerrard, I was hopeful of bringing success to the club I love. While the budget to buy players was pretty poor, twisting the arm of my board allowed me to purchase the young and upcoming Lewis Ferguson from Aberdeen, who also happens to be the nephew of club legend and former captain Barry Ferguson. Soon into the season I also found myself in need of a new left-back, since my regular starter and Croatian Internationalist, Borna Barasic, was injured for 9 months during a pre-season friendly. The choice of replacement left-back was Harry Pickering, I’ve no idea who he is but the Director of Football suggested him and he turned out to be a more than able deputy, so I can’t complain.
Anyway, with two new players on board, the season began. My star striker Alfredo Morelos was on fire, scoring in what seemed like every game, while the team were also firing on all cylinders. We flew through our Europa Cup qualifying legs, easily reaching the group stages and the season started well, even managing to trash Celtic 3-0 at home (get it up you Celtic) and reaching the final of the BetFred Cup, which we managed to win with a convincing 2-0 victory over our greatest rivals (get it up you Celtic). Things were looking good, especially after qualifying top of our Europa League group and finishing the first half of the season on top of the league, but then things started to go a little pearshaped.
The problem with remaining in all competitions is fixture congestion and with this comes players being injured or just exhausted. While my squad was surely large enough to cope, it seems too many injuries in the same position started to cost us some form. This resulted in some poor results in the league and us being knocked out of Europe. The board was still happy, after all I had guided Rangers to the first knockout stage of the Europa Cup and I had already won a trophy. However, you could tell they were feeling a little uneasy at me dropping to second in the league after a 0-3 away drubbing at the hands of Celtic.
Another cup run was in order and thankfully I guided the team all the way to the Scottish Cup final. Form was also starting to pick up again, most likely due to the fact we were out of Europe and therefore had less matches to worry about. By the time the league split we were only two points behind Celtic with five games to go and had to play them next, albeit away from home. Things were looking up until we lost 0-3 and Celtic went on to win the league, leaving us rooted to second place and 6 points off the championship. It didn’t help we lost the Scottish Cup final to them as well.
Looking back on my first season it was a bit of a mixed bag. We won the first cup available, negotiated a lot of Euro Cup qualifiers, won our group and qualified for the knock out stages. We also finished just six points off the leaders and reached the Scottish Cup final. Oh, and as a bonus, I also won the Scottish Football Writers Manager of the Year Award. Does that sound like a bad season to you? Because I was also sacked. I guess that is the life of a football manager.
The above is the typical experience you will face in Football Manager 2020. It can be a cruel game, but if you love football it is also a very exciting one. There are just so many options to choose from to ensure you can create a successful team. Whether you want to scour the transfer market and find the stars of tomorrow or train the team in a certain way, with tactics of your choosing. No matter which way you decide to manage the squad you have a team of professionals helping you every step of the way. Your scouts constantly suggest new signings and your assistant manager is always by your side to deputise, should you not fancy attending the latest press conference or just need a little advice during a match.
In my opinion, Football Manager is an experience which is hard to match. It’s a series that has been going for years and you can tell because it includes just about every detail you can imagine. The match highlights are fantastic and the ability to tweak tactics on the fly in order to ensure you win is just superb. You’ll probably lose your job now and again, but hey, there’s always another one around the corner.
Just a word on the Football Manager Stadia version. It works fantastic. I’ve been playing it on my iMac through the google browser and have had no issues whatsoever. The game loads lighting fast and there has been no lag at all. I’ve really enjoyed using it, I just wish I could play on iPhone or iPad now and again so that I could experience the game around the house on different devices, but I guess this feature is for the future.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*