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The wait is over, the game is here, and our FM24 review is in. Football Manager 2024 promised to be the most complete version of FM we’ve ever seen.
After many years of annual releases, Sports Interactive aimed to deliver a game that perfectly encompassed all of the different changes, tweaks and tactical adjustments that have been made over the past decade.
A soft reboot is coming next year in the form of a fresh-looking Football Manager 2025. The FM24 release is somewhat of a final chapter in this era of FM, but does that kind of pressure leave the installment falling flat?
From shiny new features to a host of small tweaks across the board, it’s time to delve into our tactics board and assess whether Football Manager 2024 hits all the right notes and scores the perfect 10.
Every year, Sports Interactive makes a conscious effort to give the overall FM UI a refresh. This year, we’ve moved from the torn paper and purple-striped effect of the previous instalment to a darker, orange-tinted hub.
Whilst this is purely a cosmetic change, it does go some way to making FM24 stand on its own immediately. A number of the actual in-game features feel more familiar rather than revolutionary.
In many ways, SI’s success has backed this franchise into a corner. Fans hardly clamour for major overhauls, rather subtle adjustments that perfect what was already on offer.
In my eyes, that’s exactly what Football Manager 2024 does. If you loved the previous games then you are going to love this one.
The headline features for Football Manager 2024 gave away its more subtle approach. The focus is on matchday experience, transfer negotiations and a new set-piece maker.
We’ll start with the latter as it’s arguably the single biggest change that SI has implemented this year.
Like most FM features, the set-piece builder is difficult to navigate at first. However, it quickly becomes a tool that can enhance your side’s offensive and defensive capabilities.
Giving you autonomy on the type of marking you implement, how many players you throw forward, or what kind of delivery you require, the set-piece designer is perfect for the gaffers who want to be in control of every situation.
However, you can also default to your coach’s choices. This means there’s always a helping hand to guide you along the way.
Another new feature that caught our eye is the three different world types you can choose from. All of them offer something unique and give FM a whole new lease of life, especially when it comes to getting stuck into a new save.
For this review, I opted for the authentic experience but have seen many go in other directions. If you want to save Neymar from the Saudi League, you can do this with the ‘your world’ choice. There are plenty of other options available to give your FM save that extra feeling of personalisation.
Better than ever
On the pitch, there are a plethora of changes that truly make Football Manager 2024 feel like the best instalment in the franchise.
The first thing we noticed when loading into our first game was the major effect that the lighting changes have had, with environments and gameplay immediately feeling more authentic.
The clunky and robotic movement of FM games of the past is also gone, with players now moving effortlessly across the pitch with realistic movements and more true-to-life decision-making.
Last year, there was plenty of discussion around the merits of FM’s graphics and that seems to have kicked the team into gear.
Football Manager 2024’s on-pitch experience is a marvel from minute one, with everything feeling like a step up from previous editions of the game.
Whilst my penchant for 2D Classic meant that I wasn’t bothered about the previous lacklustre graphics, I can definitely say that the improvements made this year has made me a 3D convert.
It may not be EA FC levels, but with everything else on offer, it’s hard to argue that Football Manager now offers the best single-player football gaming experience available on the market.
Our one main point of complaint remains with the club/transfer AI. Many deals are still impossible to pull off due to inflated asking prices. Whilst this does reflect the way of the modern world, it would be nice if some transfer budgets were more accurately adapted in order to open up the market.
Hello, old friend
One thing I’ve always hated about the arrival of a new FM game is waving goodbye to your old save. Hours upon hours of work quickly dissipate and saying goodbye to a favorite save is often a tough task.
Football Manager 2024 negates that heartache. This year’s game gives you the ability to load up any save from Football Manager 2023.
We tried this feature, almost dubious of it, only to find that it is a real game changer. A save that was simulated into the year 2042 took a grand total of 2 minutes to load, with every piece of information present and no glitches found.
Whilst cosmetic features and fundamental changes will stand out, this capability is easily one of the best new additions to any Football Manager game ever.
The choice is truly in your hands. Starting fresh or continuing where you left off, you will not be disappointed with what Football Manager 2024 has to offer.
Setting the standard
Overall, it’s hard to see Football Manager 2024 as anything less than the greatest instalment in the series’ history.
The aim was to create the ultimate FM experience and that has been achieved. Everything culminates to create one of the best single-player sporting experiences available in the world of gaming.
Whilst FM24 doesn’t drastically change the formula, all new features are carefully considered and only serve to enhance the quality that was already on display.
It feels like the team at Sports Interactive has been building towards this moment for some time. They once again showcase their love and care for this outstanding, and often overlooked, genre.
In a time where so many games are focussing on the flashiest possible graphics, Football Manager 2024 strips the shimmer back to its bare bones and instead presents us with one of the best sports games ever released.
Reviewed on PC. Game provided by the publisher.