Football Manager 21 Xbox Edition Review (Series X)

  • Genre: Simulation, Sports
  • Platforms: Xbox Series X/S/One and PC
  • Developer | Publisher: Sports Interactive, SEGA Europe Ltd
  • Age Rating: PEGI 3
  • Price: UK £29.99
  • Release Date: 1st December 2020

Football Manager has finally returned to the Xbox. The last outing for Sports Interactive’s highly anticipated Football Manager game was back in 2006 on the Xbox 360. Of course we can go back down memory lane where it all began before Football Manager, with Championship Manager on PC during the mid to late 90s.

Gameplay

Firstly, I too was a bit concerned how this game would be mapped out on controller than compared to keyboard and mouse. Yes, PC is still the main platform you would want to play Football Manager, however, Sports Interactive have made it easy, not too much hassle to navigate the menus, which there is a bit (get onto some of that later), and surprised they pulled it off.

Sports Interactive has been developing for console such as the Nintendo Switch with Football Manager Touch, so from that experience it did make me feel a bit less concerned. FM21 Xbox Edition is pretty much the PC version, but slightly less things. Picking your squad, tactics, formations and going into detail where players are progressing see their improved stats and the stats they aren’t doing good at. FM21 is a very hands on game with loads of detail giving you the player multiple choice on what to do. Of course all these menus, sub-catergories can be very overwhelming for new players. These such features is what made Football Manager stand out amongst the rest. The only successful football manager game on console dates back to the PS1 with Codemasters, LMA Manager, up until LMA 2007 which ironically released on Xbox 360.

Using LMA as a comparison. It was the bare basics of a simulation game of football, where you as the manager. You can buy, sell or loan players, tactics, player contracts etc. Over the years LMA progressed more and more, whilst no competition on consoles, until Championship Manager decided to branch onto console when the Xbox and PS2 hit. Yet LMA proved popular still. So, what am I getting on about exactly here? It’s rather simple. There hasn’t been a decent football Manager game on console for years, and Sports Interactive have delivered it.

Going into some of the detail such as player contracts, be that renewal of contracts or buying new players. Adding bonuses like scoring, add on fees that clubs will get if you sell on like percentage of that sale if the player you buy or sell moves on elsewhere, you will get either 5 to 15% onwards depending on what you negotiated.

It’s all there if you want the true fully football sim in your hands.

FM21 Xbox Edition also brings the 3D match engine. Its mainly highlights, though most of the match will be played. Of course the games of old had stats galore, which you still have to see where on the pitch you are superior or lacking. It’s nice to see the magic on the pitch with your inform players banging in the goals, watching the youngsters becoming ballers and showing the experienced players how its done.

Difficulty

Football Manager can be difficult, very difficult infact. You could easily have the best team to grace the planet. Yet if you dont have a game plan, tactics or the right players to suit your mould and style of play? You could be in right trouble. On the other hand and you do have all that. It could all well be a walk in the park. For me I used the 4-2-3-1 formation set to balanced, versatile tika-taka. Having the players playing in their preferred positions, also meant over a period of time those players chemistry improved so much, they were link, making them even better. A feature that could well be compared to in FIFA Ultimate Team.

With that formation and tactic set up. I went onto unbeaten season, won the premiership with Arsenal, FA Cup and Europa Cup. As much as Arsenal pains me to watch them currently in real life… At least I can bring back former glories, be that on FM21 Xbox Edition.

Conclusion

If you are after a full sim football manger game, then look no further. A lot of new players on Xbox would most likely be heavily invested in FIFA 21, especially FUT. Again, Football Manager is what it says on the tin. Don’t expect a smooth ride either as this game can go either way. It’s a must-have for football fans overall. The depth the Xbox Edition has is more than enough to sink your teeth into and will keep you busy until FM22 releases. Of course if you have a PC, you can always cross save over vice versa between Xbox and PC.

Verdict
I have achieved what Arsenal wants and needs since 2004. I did the treple in my first full season with Arsenal, premiership, FA Cup and the Europa Cup. The fun hasn’t even started yet but I am on course to eclipse Wenger and Wengerball. FM 21 Xbox Edition is a superb game and very rewarding when your vision pays off.

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