This is the title that every soccer and management fan expects in a period of confinement. Far from considerations for current next-gen enthusiasts and more suitable for PC players, Football Manager 2021 Mobile has docked this week while waiting for the Touch version scheduled for December 1st. Not expected like the Messiah in terms of revolutionizing the saga, the new Interactive Sports game had the gift of surprising us with its new features during the beta phase. Enough to be at the level of the last two years?
ABOUT FOOTBALL MANAGER 2021 MOBILE
First of all, it’s time for the news, since the new version integrates the data of the Coronavirus at stake. After abandoning the idea of doing an update on Football Manager 2021 Mobile on this subject, the developers took the gamble of assuming the effects of the pandemic in the game… in part. Because the pandemic has a heavy impact on the finances of most teams, especially at the beginning of the season, and changes the rules accordingly (5 possible changes etc.), the public is always present, just like the current sports simulations. A puzzle not solved by Sports Interactive and that we understand, linked to the absence of ticketing in case of in-camera sessions combined with the modification of the situation in the following years. In short, the feature is rather interesting in spirit, impacting the beginning of the season, but not enough highlighted in the final rendering. We would have liked more information from the club assistants or via the menus on the consequences of the epidemic, and membership management on health measures such as what is currently happening in the clubs (PCR tests, quarantines etc.).
Otherwise, there are very few major, in-depth changes to the title and its layout. A concern? Not necessarily, so Football Manager 2021 Mobile had set the bar high in its balance and density: the game is still as complete as ever, with a nearly infinite and consistent database. However, it is regrettable that several flaws remain in the effectiveness of some formations since we have still seen the incredible power of the Gegenpress regardless of the level of the league played. The team vision on the long term is still in place, and the addition of the analyst will be noted. An unprecedented role to work with the scout, especially when it comes to the statistics of the targeted players. Already mentioned in our last preview, the expected goals statistic (xG – details below) is omnipresent in Football Manager 2021 Mobile. In addition, the licenses are still not ultra-complete in terms of logos and via some absences (Juventus is still called Zebre), although we welcome the addition of three new selections (Argentina, Canada and Mexico).
SOUTH AMERICAN ATMOSPHERE BEHIND THE SCENES
The novelty to remember for Football Manager 2021 Mobile on the form is the appearance of interactions. In addition to giving interest back to press conferences and talks, whereas most FM players used to send their assistants to save time in previous editions. It is now possible to add gestures to one’s means of expression to give weight to one’s words, to convince, to nod, to be positive or, conversely, to shock by throwing a bottle in the locker room. It’s a nice idea, but it doesn’t really make an impression on the results, matches or individual performances. Something is still missing for the feature to be really effective. Especially since the actors confronted with these gestures and interaction remain most of the time quite stoic and lack interesting respondents. A quick chat (see screen opposite) is also present to solicit players and actors of the soccer ecosystem (journalists, staff, etc.) but does not really go further like interactions in general.
The nerve of the war for Football Manager 2021 Mobile remains the progress in the retranscription of matches. Unfortunately, it is still not possible to simulate a match in a few seconds and the visual preview of the games, which was the talk of the last few editions, blows hot and cold. The match UI has been rethought, and in the right direction: the parasitic elements at the top of the screen have been removed, with only the score and slow-motion/speed simulation parameters remaining. At the bottom is the team composition to adjust the team live and take advantage of the 5 changes this season. Individual instructions are also faster with a simple click on the player in question. It’s simple, more accessible and a perfect buffer next to the indigestible stats lines displayed between highlights.
As for 3D, it’s more complicated. SI had promised new visual effects in terms of lighting and weather, but these can’t hide the colossal delay in its game time in terms of modelling and animation. Drooling images, lawns that look too artificial, repetitive and unconvincing animations, identical players, the room for improvement is huge from this point of view, and we are once again disappointed that the British studio did not manage to bluff us on this point this year, even if it is not the heart of Football Manager 2021 Mobile.
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