Ahmed's Blog

FM21 (Beta) Review


It has been three days since the release of the FM2021 beta, and I have clocked 20 hours already on it, taking Brentford to the top of the championship winning streak all the way till December, while learning my way through the massive changes SI applied to the series.

Football Manager 2021 is by far THE BEST iteration of the game so far. While some changes are hard to accept, but its final effect makes the simulation of a football manager much more immersive. Here I will discuss my verdict of the game:

  1. FM21 is very much more quicker than FM20

    The game is much more optimized and snappy. Saving in particular is much more quicker. On average, my game saves in around 4 seconds as compared to 10+ seconds on FM20. Loading new careers, switching between panels, processing breaks and matches are all much more responsive and quicker.

  2. A complete remake of (almost) the entire UI

    The UI has seen much makeover. The whole game looks futuristic, and data is being churned in visuals and fuzzy logic rather than numbers. The match sharpness and condition numbers are gone, and is instead indicated with coloured hearts indicating Peak, Good, Fair etc. condition. At first it may seem annoying, but it is more realistic, and helps avoid the OCD of many players.

    Match view have been completely overhauled. More information are available to you at a glance, allowing you gauge your players' performance, and condition. On the downside, the match panels are removed, and are new available between highlights, or by clicking the small white box in the bottom right.

    While it allows for less clutter, it hides some info behind a click or two, which can be a bit bothersome.

    The biggest negative of the entire UI changes is removal of the analysis and stats tabs from during the match. You can only view stats and analysis during the halftime, or at full time. While I admit it is much more realistic that way, but it removes a lot of insight from you during the match. On the plus side, it forces you to pay more attention to what is happening on the pitch.

  3. xG and a host of new data analysis

    My favourite new addition is xG. Expected goals work just like in real life, giving you a real indication of teams' performance, which can be misleading if based on CCCs only. Another sweet analysis is defensive and attacking efficiency of a team, which is presented to you in the pre match opposition report (and own team analysis). It shows you a matrix of how your defensive and attacking play is in comparison with the rest of the league, which is a great indicator of how well you are doing, and where you need to improve.

  4. Overhauled press conferences and conversations generally

    The old boring press conferences are history now. In FM21, there is a new gesture system that works in a similar way to the old tones system (in addition to throwing water bottles and kicking chairs!). The choices are, however, almost the same, but are grouped according to their effect, (positive, negative, promises, convincing, etc.). You can also chat with player agents to gauge the availability of their clients.

  5. Tactical animations of player roles

    Tactics has not seen much change, although one important addition happened in the tactics creator. Similar to the animations of the preset styles, there are now small animations of how each role plays out. It is incredibly handy to highlight the differences between the roles, and assist in creating a better tactic.

  6. Massive improvement in Match Engine

    Graphics wise, the ME is much more polished and appear more modern compared to FM21. Animations are "blended" more, and appears smooth and natural.

    Performance wise, games are more "natural". You see players lobbing keepers in one-on-ones, wingers (finally!) crossing without shooting in the side netting or the defenders, players realizing they are offside, better through balls and a much better ability to create passing triangles. Rarely players miss point blank headers and shooting from impossible angles. I personally enjoy watching matches in this ME, without raging every other highlight.

    There are a host of improvements, but these are what caught my eye most. I am quite satisfied with FM21 and it is definitely the best FM to date.

    Did you thing there is any more critical improvements I missed? Feel free to share it in the comments!

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