No riveting Soundtrack. No epic Graphics. No tooth breaking Multiplayer Lobbies. But yet it is the most ultimate football that there is, welcome to the magic of FM, Football Manager. It is how football should be discussed, analysed and interpreted in the form of tactics. Thanks to my PlayStation 3, I have totally given up on PC gaming, and with FM 2014 I realized how far I have transgressed with this policy. With the onset of the new transfer season, I found my way back into my old love for hardcore footballing with Sega Games’ Football Manager 2014 Handheld. That last word doesn’t take away the glory, at all.
Beauty in Simplicity
I keep on repeating this phrase; it is the first ingredient to build a beautiful experience in a game, Keeping it Simple. Football Manager 2014 Handheld is the mother of all football strategy games in a certain perspective and yet it is basic stuff even for the ones who are coming straight from Square Enix’s handheld footie manager Champ Man. In fact, Football Manager 2014 HH puts everything important on a deck which is worthy of a salute. The deck is your key to your fixtures, player stats, competition stats, transfer bulletin, board expectations and league standing. Access the deck to branch out to a thousand other mini topics.
The news feed comes directly into your mailbox like the PC versions of the FM editions. Interact with news pieces for transfer rumours, transfers, contract renewals and match ban appeals straight from the mailbox.
Building a Team
Like all FM games, building a team is the most utmost requirement. One cannot pounce towards a league win or championship run without some minor improvements within the squad. Why I said minor is because I don’t play with Manchester City or Chelsea and every penny spent needs to have a turnover in my team. Thanks to the scouts in FM HH, I get to know who exactly is inclined to join my team, as it becomes the final verdict in transferring a player. Find the loopholes in your team, sell the deadwood, acquire cash and build around your best players.
While playing with Arsenal in my management career, I chose to spend wisely during the Summer Transfer window, sealing moves for only Christian Benteke – a solid Premier League proven striker (for 28.5M GBP) and Victor Ruiz (for 7M GBP), the upcoming Spanish defender from Valencia. Victor Ruiz was an instant hit as he managed to convert the slow defensive approach of the Gunners into a quick escapement every time. Benteke took almost 4 months to settle down, he would still be lethal against slow defensive teams, including the likes of Manchester United. I found a new Olivier Giroud under my spell, as he would be the perfect target man in matches I’d go from behind or be thrashed in possession play. Unfortunately, Ramsey didn’t reach the god mode as he is in current real-life times. Had to send The Ox and Gnabry on loan spells because there wasn’t much room for them in my team, especially with a loan move of Mauricio Isla.
Going out with Tactics
The first key thing to do before you take on an opposition in any FM games is to read what your assistant manager has to say when he scouted their last game. It gives in a lot of deep insights as to how to break their system. Some teams, like Stoke City, plays defensive football to the core, and it becomes pretty hard to break into their defence. While teams like Manchester City thrive on their attacking football revolving around sudden counter attacks. It is all mentioned in your assistant’s match preview.
To start with, Football Manager 2014 Handheld is not that ‘hardcore’ in terms of detailed strategy making as compared to its PC version. The PC version allows wingers to stick to certain zones, midfielders to rotate their positions with each other and strikers to fall back in case of opposition counter attacking (the Wayne Rooney mode). In FM 2014 HH, you can choose between an Attacking, Defensive or Balanced Approach, a Direct/Short/Long/Mixed Passing Play. You can trigger other subtle tactics like Counter Attack, Men Behind Ball, Press Play (if you like to play Possession Football) and Offside Traps. Choose your loadout well, as some tactics can really turn the match in or out of your favour. Be careful to prioritize player form and morale above players’ match potential, I’ve seen Mesut Ozil playing worse than Albert Riera at times.
In case you want to tell a player to buckle up or want to applaud his recent amazing form, you can interact with him privately or in front of media. Be careful as the after effects can be hazardous or miraculous.
Reviewing Football Manager 2014 Handheld
FM 2014 HH has got great depth for a handheld portable game, as I’ve played tons of mini manager games and haven’t been hooked as I’ve been to this one. The data pack of every team and player seems to be as legit as the current football generation. Players behave very realistic at times too, as I’ve seen Olivier Giroud springing back to silence his critics in his second Arsenal season under me. Mesut Ozil isn’t all powerful, and I had to look for his backup options, signing Nicolas Gaitan, which tells a lot about how real football is like.
The match set-up is real quick, unlike the PC versions, with social media integrated into every milestone that you achieve within a match. The match mode is prefixed at infographics cum commentary that changes into a 2D stadium mode when a crucial break is happening within the match. At times as a beginner, I felt that the 2D mode was not frequently used, and majority of my match went by without me realizing where my team failed. You can tweak the controls from the menu for more in-match action. Only a gamer who has come this far with FM experience will know about the tweaking and it becomes unfair on the new user who wants to feel what football management games are like.
The part that I didn’t like about FM 2014 HH is the part that I’ve often hated about the Pro Evolution Soccer series. If a player from my team is excelling or sitting duck because of overloaded talent, in the real world, he becomes a target for many ambitious clubs. And you are normally forced to sell him, the “little boy inside him” sort of squeaks for emancipation. In Football Manager 2014 Handheld, it is up to you to initiate a transfer within your own team by either offering the player to other clubs or by setting him up on the Transfer List.
The game is heavily detailed as you dig deeper into player/tournament statistics, but thanks to the incredibly easy and sleek UI, there is no trouble as compared to recent games I’ve played on the touchpad. The deck and match graphics make it a worthy handheld game, while at the same time making up for the battery it consumes in processing the tons of data embedded inside the game.
The game’s squeezed between Rs. 550-600 and honestly, that’s nothing of an MRP compared to the vivid things you can achieve out of Football Manager 2014 Handheld.
This game was reviewed on a Google Nexus 7 tablet with Android