SEGA Football Manager 2021 – Lockdown Time Killer Game No.1

The first in a series of recommendations of the very best time filling games to help ease you through the long hours of a national lockdown. So what better way to start than the beautiful game itself, football aka soccer!

  • SEGA
  • footballmanager.com
  • £39.99, 54,99 
  • Compatibility: macOS 10.15.5 / Windows 10 64-Bits

The football management simulation has been a huge part of the sport gaming genre since the early days of eight-bit computing, for a really simple reason. Being an armchair pundit, manager, player, well; anything really, just as long as you can work on your sofa’s butt groove at the same time, is the best job in the world. You answer to no one, you’re paid well in self-worth and, most importantly, you’re always right despite whatever you’re told to the contrary. Obviously, as armchair football managers go, I’m one of the best! Each week, I know better than the current gaffer of my beloved football team, be it squad, formation, transfers, or even the away kit. Under my leadership, we wouldn’t be facing relegation we would be looking toward Europe next season at the very least. Right? Wrong!

SEGA’s Football Manager 2021 is far more than a reality check, in an, “I’m somehow even worse than your current gaffer” way. It’s a complete immersion into the running of not simply a team, but the entire club. The scope of the options and the teams available is frankly stunning, and the depth, though initially overwhelming, feels unparalleled. The processes behind the running of the club are as expansive as they are detailed, from the development of the youth squad to delivering a positive press conference to boost club morale. The wealth of options is stunning, spanning 50 nations and over 25,000 clubs, from first team to academy level.

This year’s annual tweaks and changes are capped with a usable and massively helpful tutorial option, a basic that has been lacking for a long time. Also, close to the top of the enhancement league is the improved UI, removing a few of the click-through bottlenecks that make a world of difference. The in-match and post match stats are wonderfully overwhelming, allowing you to plug holes in your game plan. Your backroom team feel more ‘real”’ in this instalment, offering useful feedback and not plucking random cliches from the archives. Alas, so do the player’s agents, thus making a good relationship between you both essential to landing that big-name signing. Relationships make up such a massive part of the team-building experience that drives a team to glory.

SEGA has added a tone-of-voice option for you to deliver your pre-match speech and interact with individuals. I can only assume this really is football at club level, and it’s amazing.

Sadly, a very unwelcome addition is the inclusion of DLC really early in the game! I hope this isn’t the shape of things to come, as ask anyone over the age of 60 and they’ll gladly tell you “money has ruined the game.” SEGA, please listen. 

 

Another weaker area, which is exasperating considering the staggering depth of realism elsewhere, are the in-game player visuals and faces. The animations are OK, but the faces are so lacking in detail and basic human connection, only a developer’s mother could love them.  

Has SEGA done enough to collect your transfer fee for the 2021 update of the Football Manager series? Perhaps. It’s a significant step up in many areas, though not essential if you’re still playing the 2020 game and don’t want to shell out on the new one. 

Football Manager 2021
  • Overall Time Killed
4.5

Summary

A fantastic trip to the boardroom, training ground and beyond of your choice of the world’s football teams. 

+ Stats and options deeper than Man City’s pockets
+ The fantastic tutorials help you master the gameplay
– Requires a huge investment of time
– Matchday replays are underwhelming

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Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. A self-confessed (and proud) geek about all things tech, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

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