Football Manager 2011 Game
- Release date: November 2010
- Platform: PC/Mac/Playstation Portable
- Our rating: 92%
The best selling football management series is back with its 2011 development. There have been plenty of updates to keep the game both fresh and exciting, and in this guide, we will explore the game and its new additions in more detail.
It is important to understand the amount of work that has been carried out from the 2010 version. Developers at Football Manager say that they work on roughly 300-400 different updates every game; however, to the consumer, most of them are unnoticeable. With this game, developers at SI have made these smaller updates and at least 3 'game changing' updates. The reason why there has been resurgence at SI is due to the increased amount of competition from the Championship Manager series who have made alterations to their software in order to try and compete once again.
Of course, alongside the updates, Football Manager 2011 kept its solid base, which has been in development since the original 2005 versions.
Football Manager has the biggest database of any game in this genre; in fact, it probably has the largest person database of any offline game on the market. There are over 110 fully licensed leagues on the game, which works out to be roughly 400,000 players and staff that are available. All of these players are real and correct as of the time of release, and as you can imagine this requires extensive research.
The database is so well detailed that the Everton manager David Moyes signed a deal with SI (in 2009) so that he could have exclusive access to their database of over 370,000 players and staff (at the time). The team at SI hire freelance scouts to detail all the information about every team they use, and then SI takes this information and implements it into the game.
One of the biggest updates made to Football Manager 2011 was the way that contracts are dealt with. This new process has been well received among long standing fans of the game. Now, instead of offering a 'pre-determined' contract, managers have more control over what they offer due to the introduction of footballs most hated individuals 'the agents'.
Now, contract negotiations take place on the spot and are determined by which agent you come across. Agents have three points that you need to look out for and these are; fee, willingness and patience. An agent with a high fee, low willingness/patience will not stick around for long and will expect terms near their first offer. On the other hand, an agent with a low fee, high willingness/patience will be much more negotiable on their original offer.
How it works
When you agree a fee on a player you are taken to negotiate a contract. Essentially the game wants you to feel that you are sitting in a room with an agent. The agent will either put an initial offer on the table or say to you to make an offer. You need to look at all of the points the agent has detailed which now contain plenty more expenses including; agent fee. When you have evaluated all of these points you need to take into account two more things and those are the agents stats (as mentioned above) and the players contract at present, then make an offer based on these points.
Unlike the last game, you now need to 'battle' for a player on two fronts. First, you need to agree a fee, and then you need to agree a contract. This adds an additional element of excitement to the game, and also requires a cool head and some sort of basic strategy.
- Tip - Never offer what the agent is after, first off, they will negotiate, even if it is just a little. Generally speaking, if you offer ¼ more than their original contract then you should be able to obtain the player.
- Tip - When an agent asks you to make a blank offer, start off lower than their current contract. The majority of the time this will lead to a much more reasonable counter offer than if you do not. However, do not offer too low, otherwise the agent will just leave.
- Tip - Watch out how much you spend on contracts and fees. If you keep offering players exactly what they want, then you will soon find yourself in financial problems.
Not only will agents try and play hardball when it comes to contracts, from time to time, they will also offer their own players around.
90% of the time, the emails you receive from agents offer players who would not get close to your team. However, every so often you are offered a terrific player for transfer value. For example, in the current game that I am playing (as Juventus) I was looking to sign Mauro Zarate of Lazio, who was valued at £6 million. This negotiation did not go well, and after a bit of back and forth, a price could not be agreed. A couple of weeks later (two days before the transfer window closed) I received an Email from Zarate's agent offering him for a price in the region of £7 million. Lazio complied and contract negotiations were straight forward, and Zarate signed with just a couple of hours to go in the transfer window. He went on to finish in the team of the year.
The addition of agents into the game has really given Football Manager 2011 something different, and this development has been one of the most well received across any management series in the past 5-6 years.
- Tip - There are a lot of youth players offered around by agents, if you are offered one then get a detailed scout report, this way you may just unveil the next Messi.
Another feature that SI has clearly put a lot of work into is player interaction. In FM2011, you will find a lot more options than there have been in previous versions. Player conversations seem more personal, and you have much more of a say in how a conversation plays out.
Of course, now there is more player interaction, players seem to be very vocal. If you are struggling for form, or you do something to upset your players (fining a player two-weeks wage for getting his first ever red card) the other players will let you know about it, and how you deal with them will determine your morale, which has a vast effect on how your performance.
- Tip - When unhappy players come to you asking for an explanation, use your harshest response to start off with. This shows the player that you mean business and are not a pushover. If your player persists, take the coward's way out and tell them that you want to leave the discussion for a later date. This way you buy yourself some additional time. If you start winning games, then these complaints will soon disappear; however, if you continue to perform under par, those players will push for transfers.
- Tip - As with the agents, you need to make sure you judge your players. If you are at one club for a long time you will come across the same players asking for various things. If you know that there is little bite to their bark continue to be forceful, on the other hand, if you know they will follow up their request to leave then try and give them what they require.
Of course, these are just the main developments that Football Manager 2011 has looked at. As mentioned, developers have made in excess of 300 minor changes to the game, all of which you will come across at one point or another.
Update - In early February 2011, Football Manager 2011 game released its update, which has changed around all the teams due to the transfer window. It has also fixed a few minor errors that have been discovered during Gameplay.
Training Update - The training system has been updated to ensure that you can keep things simple in this area if this is what you require.
Match View - Developers have updated the 3D match engine to include, for the first time, night-time games under floodlights. On top of this, developers have added 100 animations, including goal celebrations.
League Reputation - Previous to the 2011 version, when you went to sign a player, what league you were in would not make a difference. For example, if you managed to get a Kenyan team to five stars, then you could sign any player in the game. Now, this has been taken into account. Furthermore, if your team performs well on the continent then the whole leagues 'international' reputation will grow as well.
As you can see, the developers have worked on introducing 'personality' into the Football Manager series, and this has made the game much more playable than previous versions. The developers have kept their heads and left in all the features that the fans of the series have grown to love and taken risks on their developments, which have more than paid off. The only problem is, where does SI go from here? I am sure they have a few un-used tricks ready for the 2012 release.
Game Rating (out of 10)
Graphics - 6/10
As far as graphical development goes from 10 to 11 we have not seen too much in the way of improvement. When all is said and done, the amount of work that needs to be carried out to this area is zero. For 95% of the players, as long as the game has an attractive layout with no layout errors then they will be happy. On the other hand, there are always people that will continue to ask for better match engine graphics.
Playability - 10/10
No word of a lie, this game has actually come between couples, and while this is by no means a good thing it does surmise how addictive and playable Football Manager 2011 game is to the regular gamers. There are so many leagues and teams to choose from that every game you play has a different outcome; therefore, the game never really has a completion point which is why it is played up until the next version is released.
Originality - 8/10
Before Football Manager, Premier Manager and Championship Manager ruled the roost whilst Soccer-Manager still rules online for world cup management. Few people know that Football Manager was actually 'born' from Championship Manager. In terms of originality, the game does not have too much on its rivals because the industry is very copycat, but if there is a feature that you enjoy, you can almost guarantee that Football Manager 2011 game came up with it first.
Game Depth - 10/10
As mentioned, you only have to look at the amount of players and staff that are on the system to see how much work goes into the game depth. Even if you pick a third division Brazilian team, you are still guaranteed real players (if you use the large database), and this game depth is not seen on any rival game, in fact, that level of dedication is rarely seen in any genre.
Addictiveness - 10/10
Picking it up is easy, putting it down is not! If you are a football fan then testing your wits against the computer (or friends) is one of the most addictive 'features' of the game. If you enjoy playing or watching football, you have dreamt about being a manager, and for 99.9% of us, this is as close as we will ever get.
Value for Money - 10/10
For many, the only game that they buy nowadays on the PC/Mac is Football Manager; therefore, the game stays in their disc drive from day of release to the day of 2012's release. Football Manager 2011 offers terrific value for money, and will continue to do so, even in five years time, regardless of the price.
Overall Rating - 92%
This game is truly the Lionel Messi of the football management world. 2011 has improved significantly from 2010, which has in turn improved from 2009 and so on. If this is the case, then I am really looking forward to 2020.
If you enjoy playing the Football Manager games then we also recommend you play the free online management game - Soccer-Manager where you can play against 1000's of other real opponents and win real cash prizes.