Since the Football Manager, 2021 debut in 1992 under its original guise of Championship Manager, one football management simulator has dominated its field perhaps more than any other game in any other field – Football Manager. However, bar very brief sojourns onto the original Xbox and Xbox 360 in the mid-to-late 2000s, it has been conspicuous by its absence on the console.
That was until now, as long-time developers Sports Interactive bring the franchise to Xbox Series with Football Manager 2021 Xbox Edition.
Football Manager 2021: Overview
The legendary PC management sim used to be an Xbox title too you know, but it sadly disappeared after 2008’s installment.
Now, it’s finally returned to the Xbox family in the form of Football Manager 2021 Xbox Edition.
Is it an award-winning comeback for the series, or does relegation from the console beckon once more?
While the tactical brilliance of Football Manager 2021 (FM 2021) is clear for all to see, something is amiss in regards to its suitability for the Xbox.
For the many positives, the chemistry between the two is lacking and the experience just doesn’t quite adapt as well as it should to the controller, which is a problem.
It’s like when José Mourinho joined Manchester United, there’s a huge potential for a great trophy-winning partnership.
As it stands though, Football Manager 2021 Xbox Edition falls slightly short of being an excellent management sim.
Before delving into the depths of Football Manager 2021 Xbox Edition, it’s worth pointing out that it’s based on the Touch series.
Therefore, one should expect a more streamlined approach to proceedings, aimed more towards the casual managers out there, and bears less features than the full PC offering.
Don’t worry, however, because there’s still plenty to sink your teeth into and for the most part, the difference is unnoticeable to the untrained eye.
That is unless you’re a die-hard fan wanting to whisper encouraging words into your best player’s ears between matches and overload the player/team database to provide a ridiculous amount of extra data for your career.
Now that you can’t do.
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Football Manager 2021: What’s More?
Fortunately, you’re still able to manage any team from a wealth of leagues around the globe; from the English Vanarama National League and the Korean K-League to the top leagues of Brazil and the German Bundesliga.
The amount of data collated for each and every player within is stupendous, covering everything from individual attributes to traits and personality.
This accuracy and detail more than makes up for the fact that some leagues, including the Premier League, are bereft of official kits and badges – it’s really not the end of the world.
While there are six different modes available, the Career is your bread and butter in FM 2021; giving you the opportunity to take over the hot seat and try to win trophies in whichever league you end up in.
It’s entirely possible to begin at a lowly team and work your way towards earning offers from the big names or head onto the International stage.
There’s a lot to digest before these pipe dreams become a reality, with the controls posing the first real challenge.
The most notable change in Football Manager 2021, though, is the match engine.
Having not played the series in the last two years, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it.
Especially when I’d previously played the game most intensely, watching little circles move around the pitch was the best way to experience the action.
But times have changed and Sports Interactive has taken full advantage of the extra horsepower available in the Xbox Series X.
Although it is still nowhere near the level of a game like FIFA 21, the 3D engine for matches provides far more detail than ever before.
It’s now possible to properly see what each player is doing and get a better understanding of the flow of the game.
While the 2D view has a certain nostalgic pull to it and certainly looks slick, the 3D view is a marked improvement, even more so when it doesn’t look like it is being run on a 20-year-old computer.
The UI has also been revamped somewhat compared to previous years.
It’s far easier to take in the vast amount of information that is constantly on offer and you don’t have to delve through quite as many layers to get to the important data.
That’s extra helpful on the Xbox edition of the title, as it means using the controller is even less of a hassle than it might have been.
The purple color scheme also looks great, although this can be extensively customized for those who want to mix up how everything appears.