The Football Manager series is very popular with a particular section of the football (that’s soccer for some folks) section. Games belonging to the Football Manager (often simply called FM) series are released every year with each new title boasting to be a great improvement over its predecessor. Usually, these improvements are quite negligible and do not affect the fun factor first but there also a couple of instance where there is a huge change in the game. This is obviously not so surprising when one considers that the publisher must indeed find a way to keep things interesting. However, considering that the Football Manager series is pretty much the dominant title in the genre, even that may not be entirely necessary.

This Football Manager 2011 review was written after spending a lot of time on the game playing different football teams from different countries including national squads. It is important to note that the game was actually released in 2010, as is always the case for such yearly video games. As such, this is not a kneejerk review to point out the game’s flaws but a real review. Obviously, this will probably only be interesting to people who actually like football and can accurately point out the difference between Wayne Rooney and Lionel Messi (other than the yellow teeth).

It is fair to say that Football Manager 2011 (often simply abbreviated as FM11 or FM 2011) can be a thrilling experience at first. Its numerous options and the way it sets around immersing the player in the role of a football manager are fantastic. Obviously, your role in the game is to manage a football team and win matches, which eventually leads you to win (virtual) trophies. The game can even be frightening to the novice player since the number of things one can do in the game is astounding. As such, FM2011 does have an extremely steep learning curve if you are new to the Football Manager series but eventually gets quite simple and straightforward once you’ve get used to it. Thankfully, the in-game manual and tips are more than enough to assist you.

As the upcoming football manager you want to be, there are tons of things to do all throughout the game. The most notable involve buying and selling players, setting training schedules to ensure that wonderkid you just signed does reach his potential ability, and playing mind games with your opponents before kickoff. The attention to detail is mesmerizing and matches are superbly rendered complete with sound effects and players running all over the pitch after scoring. However, as you keep playing the game, some notable flaws will no doubt start to perhaps ruin the experience.

Most notable, you will soon find out that the game basically uses every trick it can come up with you to make you lose. From statistical nightmares where you have 40 shots on goal but still lose to that single shot your opponent had to backup players asking for more than $75,000 to rot on the bench, FM2011 unfortunately eventually turns into an exercise in frustration. Basically, the game’s dubious attempts to take out all the enjoyment can often cause you to quit playing it in exasperation. When you find you team consisting of the world’s best players losing to a lowly team in a cup tournament simple because the game does not want you to win, it’s easy to understand why some people get so fed up with Football Manager 2011 after some time.

Football Manager 2011 makes for a thrilling short game but a poor long game experience. This is quite obviously strange since this is a game that should thrive to excel on providing a robust long term value. There is indeed nothing more rewarding that nurturing your own academy players (but usually players you poached from Spain, Brazil and Argentina) but the game gets fairly annoying once you’ve completed a couple of seasons. It is still however well worth playing for a while if only to know how why Pep Guardiola always looks so stressed.

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