Sorry SI development team, but the reason for the title subject is that for the first time, since the man in a duffle coat first intrigued me to buy the game as Championship Manager, I really don't think I'm going to be back for Football Manager 2014.
In my opinion, you have made a monumental blunder with Football Manager 2013. Here is my feedback as to why
When I heard that you were bringing out two different versions of Football Manager 2013, I was really sceptical. My first thoughts were that something had to give within the game. Having now played the Classic version it feels as though not nearly enough time has been spent on it for the release of 2013, and for other cut-down version, my experience of this is I think the product is a rank, rotten experience. I have tried it twice. Once I managed to last half-an-hour before switching the pc off. The second time I lasted an hour. It is not for me at all. Now, I could live without playing this cut-down-supposedly-quicker-version of the game and ignore it. However, what has happened to Football Manager 2013 Classic this year? It feels as though my previous 20 years of playing the game have counted for absolutely nothing. It honestly feels as though in playing 2013, I've become a complete stranger to the Football Manager product. I'd like to mention something positive here and say that cosmetically it looks like previous incarnations, but even there it feels as though I've hardly got any control. Between the waiting on next highlights which is completely frustrating to watch, yet if you turn away and you need to make a decision - oh no ten minutes have just passed and the game has ended - wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiit ttttttttttttt, nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnoooooooooooo, I was trying to make a substitution! The truth is that the match engine has become unexciting to watch, slow and lacks control for the player to make decisions.
I've loved the experience of the various incarnations of the game, from the text-based match reports to the graphical match engines, up to this recent release. In fact I was one of the major supporters of the match engine going graphical and remember the pelters I took from other forum posters in daring to suggest it. My idea was that you used the Sensible Soccer type graphics and was delighted in the incarnation that you went with. In recent incarnations with European games I've played and won, it gave the equivalant feeling me to what it was like to watch Dundee Utd beat Barcelona 1-0 all those years ago at Tannadice park, with two weeks later beating them 2-1 there. Who cares if the game didn't look fabulous, it played well. Many of us didn't care if we looked like knobs when our team scored, the game was exciting and it was enjoyable to play. In likening Football Manager 2013 Classic to say a car engine - in attempting to improve the torque, somebody has majorly over-tightened the bearings for 2013 to the point that the game has locked up!
Here is a live example of the difference between 2012 and 2013, and the likening to the over-tightening of the bearings that I described in the last paragraph. In 2012 I picked Annan Athletic and started them in the Scottish Third Division. Over around ten seasons I went from the Third Division to the Premier League, complete with a brand new stadium. It wasn't back-to-back league wins, it took time. I didn't cheat and I didn't look at any forum postings about wonder players. I played the game exactly the way I'd played it before and I enjoyed it. The only daft thing was that having taken the club from obscurity to the Premier League, I showed interest in the Cardiff job and the fans and board turned on me like a pack of wolves. I didn't think that was realistic.
Now in comparison to 2013, I have taken Montrose in the Third Division. I have found up to this point that I have started three new games of Football Manager 2013. This is really unknown for me. The first game was with Montrose where I failed to get promoted from the Third Division. Guaranteed Rangers were in the Third Division the first season and I finished second which led me into the play-off. I was beaten in the semi-final. I stopped playing this game because seven seasons later I'm still not promoted from Divison Three. I lost count of the number of times I was beaten in the play-offs. So, I thought okay I'll pick Dundee Utd, the team I support in real life. Now I'm already lacking in enjoyment of the product at this point. As with other incarnations I'd sometimes have Dundee Utd come in and ask me to manage them. It felt as though I'd earned my wings each new incarnation, and I could take control of the club I love with a good record behind me. So the second time I'm playing as Dundee Utd I find that the defence is leaking goals left, right and centre - not like they did for real last season but in a comical way and I feel as though I've no control over it. It felt as though nothing changed with them whether I was managing or not. I didn't even manage to finish the season. I left Football Manager 2013 for a month and came back. This time I pick Montrose again and like de ja vu I find that once again I cannot get out of the Scottish Third Division. I cannot buy enough players for the team, never mind quality players for that division. I cannot loan players despite having a contract with the club to do so. I'm playing at too low a level to allow the player to go on loan - aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh why does Football Manager 2013 allow you to sign the contract with the Club in the first place. Celtic, Hearts, Dunfermline and others that slip my mind. My point here is that its not just Premier League clubs, but First Division clubs also that will not release players on loan to me. So after 20 years and three new attempts of clicking on the new game this time around, I'm not enjoying the game - it is not enjoyable. There is a lack of control for the player in the game. It's not enjoyable to watch.
Really SI I don't know what the answer to this problem is. Perhaps you've just had a Microsoft Windows 7 to 8 upgrade moment. Yes that made me run for the hills also. I'm just glad it was a friends pc and not my own. Is there people working at SI now that are treating the product as just a job? Or are you needing to release the product every two years instead of every one. Is SI needing to get another game in its stable, one that keeps the game fresh for the next incarnation? Something is wrong and you need to figure out what that is because if 2014 doesn't address the way that players like myself are feeling, you are going to be in trouble.
Thanks for listening. I feel better for being honest and hope that my constructive criticism helps because I'd like to start enjoying the game again - like I did before!