Jump to content

FM: A Criticism


Recommended Posts

Let me start by saying that this is going to be a bit of criticism aimed at SI but I’ve no intention of going about it in a whinny ranting hate fest. Also, many will take the opposite view to my comments. Regardless, I thought I’d just get my opinions out there for consideration and for the need to get them off my chest.

I’ve been playing FM/CM for as long as I can remember and have seen the game progress from some very humble beginnings into one of the most complex and involving games currently out on the market. In the early days the games were infused with a sense of fun and, even more importantly than that, a great deal of love.

As the years have gone by the game has grown and expanded and a little of that old love and joy seems to have been left behind. The current game, in my opinion, lacks a touch of character, a little personality and, unfortunately, a degree of officiousness has filtered into the interface.

As the game has become more popular the desire to develop the series into new areas has produced some marvellous innovations. Areas of game play have been refined or expanded and overall the product has become a concept with layers, where one aspect of the game affects another. While this is essential for any series to progress this has come at a cost.

Credit to SI that they release patches and take on customer feedback in terms of how the fans would like the game to evolve but endless patches have become something of a weakness. I can’t remember the last time an FM game hasn’t required an immediate patch and then at least one follow on patch. I think all fans of the game appreciate the fact that the patches are given to us but wouldn’t it be nice if we had a game that came pretty much ready to play from the box and that any additional patches were for minor tweaks or even additional features incomplete at the time of release? I would like to start a game on the day of release, invest my time building a squad, scout for talent etc and not have to start all over again, at least once, because the patches were still coming thick and fast until (or even beyond) December.

This leads me on to wondering how the testing is organised at SI. Do you have a cross section of players, with different game approaches and managerial styles using a variety of machines with different specs to test your game? Are you currently employing a product quality manager or someone in a similar role? I find this curious because I do this sort of thing for a living, I’m a freelance analyst and I spend a great deal of time reviewing and changing internal business practices. Whatever your methods it’s clear to me that testing is not working to full effect at this moment at time. Tbf that may not be the testers fault but rather the strategy used to implement testers roles and their feedback.

I’m going to make some assumptions and I’ll leave it to you to correct me if I’m wrong but I get the impression FM is put together as a modular product, different teams/individuals being responsible for different aspects of development? Does one individual (or a small group) manage the overall theme and feel of the game? I ask this because I sometimes feel as if the game is a jumble of different ideas, occasionally forced together rather than integrated.

Onto specific criticism of FM 2009, I would just say that the game suffers from the same problems outlined earlier regarding FM releases. The game required a patch on release; still requires another patch and is riddled with minor (and a few not so minor) bugs. I just turned my save game off because I’m playing as Liverpool, away at Fulham, and half my squad is unavailable because they are away playing internationals.

As for the 3D engine, for a first attempt this is pretty good but there are a number of problems, particularly for players on lower end machines. Even on my PC, which is top draw, the engine is still glitchy (strangely for 2D as well?) and some of the animations are untidy. Goalkeepers suffer the worst. But this is the first 3D engine and so I wasn’t expecting perfection. I even understand that the tech has to keep developing even if it means many lower end users cannot play 3D. It cannot be hidden however that this engine was a rush job. A very good rush job, but a rush job none the less.

The media is a little improved but match day comments are somewhat impersonal and often the answer you can give does not suit the question asked. It still bugs me that as a manager you cannot talk to a player directly about form, their role at the club, what they need to do to get back into the team etc. Little additions like making a player available for reserves, match day feedback from assistants, developing preferred moves etc are all welcome add-ons. The editor is a mess though, the game skin is ugly (thankfully alternatives are available) and training hasn’t changed in any important way as far as I can tell. The database and scouting network used for the game remains unmatched by your rivals. This is still your area of greatest strength imo.

To summaries then (if you’ve managed to read this far down) my main issue would be with the standard of product on release day not being good enough. The impact can be felt on the boards. Yes, a lot of people rant aimlessly, and even over stupid issues but sadly, many have a point. The game is often rushed, bug ridden and misrepresentative of what it can actually do. Some of the faults, cosmetic or otherwise, are plain to see for the casual gamer and need ironing out in the development stage.

My advice then would be only to develop the next version of FM with features and alterations you were certain worked exactly as you wanted them to. Organise your testing process to be wider and richer and that recommendations have both the scope and time to be implemented correctly. No game is bug free but that’s not an excuse for a game to be bug infested.

So what’s the point of all this criticism? Nothing really. Just one fan airing his views and hoping you’ll consider them. I used to play CM/FM with my mates. It was an excuse to get together, have a few beers, and get stuck into a challenge. We don’t do that anymore. We still go to the pub, we still go to the match, we still take our kids to the park etc but we don’t play FM. Of our group I’m the only one who still buys it each year. Why have they given up on it? The reason is the same for all of them: they’re fed up having to patch it up all the time (my mates are, for the most part, not PC geeks) and they feel that the game is no longer addictive or fun. Sadly, I’m slowly starting to agree with them.

Thanks for listening.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think life has caught up with you my friend. Kids, commitments etc all mean we don't have the time to devote anymore. Sadly, each version requires a little more dedication in order to enjoy. I too miss the 'pick up and play a season' days but I feel the game has made extraordinary progress. I guess that in every war, there is collateral damage. Keep the faith!

Link to post
Share on other sites

It makes a change to see some constructive criticism here, insted of the rantings that you pointed out.

You make some good points and put them across clearly and concisely, I just hope this thread doesnt degenerate due to the "usual suspects" cut & pasting their usual replies, both for and against the game.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I think life has caught up with you my friend. Kids, commitments etc all mean we don't have the time to devote anymore. Sadly, each version requires a little more dedication in order to enjoy. I too miss the 'pick up and play a season' days but I feel the game has made extraordinary progress. I guess that in every war, there is collateral damage. Keep the faith!

You know there may be a little truth to that but not much. As I said I’m a freelancer, I work from home a lot of the time and probably have more free time than most FM players. The game does require more dedication but that’s not really a problem for me. Yes the game has made superb progress but my point is that the cost of the progress is not in terms of time but rather the standard of the finished product.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate contstructive feedback, so well done for writing this so sensibly :)

The only issue above that I think is a big problem was the need for a release day patch - I'm sure SI are aware that they dropped the ball on that one, but still no product should need to be patched that quickly because of game breaking bugs.

The rest of the issues you raise I consider pretty minor annoyances brought on by years of playing and expectations. Now there's nothing wrong with that and I feel the same about some other minor annoyances, but compared to general feel and playability of the game I have to be concious enough to lower them.

I think the game is very playable and fun following the patch, and the added features have contributed towards that to give a product that has deserved £29.99 of my hard earned pennies.

I've already got a lot more hours out of it than I have with other games for the same price currently in the PC Charts.

Link to post
Share on other sites

i like you have issues with the game theres a lot of small glitches but i get over them because of the patches coming will go a long way to fix these glitches so i am glad they released the patch as soon as they did come on they could of just buried there heads and pretended that nothing was wrong. patches to me are a god send fixing the little flaws all games have its not just fm manager nearly all the games i buy release a patch at some stage that why i keep the faith, i know sometime soon a patch will come out to fix those niggly little flaws. very good view tho

Link to post
Share on other sites

You've made many points that I agree with and would like to have made if I could be bothered. But I will add this from another discussion which I was in:

Let me make this clear. The only thing I want from the match engine is for a successful tactic which isn't constructed from having to go onto a forum and read an incredibly long essay just to be able to play a game properly. It makes some good points, but unfortunately not everyone has time or the patience for that. We should be able to make a decent tactic from basic common sense and football knowledge.

This game is unaccessible to the casual gamer. I do not want to have to spend hours reading advice off a forum to be able to play a game. It's just ridiculous. Every year there are bugs and problems. I have come to accept that. But now the match engine makes it impossible for me to play the game properly. This is not acceptable. Common sense and general football knowledge. That is what should be the basis of a tactic. The guide may be common sense but there is an awful lot of testing and theories. It's much too complicated.

Here are my solutions to the problem. Either:

a) Fix the match engine up and revamp the tactical code (unlikely)

b) Stick a simplified version of wwfan's guide in the next FM

c) An explanation from SI as to what each slider does and details on the whole tactical system. At the moment it is incredibly confusing and the changes to the arrows were not explained properly whatsoever. (The best solution imo)

Link to post
Share on other sites

well done mate, i might not agree with everything you have said but you have said it without having a pop at the people who clearly spend alot of time making this game. Lets not forget after the game is finished they want to enjoy it as much as us. too many people want hurl abuse because there not happy with how the game came out but the way i see is "nothing that comes easy is worth having"

Link to post
Share on other sites
well done mate, i might not agree with everything you have said but you have said it without having a pop at the people who clearly spend alot of time making this game. Lets not forget after the game is finished they want to enjoy it as much as us. too many people want hurl abuse because there not happy with how the game came out but the way i see is "nothing that comes easy is worth having"

Cheers. Having a pop just seems pointless to me. I love FM. It’s one of the few games that (unhealthily) absorbs me and interrupts my life and for the £20 odd quid I spend on it it’s always value for money. I’m just worried about it and where it’s going because every year the game is wracked with issues and I feel the average player (like my mates) just don’t have the drive or the time to wait for the problems to be fixed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers Thunder god for echoing how I have been feeling about the series for the last few years, I have been playing since it was champy and have loved it for years but these last few years I have found the game increasingly difficult/inconsistent, I thought 2006 was good and quite playable although i did need some help when it came to the tactics but I really struggled on 2007 and even worse on 2008 to the extent I rarely played and for the first time ever debated wether or not to bother with the next version.But I liked the look of this one and was also determined to sit and work out how to get the tactics going and having done that I am none the wiser. I agree when you say a bit of common sense and some football knowledge should be enough but it seems to me that you really need to know how the computer works to get the tactics right, for instance it would seem that if my left back hasn;t got the tactical set up spot on, he is always going to be poor no matter how good a left back I play there,this is where I was a bit dissapointed in the assistant manager feedback as it again appears to be another good idea but half baked and doesn't really help me (telling me to show someone onto their weaker foot is not something i need an assistant to tell me) and certainly if i am manager of chelsea or man utd I wouldn't need to tell JT or Rio to do this. Don't get me wrong I have been enjoying playing this version so far but in the 3 seasons I have been playing as Newcastle since this came out, I really have no idea if the team is in better shape or not, 1 week we play great and create a lot of chances the next 2 games and I will only create 1 chance in both games. Also average ratings appear to no longer give you a guide on wether someone is good enough to play in the league you are in.Previous versions someone who wasn't good enough would get low ratings quite a lot and you knew you would have to try and replace him but now, strikers get low rating if they don't score no matter how well they played and a defender makes 1 mistake and gets a 4. sorry if this is coming across as a moan its not meant too but as was posted originally I feel the game has lost its playability and a large part of its addictiveness,my friends and I loved playing 2006 online as we were all the big English clubs and always battled each other for the title and trophies and big name players but since 2007 we have found the game too difficult and stopped playing online as it wasn't much fun being Man U,Liverpool etc and all languishing in the bottom half of the table.

I don't know maybe its just me getting old now and maybe I don't devote the time to playing that I used to, I'm just frustrated because since the new one came out I have really tried to work out the tactics but I just can't play anymore without wanting to smash my computer desk up !!!!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
You know there may be a little truth to that but not much. As I said I’m a freelancer, I work from home a lot of the time and probably have more free time than most FM players. The game does require more dedication but that’s not really a problem for me. Yes the game has made superb progress but my point is that the cost of the progress is not in terms of time but rather the standard of the finished product.

I hear what you are saying but let us be frank; patches in the PC game community are the norm. Ever since the CM4 fiasco, patches have been a necessary part of the FM experience. In a sadistic way, I actually look forward to seeing the first 'changelist'. Is it right that SI release a patch on day 1? No, but so be it. I have less issue with this than I do with the time required to actually access the game in any kind of fun way. Realism shouldn't necessarily be at the expense of time neededto play the game with any degree of 'pace'.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I hear what you are saying but let us be frank; patches in the PC game community are the norm. Ever since the CM4 fiasco, patches have been a necessary part of the FM experience. In a sadistic way, I actually look forward to seeing the first 'changelist'. Is it right that SI release a patch on day 1? No, but so be it. I have less issue with this than I do with the time required to actually access the game in any kind of fun way. Realism shouldn't necessarily be at the expense of time neededto play the game with any degree of 'pace'.

Yeah, patches are the norm for PC games and really that’s only because PC games have that get out clause built in. I know that most top-level console games have come with bugs and glitches but none that actually make the game unplayable at times. They would be taken off the shelf. Imo CM/FM has been released in almost unplayable condition before. The testing process is too sloppy for my liking.

As you say, realism is no bad thing so long as the game retains a feel to it. Again, I’m worried that each incarnation is driving the fun factor out of the game. Like Gazcollo says getting mates together and trying to stomp each other just isn’t possible anymore, because friends can’t be bothered to wait for patch number 5 or take a degree in FM-ology to play.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah, patches are the norm for PC games and really that’s only because PC games have that get out clause built in. I know that most top-level console games have come with bugs and glitches but none that actually make the game unplayable at times. They would be taken off the shelf. Imo CM/FM has been released in almost unplayable condition before. The testing process is too sloppy for my liking.

As you say, realism is no bad thing so long as the game retains a feel to it. Again, I’m worried that each incarnation is driving the fun factor out of the game. Like Gazcollo says getting mates together and trying to stomp each other just isn’t possible anymore, because friends can’t be bothered to wait for patch number 5 or take a degree in FM-ology to play.

Again, you make a very valid point. However, we mustn't ignore one major issue; console games have one system to test on and get the game right. Many of FM 2009's problems appear to have been hardware related and it is much harder for PC game-makers to test all possibilities. I like the 'FM-ology' idea... :) Perhaps a new degree course?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Buying as many star or future-star players as possible to a medium / weak club and winning everything with them, and reading about the media praising and fans cheering, and boasting to your mates about it at school ---> that's where (most of) the fun is.

Oh, or, bringing an obscure / non-playable club to Champions League glory, and bragging about it to your mates at school :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the pick up and play aspect of former FM/CM games, which is why I've never sold CM's 2000/01 and 2001/02 (and I'm going to buy CM 96/97 again). However, I like the path FM has gone down, which is why I still prefer them. Nothing wrong with a bit of variety.

And if you like the pick and play aspect - just choose the default training, the default tactics, ignore media aspects, and just holiday between each game. That's what I've done in the past.

Link to post
Share on other sites

People comment among the different hardware issues saying its harder for SI to get it all right on the PC.

I agree but issues like the Injury Bug and this stupid crash on the 25 of July 2008 which totally breaks games.

SI have also released the game before with major game breaking problems. That is not acceptable.

The thing is, in this current day and age, people don't expect much, SI know they can get away with releasing shoddy products.

A few years ago, there would of been uproar. They would of gone out of business.

I understand there is always going to be bugs, but to me, having game breaking bugs is not acceptable.

Link to post
Share on other sites
People comment among the different hardware issues saying its harder for SI to get it all right on the PC.

I agree but issues like the Injury Bug and this stupid crash on the 25 of July 2008 which totally breaks games.

SI have also released the game before with major game breaking problems. That is not acceptable.

I'm still of the opinion there are too few injuries fwiw (although I concede there are too many long term injuries).

Link to post
Share on other sites
And if you like the pick and play aspect - just choose the default training, the default tactics, ignore media aspects, and just holiday between each game. That's what I've done in the past.

Yes, but is it possible to have success in what FM has become playing in this manner?

Link to post
Share on other sites
People comment among the different hardware issues saying its harder for SI to get it all right on the PC.

I agree but issues like the Injury Bug and this stupid crash on the 25 of July 2008 which totally breaks games.

SI have also released the game before with major game breaking problems. That is not acceptable.

The thing is, in this current day and age, people don't expect much, SI know they can get away with releasing shoddy products.

A few years ago, there would of been uproar. They would of gone out of business.

I understand there is always going to be bugs, but to me, having game breaking bugs is not acceptable.

This is kind of where I stand tbh.

As I say, I love FM, I really do, but over the years the original releases of one or two versions of the game were not, by any stretch, fully playable. Bugs are inevitable in any game, particularly in a game like FM where there are layers to the play but I do think many of the problems the games suffer from could be avoided. Some releases have bordered on shocking and I’m talking after CM4, without even going into how much of a disaster that release was.

I guess my moans are really out of love rather than frustration. I think the release standards have dropped, or perhaps just not improved over the last few years, and something internal to the creators needs to change. But like I say I’m an analyst by trade so maybe I’m seeing a problem where others don’t. Has there been a version of FM after CM4 that any of you guys have played happily without wanting/needing a patch?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, but is it possible to have success in what FM has become playing in this manner?

Yes i have to agree here, if you just want a casual game where you don’t tweak anything etc. the default tactics are less than useless. I don’t think anybody wants an 'instant win' tactic either.

To be honest its become part of my ritual when i buy FM now to come online and check the tactics forum and see what the best tactics are, download them and then tweak them to suite my needs.

Its not cos I want instant success but I just don’t have the time anymore with work, boozing, commitments etc.

I know people will say well just go buy 'Fifa manager blah blah' but I don’t think that’s the point.

If you go in and look at the default tactics you can see that it basically just looks like some lad just took 20 minutes just rearranging players positions on the pitch for each of them and didn’t really touch player/team instructions etc.

Allot of my mates who would play FM/CM would just pick the basic default 4-4-2, 4-3-3 etc. and just jump in.

Somehow I don’t think they would last long on the last few versions...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Opposition Instructions

i get 4 instructions for every individual player & they're instructions that i have already put into my tactics...

Tight Marking

Closing Down

Tackling

so if i put hard tackling on every individual it overrides my original settings in the tactics?

& show the player onto his weak foot...?!

is that a joke...?

if the players aren't doing that already...?

enuf said.

what's the point in ths?

asides from it taking me 44 mouse clicks to start a game....

Link to post
Share on other sites
This is kind of where I stand tbh.

As I say, I love FM, I really do, but over the years the original releases of one or two versions of the game were not, by any stretch, fully playable. Bugs are inevitable in any game, particularly in a game like FM where there are layers to the play but I do think many of the problems the games suffer from could be avoided. Some releases have bordered on shocking and I’m talking after CM4, without even going into how much of a disaster that release was.

I guess my moans are really out of love rather than frustration. I think the release standards have dropped, or perhaps just not improved over the last few years, and something internal to the creators needs to change. But like I say I’m an analyst by trade so maybe I’m seeing a problem where others don’t. Has there been a version of FM after CM4 that any of you guys have played happily without wanting/needing a patch?

Yes fm 2007

Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, but is it possible to have success in what FM has become playing in this manner?

Yes, certainly. Just as spending all day tinkering with tactics and training and set up don't guarantee success either.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...