Football Manager is a hard sell. If you aren’t already playing it, I doubt you ever will. The game is never ending – you can’t beat it. This encourages the ‘one more game’ mentality which has seen so many finding themselves lost in the depth of this football simulation. That being said, the latest iteration is perhaps the most accessible and streamlined version to date.

This is largely due to the revamped tactics system. The new system hands players a list of pre-set formations and tactical philosophies to pick from. These allow players to easily impose their own style, allowing for more success far quicker. Of course, these pre-set philosophies aren’t perfect and won’t hand you the title every year. You will need to tweak and eventually impose your own tactical style, but the new presets will help less experienced players. Football Manager 2019 achieves the perfect balance of streamlining the system whilst keeping the depth and the ability to micromanage that seasoned players require.

The other revamped system is training, which is now front and centre. The increased visibility of training can be irritating if you like to delegate training to your coaching team, but is far more rewarding for those who take a hands on approach. Those who do will find the early hours of a career slightly monotonous and overwhelming, but once you get into the routine, you can feel the improvement in your teams performances.

The FM18 scouting system returns and is seemingly unchanged for FM19. This scouting system helped to enhance the ability for smaller clubs to find talent on the cheap but was criticised by many initially. FM19 benefits from being the second game with the system. No longer will you be bombarded with Brazilian re-gens when you are trying to meet registration rules, thanks to the ability to filter the type of player you are recommended.

The Football Manager series can take 100s of hours to truly understand each iteration, after which one can give a complete verdict of all the games flaws and how the new systems have impacted the ‘meta’. All that can be said at first glance is FM19 is another step towards perfection.

4/5 stars

Image: Football Manager 2019 / Sports Interactive

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