by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
Sports Interactive’s Football Manager franchise gets some flak for its lack of innovation year on year. However at least it gets it right. Club Manager 2015 is an attempt to compete with the might of Football Manager, and it most certainly does not get it right. It has some things that Football Manager doesn’t, but the amount it removes, and the poor quality of the core concepts makes this a product not worth spending your money on.
You choose whether you want to load the game in full screen or in a window from a launcher. No matter what resolution I chose, the full screen option always caused the game to crash, so I had to play the entire thing windowed. Not a good start. From there, you choose a name for your manager, and what he will look like (from four equally bad options). Then it’s time to pick your team. If you want to manage a team from one of the eight German leagues, you are in luck! If you don’t, then you’re stuck, sorry.
It is odd since there are plenty of teams in the game outside of Germany, albeit with some of the names wrong, and some teams omitted entirely. This is fair enough since licensing is expensive. However it is worth looking at some of the more famous teams and seeing what the random name generator has picked for the players. They seem to have used a system whereby each team has a selection of players with hilariously stereotypical names based on the country the team is from.
Did you know, football managers run their teams from an iPad with awful techno music blasting in the background? This is what Club Manager 2015 would have you believe at least. The menu system is appalling, and when the whole game is designed around using menus, you know you are going to be in for a bad time. You open a window to view some information and then have to look around for the button to close it, because it changes based on what kind of menu you open. The localisation is poor, to the point where you are sometimes just not sure what certain stats mean. I spend a long time thinking that “Strength” meant, you know, strength. However it’s actually an overall rating for the team or player.
When you advance forward through the calendar the game throws useless information at you constantly unless you go into the options and turn them off. What’s the point of showing me the entire Champions League draw when I manage a club in the 8th division of the German league? Then it decided to show me a German national game that happened to be going on in the middle of the season.
There is a semblance of a match engine so you can see highlights of your games. However it doesn’t use the kit colours you pick for your team, and all it does is rehash the same ten or so animations over and over. Since there are so few options, you would have thought they at least would look good, but nope.
Once you turn off all the extraneous stuff, you can blast through a season quite quickly, in under an hour or so. You get into the rhythm of choosing your training program for the week and then jumping into the next match. The training system isn’t robust at all, you simply choose whether you want certain players to work on their general play, their energy, or their stamina. I haven’t figured out what the difference between the latter two is yet.
Not worth the price
There is an odd way of dealing with sponsorship. Before home games you can essentially bet on the outcome, and if you get it right your sponsor will give you a certain amount of money. You can expand your stadium and change ticket and merchandising prices and the like, but it’s not rewarding. The way you deal with buying and selling new players is bizarre. You approach a player you want to buy, and if they don’t want to join your club it won’t even let you bid any money for them. You can’t even make plans to buy players since it won’t let you do anything on the transfer market outside of the transfer window (which apparently is only in January and July). Even when you have got the players you need, choosing your team is difficult because the formations don’t look like they are supposed to. Also I’ve still not worked out how to make substitutions during a match.
Club Manager 2015 has very few redeeming qualities to speak of. There’s no way you can get major things wrong and it brings nothing new to the table. It’s a little bit cheaper than Football Manager, but the price needs to drop a whole lot more for it to be worth the price. If you’re really on a budget and want to manage a football team, just buy an older version of Football Manager, it’ll still be better than this.
You can change ticket and merchandise prices.
Poor UI design, limited club selection, repetitive match engine, buggy.