FM13 – second impressions

Following on from my earlier first impressions post, I’ve now had the opportunity to play the game a little more and become more familiar with some of the less ‘in-your-face’ features or changes from FM2012.

The good news is that I’ve found quite a few of those little touches that have improved the game and, even more importantly, the beta patch which has been released seems to have improved many of the early bugs that were found. With two more patches scheduled within days of retail release then there is real promise that the match engine will be really quite good.

Don’t worry, I’m still a grumpy old git and I still have complaints but I don’t want to portray an entirely negative opinion so let’s start with the good stuff…

New One Touch Buttons

In my last post, I bemoaned the fact that the old tabs have been moved from their convenient FM12 locations. This still irks me, however I am beginning to like what they have been replaced with.

The buttons in the top-left, as you can see above on Matt Phillips’ profile, are one touch buttons for common functions that you would use on that particular screen – get scout report, add to shortlist and talk to press on this occasion.

It’s a very simple and convenient addition. The more advanced options are still available in the dropdowns beside each button but I really like the ease of the new buttons, particularly as I’m someone who uses the attribute masking and tends to scout an awful lot of players.

Cancel Pending Changes

It may just be a small thing but, as we all know, good things come in small packages… like Natalie Portman and Becki Newton.

Aaaanyway, this particular small thing is something that FMers have been wanting for years – a “cancel pending changes” button for your substitutions. So now, when you’re one down and you throw on that extra striker to claim the win, you aren’t stuck with him if your team scores in the intervening highlights. Just click that button and then bring on a third centre half instead. Lovely.

As an aside, there’s also now a quick-change dropdown for your chosen style, something which I imagine will come in very handy when switching to a  hyper-defensive tactic late in the game.

Well played, SI. Lovely touches.

New scout reports

A very mixed bag here with a couple of nice additions and some things that I don’t like.

Firstly, there are some new bars in the top section which indicate how interested a player is in joining you – the red bars here indicate that Islam Feruz is not interested in signing for the mighty Aberdeen the young fool. However, you can see that he isn’t far off being interested in a loan move and I like the fact that you can tell whether you might be able to garner some interest in the near future.

The enormous bar along the top showing the stars is very gimmicky for me and not something I particularly like but it’s not a massive deal in that it’s the same information as before.

The same cannot be said of the attribute information that is supplied by your scout. Other than revealing the masked attributes, the old scout reports also used to give you additional information on the player’s strengths and weaknesses – now this has been dumbed down to just one, max 2, attribute(s) in each.

Also, and crucially for me, the personality report is simply the one-word / one-phrase indication of his actual personality. On FM12, you would get a message from the better scouts along the lines of “your squad is highly ambitious and x player would have a lot of adjusting to do to fit in”. This is an immediate warning sign for me and is a lot more detailed than the rather inconclusive news that he is of “balanced” personality.

It’s a major flaw in the scouting system for me and applies to your own player reports as well as scout reports. Not sure if this is a deliberate ploy on the part of SI or whether it’s simply something that’s been over-looked but there’s no denying that it’s going to make scouting a far less effective tool.

The last part of the scout report is an improvement though. You can now get an indication of a player’s ability for all the positions at which is he capable of playing rather than just his natural position. A good addition but greatly overshadowed by the aforementioned limitation.

NOTE – Having raised this with SI on the forums, I was told that having a scout watch a player for a number of games would improve the depth of his report. However, I have had no experience of this being true and have yet to see a more detailed report than the one shown above. If anyone has, please let me know.

Easier control of subscriptions on news feed

When you get a news item such as the above, you’ll notice the pane on the right hand side which allows you to easily “unsubscribe” from the item which is making you receive the news item.

Another very small but welcome addition which easily allows you to streamline the news feed should you become overloaded with items.

Match engine and patch changes

I can’t really go into too many details here because it’s still beta and any remaining glitches will hopefully be ironed out but I will say is that the match engine improvement from the pre-patch beta is massive. It gives me serious hope that my earlier fears may be mislaid – i.e. they do have enough time to not only iron out the issues but also test those amendments to prevent knock-on effects.

There are still issues, however the games continue to feel more realistic and a lot of the old catastrophic errors in coding have been cut out. It’s still a computer game and you’re going to get the odd brainfart but they seem to be happening less often and the graphical improvements really are very impressive.

It’s really starting to feel like a much improved, if not quite a brand new, match engine compared to FM12 – movement and, most importantly, interplay is much improved with the most obvious change for me being the movement from a player as soon as he has made a pass. No longer is he happy to stand there and admire the sumptuous 4 yard sideways lay-off he just completed, now he is immediately looking for space or the return pass – I’ve seen more proper one-twos in FM13 beta than I saw in the entirety of FM12.

Passes are now intelligently made into space and not just those into space behind the defence. I could go on and on but there really are some fantastic improvements. Perfect? Far from it but now looking much improved from FM12 which is all we can really ask for.

Match analysis horror!

I really hope this is just a bug from the new patch because it wasn’t like this before but since patching the default “entire team” passing map looks like the horror show to the right.

It looks like that crap old bubble game that was on the Mega Drive!!

When you switch it to an individual player focus then it reverts back to the usual streamlined view. I have reported this on the SI forums and I hope that it is a bug and not someone’s “smart” idea because it has rendered that view beyond useless.

Conclusion… for now

The major issues from my first impressions post are still there – training is an aberration and the skin is just horrendous.

Moving on from that though, the first patch seems to have done a more than passable job at correcting the game-breaking flaws that were in the initial beta. SI get some credit for the speed at which they’ve managed to fix the major issues and, I guess, for the beta release idea which meant that these problems were unearthed by the community rather than a limited testing team.

There are some really nice little additions which I have highlighted above but that scout report thing is really going to bug me. I’ve read an awful lot of comments that this is just “FM12 with a new skin and a new database”… for me I’m really not sure that’s a fair accusation. And yes, I did allude to a similar thing myself in the first post.

The match engine is really starting to feel new and as this is the absolute crux of any football management game then that has to result in a big change from FM12. If the match engine update and the vastly improved match graphics (and the obvious new database) were the only changes from FM12 then I’d still say that this is worth spending your money on. Yes, the skin’s awful; and yes, there are some bad changes but the overall feel of the game is improving and this is still a beta period. With those two patches still to come then hopefully the current trend continues. If so, I’m starting to think that FM13 might be much, much better than I had previously expected.

As ever, your own thoughts are keenly appreciated so let me know what you think using the comments section below.

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4 thoughts on “FM13 – second impressions”

  1. Good, solid points as usual–I agree with pretty much everything you’ve written. I did wind up buying FM13 in order to try out Beta and my biggest complaints that haven’t already been mentioned above or elsewhere are really simple ones, which I suppose is good…

    I was excited to experience the Director of Football and Deadline Day features; having completed my first deadline day moments ago I’m disappointed–I spent the entire session canceling transfers and cursing at my DoF for his decisions. I wish he would pay a bit more attention to the tactics his club has been training before submitting bid after bid for out and out strikers. I know he was at the club over the last four weeks watching me sell off all of my forwards in order to play striker-less.

    An aside, and I know it’s just a junk game (beta), but I think 4-6-0 might be making a come back this year; the AI doesn’t seem able to cope with through balls played to center midfield runners from wide midfielders told to hold up play. Last game against mighty Inter I giggled menacingly watching opposition CB’s chase wide midfielders all over the pitch.

    Anyway, at this rate I should start my own blog to keep rambling… Thanks for the update!

    1. Thanks for the feedback.

      I think I’ll have the DoF and deadline day features on my next post – like you I think both are underwhelming. As I said in the first post, I’d really like to be able to give the DoF some criteria for signings – a quick striker, an aerially strong centre half, a young winger, etc. It’s a bit haphazard just now.

      I might have to try out a 4-6-0 as it could suit my Austria side. Janko being the only out and out striker that would get in the squad, I could happily use the like of Arnautovic and Harnik in a strikerless formation… something to ponder.

  2. I agree with you on the terrible skin, poorly designed and with some bizarre color choice (that grey background….)
    Anyways, there are plenty of positives, like you said, and there’s time to fix other things, I’m not so disturbed by the toned down training system, in previous FM I often played with default settings, match experience is key to player development, I know some managers could have different needs, I’m not worried about that.
    Talking about little touches I hope they could have ironed out the stars rating system and its oddities.

    1. Agreed that match experience (along with tutoring to fine tune a player’s personality) are key to development, however the previous training system was very good at allowing me to mould a player’s development by influencing where the additional CA would be “spent”. Ben from TD did a great thread a while back on “La Masia” training schedules where the physical training was toned right down to focus on technicals. It’s this sort of stuff that we can’t do now which irritates me.

      The star system seems a little better but I haven’t had enough exposure to it thus far so I haven’t included it yet. No point in talking about something unless I really know about it!

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