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Football Manager Touch, does it stand up to the PC game?

Monday 12th June 2017

I've played football manager for years. Endless nights when I should have been studying, replaced with lengthy sessions managing virtual football squads. Can the new ‘Touch' edition stand up to the fully-fledged PC game?

My earliest memories of football manager used to be my father playing it a lot. I wouldn't say excessively, but a fair bit. He'd tell me of stories where he had won the treble with Rochdale. Which is a mean feat and may have subconsciously set me up for my own adventures with the game.

My life with the game started with Football Manager 2009 before, 10 and my last copy of the software, the 2012 edition. I loved that version. Playing it to death, literally. You see, on a recent business trip to Cardiff, I tried to play the game on my expenses paid commute. Yet, something was dreadfully afoot. The transfer system was out of kilter. I'd be offering £2m for a player, the offer would go through as £212m. As mad as a mad man with the money of Roman Abramovich. Tried a new save, no different. After five years, the software had joined the choir invisible.

A replacement was needed; and in zeitgeist fashion, I opted for the newest version of football manager, the touch edition of the 2017 game. Although I was at first apprehensive. Having previously sampled the handheld versions of the game previously and found them to pale in comparison to the full PC edition.

Touch, however, prides itself on being a streamlined version of the PC edition. An enhanced match aesthetic, deep wells of data to analyse and utilise and around 30 leagues to play in. Much more promising than former mobile-based games, which were a little flat – with their features being a lot more restrictive.

The price was a little high for an app store purchase, £19.99, but hey when I decided to do it was payday and the hotel didn't have much entertainment. Opening up the game, wow. This feels like a football manager, but on my iPad – not on the bulky laptop. Meaning I can take the game almost anywhere. A game on the road, at my sister's wedding next week, at the family meal next month, the options are endless.

My first outing in the game was with Crystal Palace. It was pretty hard. I scraped through most of the season, but limited funds really did make it an uphill task all season. The last day came and the Eagles lost their top-flight status and I lost my job. Although, I think inexperience on the game allowed me a do over – so I started a whole new season, with AS Roma. I won the league title and that felt great. Totti with the last goal of the season, it was almost like I was on the touchline at the Olimpico.

Having played the game for the best part of three weeks now, I feel I can come to an analysis of how it plays out. Put simply: it's great. The things I loved about my PC version are still prevalent in touch. The preponderance of data, the obscure leagues to manage in and graphically simple but pleasing presentation of matches. The game also feels, easier, for want of a better word. Thusly become a lot more enjoyable. There's still times when you're going to have to scratch your head to get past Bayern Munich in the Champions League, but ultimately you don't find yourself as angry as you used to.

You see, as much as 2012 edition was great and I'm told later editions are just as good or better – the game could be said to have become too involved. Managing training schedules, Byzantine-like tactical planning and excessive waffle when dealing with agents or the media. This meant that playing a season took an absolute age and the average gamer would be lucky to see out a three-four of games in an average duration sitting. This got even worse depending on how many leagues you had in the game and your computer performance, as loading times often made a session an exhaustive process. Such problems are quashed by improvements in technology and the streamlined touch version. Only the key assets are included and I personally whizzed through a season in around four days of light play.

The ability to tactically simulate a game is welcomed wholeheartedly by myself. You choose the line-up and how you want the team to play the game and it gives you the match report including the score. This is perfect for games you really don't want to watch you just want a quick session, without leaving it to total luck if you win or lose.

I loved FM '12, but things change and this now the superior game. Much faster and a lot more accessible. It's certainly worth checking out, with the end of the season upon us the game might even drop in price a little as the newer titles will be hitting the shops in the autumn. I'm not sure if I'll be replicating the wonders that my dad did at Spotland, but I can certainly try and it'll take a fraction of the time he did it in with the advent of this glorious new touch edition of the game.

Warren Smith

Yokohama F•Marinos supporter. Seen it all in the J.League, relegation fights and being crowned champions. Play five-a-side, pretty good too. Once scored an overhead kick.

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