First things first, If you want to play Football Manager, then the PC version is definitely the best way to experience it. However, for those people who want the Football Manager fix but don’t have all the time needed to get their teeth into it, Football Manager 2021 Xbox Edition is still a fantastic experience.
The version I played was on the Xbox Series X which means that I got the fully optimised, no corners cut version of the game. Sports Interactive have taken a tiered approach as to how they have optimised the game with the following system:
Football Manager 2021 Xbox Edition is based on the Touch version of the full game. This means that instead of spending 4 days trying to arrange a pre-season you can progress through seasons at a similar pace to the old Championship Manager games. The Touch version has been around on tablets, pc and also the Switch in recent years. However don’t think that this streamlined approach has taken away the depth that comes along with Football Manager as there is still plenty to explore as you dive deeper into the menus.
On this note, lets get right into the Achilles heel of the game: Navigation. This was always going to be an issue over the mouse and keyboard version (or even the touch screen). I feel I spent more time trying to navigate the menus to access my tactics and transfers than I did playing the matches to begin with. RT seems to be the “left click” of the game as this advances the game and works it’s way through the news sections. I haven’t had a chance to test it but a USB keyboard is apparently useable to make the transfer market a bit easier to navigate. I would have liked to see SI have a fully integrated M&K control option as this would make a massive improvement to the game.
So back to the game itself and I thought where better to start than my boyhood club, Glasgow Celtic. Jumping into the game I must say that the user interface is a nice change from previous years, with a bold purple design. I have put more than my fair share of hours into the PC version of the series and this latest match engine is head and shoulders above anything that’s been before. The Xbox Series X gets the most out of the game by running in native 4K with HDR but previous generations in the Xbox family will either have upscaled 4K or 1080p.
Something else that I have still to test in the cross save feature of the game. The ability to take your Xbox save and throw it onto the cloud to be played wherever you like (this goes for tablet and laptop).
The experience of playing Football Manager on my living room TV really makes a difference – the whole thing feels more premium. I will always be a full-fat version of the game kinda guy, but that doesn’t take away from the fact the Sports Interactive have done a great job at making a Football Manager sim accessible to people who don’t want to search the Ecuadorean 3rd division to find the next wonder kid. One of the features that has really impressed me with the Xbox version is the quick resume feature, no waiting on loading screens just to grab a couple of games before dinner or heading off to work means that it really can be a pick up and play experience.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.