It’s that time of the year again. As the footballing seasons restart ahead of the 2021/22 campaign, as do the football simulation games. Soccer Manager Ltd is one of the many football game developing groups that just released the next installment of SM, and we’ve been lucky to get our hands on an early look. This article will explain the complete overall experience of playing the game, so you’re well aware of everything you should expect before you play the game for yourselves very soon. Here in this article, we will review Soccer Manager 2022 and share our first impressions of the game.
UI and Visuals have been redefined for the better
Starting off with the Soccer Manager 2022 review, the core visuals and UI of the menus look a lot different from that of the last edition, as shown in the images below. Aside from the color change, which personally looks much better than the last, the blocks of content have been reorganized such that there is no need for vertical scrolling anymore.
Last year’s game featured a very long starting menu, which you could scroll down through, showing things like league tables, an overview of the stadiums, etc. SM22 ditches that idea and condenses everything into smaller components that all fit onto one main screen. It’s a pretty minor tweak, but practically summarises what Soccer Manager LTD is trying to do with this game – less tapping and swiping is needed to get to the info you want to see. They’re looking to build a game that strives for ease of play and they’re heading in the right direction!
SM 2022 offers more ways to improve yourself as a Manager
The last edition of Soccer Manager introduced the manager progression where you could become a better manager by upgrading yourself in key roles, learning, and unlocking new skills. SM22 builds on that by introducing more skills as well as your own stat summary, which you can upgrade using skill points too (basically like a skill tree from an RPG game). Overall, it’s a very arcade-y thing really, slightly drifting away from the realism aspect, with all the skill points and the XP levels.
However, it is understandable why this kind of system was implemented, as it is very practical and flexible in what it can do. Overall, this will be something we personally will try to avoid, for the sake of keeping authenticity, but if that isn’t an issue, you’ll be pretty excited by some of the things you can do here.
Pre-Season Tournaments are finally here
Last year, SM21 introduced friendlies that you could arrange yourself, and they’ve now got pre-season tournaments too. These are basically just the quick series of matches you can use to test out tactics, get match fitness up and start a nice stream of cash too.
Managers get a pick from 3 different options, with the 3rd usually being a much bigger test of opponents and a much bigger cash prize, but they’ll be at the cost of some currency. The sneaky touch of gold really draws you into that one, so fair play to whoever came up with that idea!
Player Intelligence has been boosted once again
Player Interaction was introduced first in Soccer Manager 21, and it was brilliant in predicting where it could go next. SM22 features much more of this – for example, if one of your players realizes how important he is to the team (which doesn’t take long), they’ll turn up asking for higher wages.
Dropping a player might make them worried about whether or not they have a place at the club, and some will even try to call in sick because of a supposed virus. All that and more, who knows what other kinds of situations are tucked away in the game! It does get very difficult trying to keep everyone happy but that’s a part of the job and the devs have taken that on brilliantly.
Promising improvements to the Transfers Section
SM22 introduces things like loan-to-buys (an option to buy the player for a pre-decided fee after the loan) and pre-contractual agreements (offering players contracts at your club, which they can choose to take up straight after their current one ends). You may or may not use some of these methods, but the whole idea is to provide variety and flexibility.
If you can’t pay up big for someone, why not try loaning them and adding an option to buy on top? Or if you can wait on them, offer a pre-contract so you can grab the player for free. Things like that just give you more options and match with real-life much better too. Another step in the right direction!
Another slight tweak that is very worth talking about is the search system to actually go through the list of players. There is now the ability to search by Player Role and even by individual attributes. This is a great improvement, saving so much time that would otherwise have been wasted looking through each individual player one by one.
The in-game atmosphere is much better in SM 2022
It’s crazy to see how far the game has come ever since the first 3D match gameplay edition was in place. The visuals just look much more vibrant and colorful, obviously, it isn’t exactly on the level of detail as something else you have played, but it would honestly not be surprising if Soccer Manager itself is at that kind of level in a few years’ time.
Stadiums look much more enhanced and detailed, player graphics and movement are still a tiny bit awkward at times, but there is definitely much more fluidity than last year. There are a ton more animations now too, dotted about here and there. All in all, it’s another step in the right direction.
In SM22, you’ll be sharing the matchday experience with someone else too. The devs have introduced the brand new Assistant Manager, which offers live advice on what you could do to improve in the match, such as tactics, decisions, stats descriptions, etc. It is obviously limited in its capabilities but there’s no doubt, it has huge potential. It is highly recommended to listen to what your assistant says because more often than not, he knows what he’s doing!
Tactics are seemingly untouched so far
Perhaps the tactical/management side of the game has not been one of the main focuses of this edition of Soccer Manager, which is fair given that they were given a huge makeover last year. All in all, though, it will definitely be interesting to see how the developers approach this section of the game.
A couple of helpful additions which we could very easily be seen in a future Soccer Manager game are things like preset tactics to easily switch between during games (i.e. defensive, attacking, etc.), deeper individual instructions to build on from the preset roles, and possibly even some extra Assistant Manager suggestions here too.
From our review perspective, Soccer Manager 2022 is a very promising build on what the previous year had to offer, and judging by the kinds of aspects of the game that are upgraded each year, the future of the series is likely planned out already. With each game being more advanced than the last, you will need a pretty strong device to run the game well, as well as an Internet connection to support the amount of data involved.
What are your opinions on the Soccer Manager 2022 game and your review of it? Do let us know in the comments!