Football Manager 2024 has been a major critical and commercial success for Sports Interactive, and rightfully so. The game has built on the foundations set in previous years and is welcoming in a new era of players.
Records have been broken and a new benchmark has been set, but is it the case that this year's game is the easiest it's ever been? With widespread debate in the FM community around the effectiveness of tactics, let's take a look at whether Football Manager 2024 has lost its skill gap.
It's well worth stating that we believe Football Manager 2024 to be the pinnacle of the franchise and easily the best football game available on the market right now.
However, a recent debate in the FM community surrounding the effectiveness of different tactical setups set alarm bells racing in our minds.
The argument goes that tactics don't matter in FM, with any old combination being effective enough if you manage to balance cohesion and overall familiarity.
Whereas in recent years, FM felt like a real challenge, forcing you to think differently about your approach with every passing game. In Football Manager 2024, it does feel a bit like you can get away with anything.
As ever, there are meta-breaking tactics in Football Manager 2024 that will no doubt help you on your quest for managerial dominance, but we're noticing that most formations can be effective if deployed properly.
So, does this make the game easier and therefore less interesting, or is it a clever way to give players full autonomy over their tactical setup?
Simplifying the process
The main criticism that has been waged at Football Manager over the last few years has been its difficulty.
Some new players have complained that the game is too challenging to get to grips with, despite the tutorials that welcome any new starter.
However, when it comes to Football Manager 2024, this argument seems to be cropping up less and less, suggesting that getting results isn't as difficult as it once was.
Die-hard FM fans, the ones that know 4-2-3-1 is king, have been quick to point out that the game's overall skill level seems to have dropped, making it easier than ever to progress through the leagues and capture major trophies.
There is every chance that this has been a deliberate implementation by Sports Interactive. In order to welcome in a new wave of players, the game needs to be accessible and provide enough reward against the overall challenges.
If, as has been the case in years prior, Football Manager 2024 was a bloated database simulator that made it nearly impossible to win, people would probably choose to play something different.
Instead, the team at Sports Interactive has found a balance - arguably the most impressive feat over the last few years.
Given Football Manager's heritage, there are always going to be players who have enjoyed the series for years. However, in order for FM to grow, new players need to be accommodated.
Striking this balance, with no general skill metre or difficult settings, is a case of fine-tuning and balancing, with Football Manager 2024 showcasing the rawest version of this seen so far.
Bridging the gap
As with any small crack in the armour, people are quick to point fingers and complain.
Whilst we would love to label ourselves as tactical geniuses, we are aware that Football Manager 2024 does feel a lot easier compared to recent years.
How do you fix this conundrum? Well, introducing difficultly settings could be one way. Toggling between an easy, intermediate and hard difficulty level could accommodate players on all sides.
Instead of the current blanket skill level that exists, an actual setting could make saves more challenging, forcing you to tweak and tinker ahead of every game.
However, it's worth saying that the current blanket difficulty is what has made Football Manager special for years and changing this formula could see the game lose some its charm and general community.
Being able to share successful tactics and save progressions could be tainted by the fact that they were achieved on a lower difficulty setting to another budding manager.
Either way, as the Football Manager series enters an exciting new era, Sports Interactive are going to have to continue its balancing act in order to keep FM at the top of its game.
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