With the Euros on the way, you must be itching to show the pros how it’s done – and We Are Football enables you to do exactly that.
From the creative minds behind EA’s old FIFA Manager series, We Are Football offers enough variants from the managerial heavyweight Football Manager for fans to get excited this summer, and get a headstart on next season.
For those who have played Football Manager, Winning Streak's We Are Football is a much less “intense” experience.
You can zip through the various screens with ease, pre-season can be completed within half an hour, as opposed to three hours plus in FM.
Despite its zippy nature, it doesn’t lack on details, with training, tactics and the transfer market all there – but given it’s a brand new UI, it may frustrate you not knowing your way around the home screen (we struggled to even close the game down when finishing up).
It may not have a snazzy match engine, with just attacking plays shown through a line on the screen -but that does enable you to get matches through quickly.
The matches, perhaps just like in real life, don’t go with the expected goals – which will either frustrate you or bring you joy as you snatch a point after playing poorly.
A popular feature on the old FIFA manager series was to have a proper look at your stadium and training facilities in Sims-style graphics form, allowing you to see the upgrades you make.
All of those additions are great, but the lack of licences does hinder the game – with the players completely made up.
It does test your managerial ability, but it’s a lot less fun with Joe Bloggs running down the wing.
There are variations in how you can play in We Are Football, but fundamentally it’s the football management you would expect – with a couple of new features to the field.
It’s refreshing to be given the option between playing Men’s or Women’s football, with perhaps only the licences preventing this from being a serious contender in its field.
That said, you can create customised databases, so if you’ve got the time, you can include your favourite male and female players.
Career Mode or Club Selection
After selecting men’s or women’s football, you’ll have the choice of Career Mode or Club Selection.
Club Selection is the classic managerial mode – choose your team and away you go, but Club Selection sees you asked a number of questions about your managerial and football experience.
From the level you played at to your style of play – your answers will dictate which three clubs want to hire you.
The difficulty is that you must address the clubs one by one, so you can’t pick the best out of the three.
If you reject all three offers you will start the game unemployed and wait for your opportunity.
Manager points & Player Skill trees
A welcome addition to management games, the idea that you are developing as a manager, and can redeem your “manager points” to give specific team talks or train up a certain player.
As time goes on, you will also see your managerial “network” grow as you become aware of more players.
That is not too dissimilar to the player skill tree, helping you pick the direction of your squad, and decide on which skill they should focus on next – frustratingly you can’t jump straight to the skill tree, it will only appear once a player has levelled up.
Perhaps the best thing we see in the game is the underhand tactics you can use for big matches.
You can disrupt the opposition by having the floodlights cut out, or a streaker run onto the pitch – but you can only get your secret agent onto these before the game kicks off.
With the speed of We Are Football, playing a two-player game (offline) with a friend is a realistic possibility.
Look to transfer between the clubs to strengthen, and attempt to conquer Europe as a pairing.
Whether you’re a Football Manager nut or virgin, We Are Football provides a welcome change of pace.
You can fly through the season in a matter of hours, transfer negotiations are straightforward – and you can tinker with your tactics or club infrastructure as much or as little as you want.
The licences are the downfall of the title, but you can customise the database to include player pictures and club logos.
There are a few tricks of the game you need to be aware of too – identifying whether players are having a “good” or “bad” year, cooperating with your colleagues to grow your network and keeping some cash back at the end of the season to pay your taxes will all be vital.
It’s a fantastic game, but at £29.99 / $34.99 – is it worth a move? Just about.
RealSport Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
We are Football releases on Thursday, 10 June on PC via Steam.