+ Clean userface
+ Easy to pick-up
+ Seasons can be completed quickly
- Lack of detailed features and options
- Menu's can feel squashed at times
- Choosing your starting 11 and making changes is tedious
Football Director is the latest football management sim to hit the market and is developed by Sports Director. Football Director was originally an iOS game, however it has now made it’s way to PC, but how does it differ it from it’s iOS version? I have never played the iOS version, but it does feel more like an iOS game than a PC one. That is mainly down to the menu’s, which I would envision work better with the touchscreen than a mouse and keyboard. If your looking for the next Football Manager challenger, then Football Director is not for you. If your a more casual gamer, looking for a management game which is easy to jump straight into the action and can quickly complete seasons, then you may be in luck.
The game puts you in the role of manager, with over 200 clubs from various leagues around the world able to be taken control of. Included in Football Director are England (4 Divisons) The top two divisions from Scotland, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Austria, as well as the top leagues in Holland, Portugal and Switzerland. Unlike Football Manager, Football Director doesn’t benefit from a wide range of licenses, with many clubs in the numerous leagues not featuring their correct club names, so it can be hard at times identifying who is who, but it is possible. However the clubs in England do have their names, so you can play with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool for example without feeling disengaged from the game-world. An in-game editor will be added to the game in a future update coming soon which will allow players to edit player and team names, allowing those who wish to have authentic names can do so. Once you pick your club to manage, it’s time to get down to business!
You start your career during the pre-season of the 2012/2013 season. Your league fixtures are already arranged for you, so you have to arrange any Friendly fixtures you wish to play for your team. These friendly’s allow you to get to grips with the games tactics and player selection, as well as integrating any players you sign during the transfer window. You can sell, buy and loan players, with the only options being to add cash and a future sell-on fee. When offering players contracts, it’s pretty basic as well, with you able to determine the wage and years. It’s a shame there aren’t really any more options such as clauses and bonuses, but it helps to make the game quick and easily accessible by anyone.
The menu’s are clean, but it can be hard to find where everything is when you first start the game, so some experimenting is needed to learn where everything is. However when selecting a player for example, it would have been nice to be able to hover over the different options to see what in fact they were. Instead you have to click on each one which takes you to the option to find out what it is. It’s not a major issue, but it’s clear it’s more suited to iOS than PC. On the bottom of the screen are a number of icons which takes you to different areas, such as your main hub, squad and tactics, transfers, league tables and the calendar to advance the days. My biggest issue however was when it came to picking my players. To add players to your starting line-up, you do this via the squad list rather than the more traditional tactics menu’s. It involves you scrolling down to the player, clicking and scrolling back up to click on who you want to replace. It’s tedious and painfully slow at times. This could have been down in a much easier way, such as having a simple starting 11 presented on a pitch using the click and drag formula used so often these days.
There are a nice amount of features in Football Director however to keep the casual player happy. You are able to set training for the team, determining how much of each activity your players do, as well as assigning individual training, allowing you to tailor training to certain players needs. There are a few options to choose from, such as pace, strength and skills. You also have a Youth Squad at each club, allowing you to bring youngsters into the first team in the hope of discovering the next star. There are 3 members of staff you can recruit. These are Assistant Manager, Coach and Physio. The higher their skills are, the more benefit your club and players will receive from them.
The Match simulation is presented by a ball on a pitch moving across it indicating play. No players are represented on screen, just a ball, so you may find more enjoyment from reading the match commentary on the left-hand side rather than watching a football dance from side to side across your screen. The commentary is short and simple, clearing indicating what it happening on the pitch. It’s up to your imagination to interpret that into images or more detail, but anyone who has played text-based sims before will feel at home here. During the match you can perform substitutions and tinker around with your tactics fairly easily, as well as looking at player ratings and stats and a live league table to show you how your team is doing with current scores.
If your new to sports simulations or want something which is both quick and easy, then Football Director will be the perfect starting point. However anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time playing more in-depth simulations such as Football Manager or Championship Manager will be left feeling disappointed, and probably bored. But the game never proclaimed to be the next Football Manager, and will appeal to those who want to simulate several seasons quickly. It’s not a bad effort for a game which is making it’s debut on PC, but if there is a future version, I would hope the menu’s and visuals are tailored more towards a PC title than an iOS one. It has the foundations in place to build upon if it decides too.