Game Reviews

Football Manager Classic 2015

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Football Manager Classic 2015

Like Arsene Wenger suddenly purchasing German star Mesut Ozil after years of thriftiness, Sports Interactive has finally given mobile Football Manager fans what they want.

Football Manager Classic 2015 feels like a classy import with the potential to drag portable management games to the next level.

Just like that aforementioned example, the sudden boost in star power hasn't been the smoothest of transitions for the series - but it's a welcome start.

A club with history

For the past few years, Sports Interactive has released a rather limited mobile version of its famous football management franchise. For at least the last two of those years, that hasn't really felt like enough.

Football Manager Classic 2015 gives us what we want - a version of FM that's made of the same basic stuff as the main series, complete with an attractive interface and tons of tactical scope.

Finally, when you touch on a player or club name (almost) anywhere in the game's reams of text, you'll be taken to the appropriate profile.

At last, setting up your team is about more than just picking a formation and a vague tactical approach and watching the semi-randomised action unfold.

Praise the footballing gods (whatever colours they might wear).

Got a good engine on him

In fact, one of the most attention-grabbing additions in Football Manager Classic 2015 is a full 3D engine in place of the old 2D one.

It's rather impressive too, with highlights that do much to show your team's shape and the approach of your players. Okay, so there's a certain jerky glitchiness to the action and a limitation to the animation that calls to mind early 3D FIFA games, but it works both to generate excitement, and as a tactical tool.

Speaking of which, there's so much more you can do here to affect each game than in previous handheld versions of Football Manager.

You can give your team and even individual players detailed advice, whether it's to push up the pitch, mark an opposing player, get to the byline before delivering a cross, work the ball patiently into the box, and much more.

Do you want your most creative 'hole' player to be an attacking midfielder, an advanced playmaker, an enganche, a trequartista, or a shadow striker? These are important differences, and the game helpfully explains them - and myriad other positional variations - to you.


This is very much Football Manager's first step on the path to a more elevated mobile form, though, and so there are understandable flaws and glitches along the way.

The game is actually a conversion of an established mode from the mainline PC franchise, and the switch to a touch interface hasn't come without problems.

Toggles and touch areas occasionally feel too small and just plain unresponsive, while certain actions are inconsistent. Dragging players around to swap or substitute them fits all of these descriptions.

Technical shortcomings

On a technical level, too, the game frequently feels like it's struggling. It's not exactly slow (though expect slightly extended load times), but nearly everything just feels a beat or two behind the action - and I played on an iPad Air 2, the current top dog in Apple's roster.

There are a number of careless touches, too, like overlapping text descriptions, and what seem to be placeholder player names in certain information screens. It gives a slight beta feeling to the game at times.

Despite these shortcomings, Football Manager Classic 2015 represents a hugely encouraging step forward for the series.

It shows the kind of ambition and commitment to progress that FM fans have been crying out for, though a full title tilt is perhaps a season or two away.

Football Manager Classic 2015

A sprawling, ambitious, and intimidatingly deep mobile management game that gives the fans precisely what they wanted - just not quite in a fluid enough form
Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.