With the release of the beta version of Football Manager 15 over a week ago, I've spent many an hour (gleefully) bulldozing through a Real Madrid campaign before creating a Managing Madrid save to give you all an overview of the game and my adventures in it. In this weekly post, I'll give you a recap of how my career in the game is going and we can all share our tips and tricks, as well as any FM/FIFA stories you may have. Without further ado...
Carlo out and off into the sunset, "Blame Mou" into the Real Madrid pressure cooker! After the standard press conference and meeting with my players and staff to let them know that I have title aspirations, I decided to take a look at my roster of underwear models and tattooed miscreants to see what I'd be working with. Instead of posting a photo of all the players in this post, click here to visit a gallery of the present-day roster. The biggest standout, naturally, is Cristiano Ronaldo who boasts world-class attributes in almost all key categories, though I was a bit surprised at his low positioning given that few in the world are better at getting themselves into advantageous positions on the pitch.
Here is the club's loan situation to-date:
Not too bad, though I'm someone who loves to buy talented youngsters and loan them out so expect this screen to be filled up in the coming season or two. Following my review of the clubs loans and finances, I headed to the tactics creation screen where I got to work in creating two primary tactics: a standard 4-2-3-1 utilizing James' creativity in the hole, as well as a 4-4-2 which should provide a bit more defensive solidarity against threatening opposition. You can see both tactics here.
As mentioned, the 4-2-3-1 is standard fare with Luka having a free role behind James, who'll generally stay higher as a fixed point to distribute balls to the three attackers. The 4-4-2 is more interesting as the back four won't be bombing forward as much and Kroos will be staying back to spray balls forward. Luka will still have a free role and a massive responsibility of running the show, but James will be placed on the wing where he'll have a bigger burden to defend, and since this isn't a natural role for him I'll be sure to train him extensively in it to maximize his potential. In the 4-4-2, Benz will have a large creative onus as the deep lying forward providing balls to free-roaming CR and Bale, who'll be cutting in from the right rather than staying wide on the touchline. For now, the fullbacks won't be pushing forward a great deal but I'll be sure to experiment with them in the future, as well as with a three-man back line.
I won't be covering any preseason matches this week, but since a friendly versus Castilla was scheduled I thought I'd show you what the formation looked like in play, which can be seen below. As you can see, a clear two banks of four form when on defense, much like real life Real Madrid.
Since this was the first team versus Castilla, it was a pretty easy game which ended 8-1 in my favor and I won't go into too much analysis like I will with more important games in the future. Following the game, Sami and his agent demanded a new contract as his was running out at the end of the season but I declined as I have other plans for him.
So that's part one of my adventure at Real Madrid! In the next installment, I'll play through the preseason and go over some transfers which I have in mind leading up to the cup games versus Sevilla and Atleti. Having played the beta since it came out, here are my quick three impressions on the game so far:
- Defense more or less doesn't exist. In all the time I've played Football Manager, this might be the worst I've ever seen defenses play as interceptions are essentially non-existent and tackles hardly ever work. Posting a shutout is a massive challenge.
- Madrid is the most overpowered team in the game for the simple reason of its wide pace. The beta places far too much emphasis on route one football. Launch the ball from the midfield, use your pacy wingers and you'll score more often than not. Given that Real Madrid boasts Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Jese, not to mention longball pros in Luka and Kroos, it's far too simple to overwhelm the opponent with speed and well-placed bombs up the pitch.
- The in-game gameplay has some work to do, but it looks nice. Thousands of new player animations have been added, including unique celebrations such as Bale's lame heart thing and CR's weird jump up, arms extended as he lands celebration (which I hate). However, some player movements still look unnatural and this is evident when trying to perform defensive actions.
- The interface is... tedious. Some things look nice, like the sidebar on the left, but it takes far too many clicks to reach certain screens and past features which could be found with ease requires you to have a map to find them. It usually takes time to get used to a new edition, but the sheer amount of clickyness in FM15 is annoying.