Here for the Highlights

29 11 2006

Over the last few days two websites have discussed the use of the ‘Full Match’ highlights mode within Football Manager. While Balls discusses the ability to watch your side play from start to finish – as opposed to selected highlights – in order to get the most out of the game, Saint and Greavsie argue that finding the time to watch the full match for every game would be nigh on impossible. These two posts did raise a question within my own head, and while I can understand both sides of the arguement one must look at how they wish to play the game for themselves before making their own decision.

Watching your team play on Football Manager allows you to select three different types of highlights: Full Match, Extended Highlights and Key Highlights. There is of course, for the hardcore gamers out there, the Only Commentary option, taking you back to the days of Championship Manager pre-split. The three choices offer both advantages and disadvantages, detailed below.

Key Highlights

Key Highlights is certainly the quickest option available if you wish to get the games over and done with as soon as possible. Showing only goals, cards awarded and key moments of the game, this option will let you see how good you are in attack and how badly you defended, but will not show specific features of the game that you may wish to see (Such as how well your defenders controlled the opponents attack, etc). I would say that roughly half of the highlights shown are important to the game (cards, goals, etc). The other half consists of you and your opponents attacks, chances on goal and fouls.

Extended Highlights

If you wish to see more of your team in action, then extended highlights provides a more thorough view than the key highlights option. This allows you to see more shots on goal and more attacks in general, giving an impression of where you need to strengthen at the back and where your attacking moves break down. You will see a lot more efforts on goal than key highlights, providing a more accurate presentation of your strikers. Afterall, if you only see Wayne Rooney have three shots on goal, and one of them is converted, then you may be impressed. But if you watched the extended highlights and spotted that the youngster actually had thirty attempts – all going over the bar – before scoring, you may feel that the side would benefit with another striker. (No disrespect to Rooney here – just the first name that popped into my head).


Full Match

Of course, the only way to see how your team fairs in every department is by watching the full match. Here you can see where the midfield battles are won and lost, how your players anticipate play, and just what happened before the ball was lost and your opponents scored that vital, last-minute goal. Granted, the other two options allow you to see a minute or so before a goal is scored, but that isn’t always enough. You may have missed the fact that before you lost possession in midfield, you had three other chances to get the ball up to your attackers. Little bits of information like that are important, but overlooked.

The whole question of which type of highlights to watch was raised by the article-based B-a-l-l-s post, Good Things Come To Those Who Wait. The writer argues that those who want to play a realistic game should plump for the full match option. It certainly is true that this is the only real way that you can access how your players perform personally. As in real life, a manager will watch his team for the whole game, accessing each performance on the full appearance. They do not look at the papers afterwards to see what rating they received.

But is it really necessary to be so thorough? The ratings system on Football Manager is unbiased and so should give an accurate representation of your players performances. True, there are times when you may feel a player has been harshly marked down for conceding a penalty or making an important mistake, but most of the time the ‘out of ten’ ratings are good enough to go off.

If you wanted to play a fully representable, realistic simulation game, then they would have to be areas of the game taken out. No lists of all players from around the world, no editing of the game, etc. Lower League Managers do stick to some strict rules, I am well aware, but one has to ask: how far do you want to take this game? Is it really worth watching every single game in its full entirity?

Saint and Greavsie responded with a resolute no. They wrote:-

I can walk my dogs, do the washing up, smoke a cigarette, start cooking dinner and do the hoovering in the time it takes to watch full highlights of one game – definitely more important things to do than watch the match.

One of the most attractive features of the Football Manager games is the addictiveness of the title. There is always that ‘one more game’ urge whenever you come to turn the computer off. Watching a full match – on the most realistic speed setting – would allow only one game a night – never mind, as some play, a season a night.

I can see the benefits of playing a full match and to those who like to play it this way, I can’t say fair enough. But the scene seems a little divided by this. Comments on Balls praise the idea of a full match, but as we have already seen, other websites are responding with support for the other forms of highlights. And let’s not forget the people who play with commentary only – Saint and Greavsie included – harking back to the days when 2D match engines were only pipe dreams.



2 responses

29 11 2006

Personally, i preferred the new design but whatever, this is good enough. I tend to do full matches when it’s a big game but mostly, i do extended highlights which is about 20 minutes of action instead of 90.

30 11 2006
The Football Manager Community » FM Community Digest 29/11/2006

[…] Check out Blog FM’s views on the 2D match highlights in Football Manager 2007 […]

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