The Football Manager (FM) game is the long-running football management franchise that lets fans fulfil their dreams of managing their favourite football club.
Like annual iPhone releases, new versions of FMs typically offer only incremental upgrades. But faithful fans will still lap them up and say goodbye to their social life, as they get sucked into a blur of statistics and the business of buying players.
OK, review over. I really have to get back to my bid for Jamie Vardy.
I'm kidding, of course - but this is what FM 2016 can do to you. It continues the game's addictive tradition.
When you load up the game, it feels like nothing has changed from FM 2015. But there are many changes.
The previous Career mode is now replaced by just the full-feature FM mode, while the old quicker Classic mode now becomes the FM Touch mode (which suits those who still want a social life).
PRICE: $55 (PC, version tested; Mac)
GENRE: Football management simulation
A brand new feature is the FM Create-a-Club mode that lets you start your own club - something like Fifa's Ultimate Team.
If, like me, you are long-time and hardcore players of the FM franchise, you will want to opt for the full FM simulation experience.
After choosing your preferred mode, the game will prompt you to create your avatar. You can decide on your age, whether you are an experienced ex-international footballer, or a master tactician with little professional playing experience.
I found that being an ex-international commands more respect. It will make your staff and players react to you more positively and it also helps when negotiating transfers with agents.
One new feature which I found to be less useful is the ability to customise a full-body avatar for yourself (you can use only a face-shot of yourself in previous versions).
The options to customise this avatar are laughable, with only a few faces and outfits to choose from. And during the match itself, you will be too focused on the game's action instead of on your avatar at the dugout or touchline anyway.
The 3D match is only slightly improved. But it is still nice to see your substitute midfielder follow your instructions as he tries to spray passes to the flanks for your overlapping full-back to cross the ball. But the animation graphics is nowhere near as realistic as the Fifa series.
Like its predecessor, the game still favours goals resulting from crosses. Just play good wingers and full-backs who deliver good crosses - your team can score and win matches most of the time.
The menu interface looks the same as previously, but with slight tweaks here and there. For example, when you are selecting your match-day squad, clicking on a player will light up the positions that player can play.
There are also more conversation options, which makes it comparable to Fallout 4. Choose the options carefully and you can convince your board to hire more coaches, or challenge a backup player to show his worth without upsetting him.
- Verdict: If you are a football fan and you can buy only one game, Football Manager 2016 is definitely The One.