For the second year running, Football Manager has arrived on Xbox Game Pass at launch in the form of both Football Manager 2023 (the PC version) and the newly renamed Football Manager 2023 Console, with the latter serving as a toned-down version of the PC experience for Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. The good news? If you enjoyed the last couple of Xbox editions, you’re going to like this one as well, and there have been some nice quality-of-life improvements that players will appreciate over the next 12 months.
The first thing you’ll notice is that Football Manager 2023 Console has changed up certain aspects of its UI to try and better cater to the console crowd. The main menu is easier to navigate, the mid-match statistics menu is cleaner and takes up more space on the screen, and there’s even a new “Radial Menu” to help you manage your tactics and lineups more efficiently. These are all nice improvements for sure, and ultimately the game just feels more polished on Xbox as a result.
As for the controls? Well, the improved UI does help with the standard control scheme, but we have to admit we still prefer the virtual mouse pointer (accessible by clicking in the left stick). Fortunately, at this point, we’ve become very used to using a combination of the buttons and the virtual mouse, and it becomes surprisingly easy to navigate between the various menus once you get used to it. Sure, LMA Manager still takes the crown for the best implementation of its controls on console, but Football Manager 2023 isn’t far behind.
In terms of new features in Football Manager 2023 Console, Team Talks have finally made their debut in the Xbox version this year, and while they’re fairly basic in nature (pick from one of a few options at half-time and full-time), it’s great to finally have them integrated into the Xbox experience. There’s also a new Dynamic Manager Timeline that keeps a visual track of all your accomplishments which is cool, and our favourite new feature is the addition of UEFA Champions League and Europa League branding, which even extends to hearing the Champions League theme song when the draw is made and during walkouts. Love it!
The match engine is pretty much what we’ve come to expect at this point, with some subtle changes. When things are going well, you’ll notice all the great animations, stunning saves and beautiful passages of play in the midfield. When things aren’t going well, you’ll notice your players occasionally making silly passes and struggling to deal with simple loose balls. There are definitely some aspects that’ll leave you frustrated, but the engine also continues to deliver plenty of realistic and memorable moments that’ll have you literally jumping out of your seat.
Like in previous years, the main question on your mind should be whether to go for the main Football Manager 2023 experience on PC or stick with Football Manager 2023 Console for a lighter alternative. We still wish we could access certain features on Xbox such as the Dynamics menu, but for the most part we haven’t found ourselves missing the PC version too much. Sports Interactive has done a good job in making the Console game stand alongside its PC counterpart, even if it does strip away a few things in the process.
Football Manager 2023 Console is a great experience on Xbox once again this year. A meaningfully improved UI helps with navigation and overall accessibility, while the addition of Team Talks along with UEFA Champions League and Europa League branding are welcome new features. It’s still missing a few things from the main PC game, but if you can look past that, the console version is great way to get your FM fix this season.