Review – We Are Football

Football Manager is the king of sports management simulators. No matter the kind of sport you’re talking about, there isn’t a franchise as cherished, beloved, and detailed as Sports Interactive’s juggernaut of a spreadsheet simulator. I am utterly addicted to these games, but I haven’t always played FM. In fact, my first foray into the genre was with EA Sports’ FIFA Manager, a simpler take on football management that had never managed to achieve the same levels of popularity. The developers behind that franchise, namely designer Gerald K√∂hler, are now back with yet another attempt at claiming the FM throne. Let’s take a look at We Are Football, and see if it has any chance to make an impact in the scene.

We Are Football Bavaria

Enjoy! This is the closest to a licensed team you’ll get in We Are Football.

Whereas Football Manager is slow-paced and ultra-detailed, We Are Football goes for a simpler approach. There are less elements to manage at any given point, and you can actually finish a season in just a couple of hours. You don’t need to spend an entire day to do so like in most FM runs. This is something borrowed from older FIFA Manager games, with a less “bureaucratic” UI, with larger icons, images, and numbers. In some ways, it feels a bit cartoonish at times, with all player pictures looking like avatars created in a random forum from the early 2000’s, but they have their… weird charm, I’d say.

I like how We Are Football retains the emphasis on “realistic” stadia, club grounds, and training centers from FIFA Manager, letting you explore them at will. You can even tour the club’s museum. What I don’t like about the game’s visuals, however, is how pitiful it is to look at the pitch during actual matches. This is no Football Manager, you don’t see your players roaming the field and performing set pieces. You only see one player’s face at any given time, completely static, in a very disappointing fashion. Watching matches in here is fast, but nowhere near as exciting. Not even the occasional music or voice clip manages to make matches any less dull.

We Are Football Rosso MIlano

Now this is just pathetic. This was supposed to be Milan.

The behind-the-scenes elements are way more interesting than actually coaching the team during a match. There is a large emphasis on handling the club’s finances if you wish to dive deep into this aspect. You can freely take loans or even start selling shares on the stock market. Another neat element is the inclusion of a psychological personality for each player. Football Manager 2020 had a similar feature, but it’s more undercooked than this. Finally, one thing that We Are Football is leagues above its competition is the fact it includes both male and female competitions, clubs, and national teams for you to manage. You cannot simulate both at once, but I loved the forward-thinking idea.

Sadly, I cannot say I had as much fun with We Are Football as I was expecting. The problem lies in the game’s complete lack of licensing. It’s the same lack of licensing that has plagued Football Manager for years, this is not about a lack of club logos and uniforms. We Are Football is completely devoid of real club names, player names, competitions, everything else you can imagine. To make matters worse, the game didn’t even make an effort to create “fake-but-not-really” players in each team’s roster, like in older Pro Evolution Soccer games.

Stadium Viewer

We Are Football features a neat stadium viewer.

With the exception of the German teams, which feature fake player names, but appropriate stats and cartoon portraits, other teams like Real Madrid or Inter Milan (called Milano Mondial in here) feature completely fake rosters. They are mostly comprised of native players and a handful of the most common immigrant demographic in any given country, like Moroccans in Spain, Brazilians in Portugal, Surinamese in the Netherlands. They are also much worse than any other German team included in the game, ruining any semblance of balancing that should have been featured in a football management game. There is an editor in here, sure, but it’s a bit cumbersome to use, being nowhere near as intuitive as FM‘s.

Match

It’s just… bland.

We Are Football has a solid foundation, that’s something that needs to be said. Its UI is clean; its management mechanics are a bit simpler when compared to the competition, but better suited for newcomers; it also features women’s football, a first on the genre. But honestly, not having a single licensed team or roster just makes it really hard for me to get invested in it. Sure, it has an editor, but that means we will have to wait a bit until a community becomes large enough to start releasing roster updates for the public.

 

Graphics: 6.0

A more cartoonish approach to what Football Manager offers, at the cost of being less demanding hardware-wise. The virtual renditions of stadiums and training centers look nice enough, though.

Gameplay: 8.5

Some unnecessary RPG-like elements aside, it’s a simpler and more streamlined approach at football management, with less menus and elements to focus on. It’s best suited for newcomers.

Sound: 6.0

Unlike other management titles on the market, it does have a basic, but passable soundtrack, as well as a handful of voice clips.

Fun Factor: 6.0

The basis for a really good football management simulator is here, but the lack of licenses makes We Are Football way less enjoyable than it should be. Its future will depend on whether or not it grows a community that will create datapacks for other players.

Final Verdict: 6.5

We Are Football is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of We Are Football was provided by the publisher.