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OS Scores Explained Franchise Hockey Manager 3 Overview (PC)
Pros
Interface generally well organized, stats generated are realistic, NHL license adds a touch of authenticity out of the box, different modes.
Cons
Interface sometimes slow to respond, simulations are slow, opponent AI still does some wonky things at times.
Bottom Line
A generally good text-simulation which has some drawbacks to keep it from true greatness, but well worth your time if you are a sim fan.
7.5
out of 10
Franchise Hockey Manager 3 REVIEW

Franchise Hockey Manager 3 Review (PC)

 
Franchise Hockey Manager 3 picks up where FHM 2 left off in keeping the series on an upwards trajectory. Developed by Out of the Park Studios, Franchise Hockey Manager 3 brings improvements across the board but still doesn't quite nail every aspect. However, the series has progressed enough this year to be in a better place.

Presentation

Overall, the look and feel of Franchise Hockey Manager 3 is still behind some of the better text-sims on the market, but I would not classify it as anything less than good.

The interface itself sticks to a darker scheme that varies by the team you select, all of which are pleasant to look at. The text itself is easy to read, which is an important aspect of any text-sim for obvious reasons.

Perhaps where the interface has the most issues is simply within the overall responsiveness. It may be my computer and setup, though it seems doubtful given my setup, but the game seemed slow to respond to clicks and the speed of advancing days, saving your game or anything similar just seemed slow.
 
 
Another complaint I had is that sometimes even clicking an option didn't work the first time. Again, this seems strange to me that a text-sim would have responsiveness issues like this -- so there is some possibility it was something funky with my PC setup.

Overall, when it comes to finding options, the OOTP Developments team has done a great job with FHM 3. If you are familiar with OOTP games, FHM will be pretty easy to pick up and play in the sense you intuitively know where some things are going to be.

The official licensing is nice as well, though sometimes the team logos look like they may draw from the wrong file because they end up pixelated. I doubt that's on purpose but it is noticeable and jarring when such a thing happens.
 
 
Gameplay

This year's game is officially licensed by the NHL and includes the league logo, as well as team logos out of the box. That plus the 2016-17 rosters means you have a relatively authentic experience to begin with in FHM 3.

FHM 3 offers something that few text-sims actually offer, and that's a couple of different ways to play the game -- with actual game modes available to players.

First, Path to Glory is a new mode that offers a more approachable way to play the game in a streamlined manner. In this mode, you start with a GM/Coach with lower skill levels and work your way up the ladder to take over an NHL club (the option to simply start at the top is also there).

You gain skill points over time that affect how good you are at doing things like negotiating with players, keeping their morale up and handling adversity. As you play, you accrue career stats and continue to improve your character until you retire. At that point the game can keep going with you having created another user character or you can start over back in 2016.
 
 
From my experience, Path to Glory was a fun new way to approach the game, but much of the core experience is the same as the other modes beyond the character aspects. There's also a sandbox mode, which is what it sounds like.

International Play is also new in this year's game, with a full suite of international tournaments with qualifying stages and international rankings. There's definitely a bit of fun to be had here, especially if you like underdog stories and bringing someone like Australia to the top of the hockey world.
 
 
I am really impressed with the new injury system. The injuries are generated with in-game events, but the key is you can see how durable your players are by different body parts. Some players may be injury prone in their knees but others might have very durable sets of knees. Injuries also affect durability -- a serious knee injury means your player won't be as durable as he was before.

This really plays into a long-term team-building strategy because you have to consider when a player suffers a serious injury how effective he might be for you in the future, especially with the increased likelihood he may miss action due to a new injury. It's really something all sports games should be doing a better job at.

As far as playing the actual game of hockey, the new tactical system looks more at assigning roles to players with a variety of tactics to create a system your team employs on the ice. This adds some depth to both team building and in-game management as you try to build and manage a team that can handle a variety of tactical challenges you'll face in managing a club.

There are a variety of things still missing from FHM 3 that I am surprised by, considering the game's brother, OOTP, does have them. For example, there are no quick setup buttons. Things like having the AI quickly adjust your depth charts, etc. are wonderful little shortcuts when you make simple changes and don't want to take the time to do the quick/obvious depth chart moves.

There are a variety of other improvements in this year's game. The AI has been improved and thus things like trades and AI roster management have taken a step up. The sim engine generally produces great results, and the game itself has a nice flow to it once you get into the season.

While I didn't get the chance to play more than a couple of seasons into the future, the AI seems to be solid. There are some questionable roster moves and weird trades you'll notice happening, but overall the game does try to keep a semblance of balance going into the future.
 
 
Final Thoughts

As with any text-sim, there's a lot more depth than can be conveyed in a simple review. I always find myself trying stupid and experimental things within text-sims to try to see what the simulation engine will kick out (like playing a game with five defensemen the entire time with an ultra defensive philosophy).

FHM 3 offers a sandbox with which hockey fans will find a lot of enjoyment in managing teams and trying out some fun scenarios. The interface isn't perfect, but it's far from bad, and you'll find your AI opponents give you a decent enough challenge as you simulate through the years.

Overall, FHM 3 is the type of game you'll want to keep playing if you are a big fan of hockey. I don't know if this game appeals to non-hockey fans that much, but it's an easy buy for management-obsessed puck fans.

Score: 7.5 (Good)

Member Comments
# 1 Simple Mathematics @ 12/05/16 10:47 PM
I think I will check this out. The last one was pretty fun. I love the scouting and preseason aspects of this and EHM. EA could really learn a thing or two from these types of management games. If they could combine NHL 17 and Franchise Hockey Manager 3 we would have a pretty damn fun game.
 
# 2 binga30 @ 12/11/16 02:38 AM
Haha go the Aussies! We love our Ice Hockey here in Melbourne. The AIHL is a good amateur league, I hope some ex NHL stars might come this way soon. I'm gonna give this game a shot, will let you know my thoughts.
 
# 3 half-fast @ 12/19/16 12:53 PM
This is a solid game that is fun. No real visual sim engine, and obviously you cant play the games, but it's the best live alternative to EA nhl that exists right now.
 
# 4 KnightAttack @ 12/21/16 06:40 PM
If you haven't checked it out, our latest patch is now live which has added the World Junior Tournaments - something that many people get excited for at this time of year.
 

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