Franchise Hockey Manager (FHM) 3

Legacy Management Games
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7.8

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Potential, but still not delivering

User Rating: 2

I bought and attempted to play the original FHM, and decided not to take a stab on FHM2 because of my initial disappointment.  Based on what I was seeing from the pregame information, I decided to give FHM 3 a shot.  To put it in the TL;DR version, its simply not there yet.  With another option out there with a lower price point and accurate season opening rosters getting ready to be released, FHM 3 is still a pass.  For those who want to learn more, have a look.

First the positives:

  1.  Community – Jeff (the dev) is a great ambassador for the game.  He’s receptive and willing to help out.  It’s what I would expect from OOTP.  They’re a quality game developer.
  2. Statistical Depth – It’s nice to see a game tackle CORSI and FENWICK stats.
  3. Tactics – This part of the game is more promising than anything.  It’d be nice if there was an easier way to determine which players are the best fit for each tactic to allow you to build your team.

And now the negatives:

  1.  Preseason rosters – In the preseason, rosters do not expand.  FHM has offered a workaround by disabling waivers during the preseason.  The problem arises, however, when you try to give playing time to minor league players.  Those middle of the road journeymen that you might call up take a significant morale hit when they are called up and then returned to the minors.
  2.  Trade logic and process – The trade system is lacking.  The game lacks a “shop around” option, a “make it work now” option, and AI GM’s give you very little to no feedback.  Outside of the deadline, trades take a couple of days with a GM just replying with “you need to offer me a little more” if you fail to offer them what they see as being acceptable.  There is no negotiation, just a repetitive “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” method.
  3.  Path to Glory Mode – “PtG” mode is advertised as being aimed at “a streamlined and more approachable way to play the game.”  It’s supposed to give you more of the GM feeling.  Well, frankly, it fails.  Because the game is supposed to be slow, it will only allow you to sim one day at a time.  This might be fine during the regular season, or when your team makes the playoffs, but if your team fails to make it, or if they are eliminated, you are “rewarded” with having to click through about two months of the game one day at a time while rosters are frozen with nothing else to do.  Furthermore, when you start a game, you are unable to fire your head coach.  The owner dictates when the coach CAN be fired.
  4.  Player Development in PtG – Once a player hits the AHL, their usage is at the mercy of the AHL head coach.  For example: if he wants to take your top prospect center and play him at right wing, he will do so.  If you have a prospect that you WANT to develop at a different position there is no way to have your AHL coach play them there.  Have a goaltending prospect?  Expect them to play behind that journeyman third option goalie instead of getting time between the pipes.
  5. Multiplayer – If you like multiplayer, FHM3 is not the game for you.  This feature has been removed from the game.

Lastly, I want to address one more thing.  When people ask for more out of the game or compare it to franchises like Footy Manager or Out of the Park Baseball, some with the company and some in the community are quick to point out how far into the development cycle those games are, stating that this is just the third version of that game.  That’s fine, this game does not have to be at their level but if the pricepoint ($39.99 US) is going to be comparable to OOTP17 and FM17, then the game should offer A LOT more than it currently does.

This franchise has potential, and if OOTP decides to stick with it, maybe they can make it into something more than it currently is.  If you want the game, wait for a sale.  It MIGHT be a game worth $19.99, and it is probably a game worth $12.99 but for a price that puts it at the same level that OOTP17 and FM17 are it, it falls woefully short.

Avoid this one until then.