A month or two ago, the people at Out of the Park developments approached me and offered me the chance to review their new hockey simulator game Franchise Hockey Manager. Well the time has come. The game dropped yesterday afternoon and I have logged enough time into it to provide an opinion on the game. In this review, there will be three sections to read: The Good, The Bad, and The Verdict. I’ve never reviewed any type of game before so this is new to me. It will be unbiased and honest. This review will be short and sweet, giving the ruling of a Thumbs up, or a Thumbs down.
This game has an INCREDIBLE amount of features. The player can take any team since the 1947/1948 season and start any game mode with them. Want to see if you can take the 1955 Boston Bruins all the way? Go right ahead. The game options don’t end there. Franchise Hockey Manager includes 300 teams across 19 different leagues including the NHL, AHL, WHL, OHL, Liiga, KHL, SHL, and many more. Other features include a realistic manager of a hockey team experience, league events and milestones, in depth draft, fair player ratings and fleshed out player info, what type of roles players play on the team and much more. If you are a person who is caught up in the new wave of hockey stats, this game tracks Corsi and Fenwick. That addition to the game delightfully surprised me. Managing your players and cap space is just like real hockey. Players get upset if they’re not getting enough playing time or if you switch their role on the team. Oh yeah, and you can get fired if your owner doesn’t like what he sees on the ice.
A few things do bother me about the game. I, for one, love the realistic nature of the game but there are some issues. An insane amount of trades happen before the season starts and most of them are unrealistic (Ryan Clowe for Saku Koivu?), and sometimes you will receive a trade offer of “Nothing” for a player. To better understand the actual playthrough of a single game, I will explain further. I will take you through the first game I played: New Jersey vs. Pittsburgh. You set your lineup and then the words of explaining what’s happening scroll down a text box down the middle of the screen. After the first period, the score was 5 – 2 in favor of Pittsburgh. A bit unrealistic, but when the final score was 9 -6 I was seriously questioning if I even had put a goaltender in the game at all. After that, instead of actually playing the next game, I decided to sim to the day of the game and click “Finish Day”. The game and the rest of activities that day get simulated. That games score was 2 – 0. I did this a few time and noticed that when I played, the scores of the game were monstrous. Hopefully this is fixed in future patches to the game. Either way, I’ve only encountered minor bugs such as these in the game which won’t last too long considering how often the game developers update their other games.
All in all, this game is a fun experience. If you are a big hockey fan or love in-depth statistics you should buy this game. If you decide to compare it to any of the NHL games out there for consoles you are sadly mistaken as they are two different beasts. This game is certainly the most dynamic hockey simulator out there and if you have enough time to invest into the game, then it’s a solid purchase. I give it a Thumbs up.
Link to the Game:
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