When considering similar games in the management simulation genre, the real standout game for me has to be the ‘Football Manager’ Series from Sports Interactive. This is a similar game but taking on the sport of Hockey. A somewhat niche market so i expected not to really understand a lot of the game. Franchise Hockey Manager 2 (FHM2) caused me no such problems. With an extensive tutorial system and plenty of online videos as well as fan forums that are more than willing to help I found this game a welcoming change of pace from my the usual football simulation that I am so used to.
The aim as with most management simulation games is to improve your team and achieve certain objectives while staying within certain limitations. These kinds of games tend to be an unlimited amount of time as the aforementioned football alternative is. Although I’m not sure if this game can last ‘forever’.
Graphically these games aren’t outstanding, they tend not to be as that isn’t really where the true value of these games lies. That being said the user interface is nice and clean and pretty much sets out everything that the manager of a hockey club has to do. With various statistics and different areas of team screens ranging from a starting lineup all the way to the finance section and unassigned players. The depth of these menus and the different stats of old players as well as those generated by the game (newgens) is where the core of this game lies. With hockey I’m a little out of my depth I know the main stars and the teams they play for, But I love a Cinderella story so i had to start with a lesser team and for a non hockey fan this was harder for me to do as I didn’t know any of the players, but still nonetheless enjoyable.
Sound is really insignificant in these types of games. there isn’t anything spectacular happening on the screen therefore amazing sound doesn’t need to accompany it. So I tended to just drift away put on my own playlist and play the game. This doesn’t mean there wasn’t any worthwhile sounds in the game. When it came to game sound in the actual simulation of matches there were some realistic sounds that suited the game. So this isn’t an entirely rubbish section, it just isn’t really something that makes the game phenomenal.
Game play in this game as with the other sections doesn’t need to be spectacular however it is incredibly functional and simple and even the most enthusiastic non-fan of hockey can understand the ins and outs of the game relatively simply even with my tiny knowledge of hockey tactics. For the purposes of the game, however, as well as game play can be on this game it really does work so smoothly and there was notable ease when performing the simple tasks, which is how it should be. In game tactic changes and roster movements were all relatively easy the only slight hitch I felt in the game play were the amount of drop down menus and sliders in the tactics section which I personally wasn’t able to competently operate without making drastic changes to my teams style of play.
In conclusion this game isn’t going to be a sensory spectacle with all the whistles and buttons of a big budget game. But the real secret behind this game is the database and engine. This is no doubt a real solid game for fans of hockey, it’s an absolutely fantastic title for that. But for newcomers? It’s exactly the same and is a game that I believe any fan of simulation games should give a go.
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