Third in Gremlin's effort to dislodge Championship Manager from the throne of soccer management games (SMG), Premier Manager 3 is a good try that unfortunately falls short in many areas, particularly unrealistic match results. Excerpts from Tim Chown's solid review says it all: |
"PM3 simulates the English league, in which there are 5 divisions (Premier, Divisions 1, 2 and 3, and a 'non-league' Conference Division full of part-timers). At the outset, you can only take the manager's job at any one of these 22 Conference teams; it's a pain not to be able to control your favourite league team, but it's probably more realistic this way.
There's no particular 'aim' in PM3; you might try to take your Conference team all the way to the top, or you might look to get the manager's job at your favourite team if it comes available, or you might just choose to stick with clubs in the Conference division. The game runs season after season; you only 'lose' if you get the sack from your current club - there's no real way to 'win'. It is in that sense a simulation more than a game. But PM3 does give you three ratings: managerial, supporter confidence and director confidence. Letting the latter slip too low will get you the sack (getting a public vote of confidence from the directors is bad news!).
PM3 isn't just about picking a team and hoping for the best. It's an incredibly deep game, with a vast array of statistics, options and things to tweak. In fact, you control a lot of things that a real manager would not; for example you decide on spending on ground improvements and on raising income from advertisements and bank loans. However, there are still directors above you. They can be persuaded to give you money to spend, but their main job appears to be to decide when to sack you!
Overall PM3 is trying to be a very good soccer management game. What it lacks in presentation (particularly the in-game graphics) it tries to make up for with depth of gameplay. However, I'm not convinced as to just how realistic that is. While it appears my players act in ways that they are being asked to, they'll very rarely deviate from precise instructions; thus for example my number 9 who plays in front of goal scores 4 out of every 5 goals for me - far from realistic....PM3 is arguably the best of a bad bunch, and in its own cute way it is addictive and fun to play in quiet moments. Its long term appeal would be greater if I could choose which team to manage, if I had more faith in its 'realism' and if the in-game graphics were presented in a style more in fitting with the 1990's rather than the 80's." Overall, a solid and deep SMG that falls a bit short off Top Dog status. If you like the series, though, check out Premier Manager '99-- a much better successor that gives Championship Manager a run for its money.Reviewed by: Underdogs