|Review by Matt Paprocki||EA Sports||Sports|
|Graphics: 8||Sound: 10||Gameplay: 8||Overall: 8.5|
NHL Hockey has always been one of the best playing out of all the EA Sports games. Since 1992, EA has always added and refined their game, making each game better than the last. This years addition to the line is by far the greatest hockey game to ever come from EA Sports on a home console.
As usual, the graphical upgrade is by far the most noticeable enchancement to the game. Players eyes burn with anger when they get called for a cheap penalty, talk to teamates, coaches yell at players when making stupid moves, and players flow across the ice with uncanny realism. The occasional bout of slowdown plauges the game, but it is nowhere near as bad as '99 was on the origional PSX.
The analog control is dead on and makes the player feel like their skating on ice. The shot meter lets the player decide how much power goes into their shot giving the player more control than ever. The only flaw is the passing game which is simply way too easy with about 90% of the passes hitting their mark. Also, the defense allows too many shots on goal even on the eardest difficulty level.
The games sounds are by far the best part of the game. The in-game announcers recgnize created players names and actually say them during the game. Also, when players argue, you can hear the player talking (or read their lips!) arguing the call. Muisc blares from the speakers and in dolby surround, your there. Also be listening to the PA announcer as an occasional humourous quip makes the rounds.
The game is packed with features with the only glaring omission being the omission of a franchise mode which was where Madden excelled. The season mode tracks so many stats, it would take days to look at them all. EA also threw in classic and alternate jerseys that can be selected before the game begins.
You really can't go wrong with EA this year. The odd-year jinx has been broken and they have done a fine job with every effort on every console. With a few fixes (such as the jumpy framerate), next year could be the best year for EA Sports ever.
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Last updated: Sunday, June 08, 2003 12:00 AM