This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of this game. I have owned every EA Hockey game since NHL 95, and have spent countless hours playing the AI and other gamers. There have been bumps in the road (99, 01, 03), good ideas (player icons, emotion meter, player types), and ideas that just don't work (Open Ice Control/Support, Fighting from 03 on). But the common theme that kept me from jumping to another franchise was a wealth of options in HOW to play the game.
If I didn't like the game at first, I could try many different senarios. If I did not like the Franchise mode, I could play a single season. If I wanted to replicate a post season I could set up a playoff. If I was having trouble scoring, I could practice in the Free for All. EA sports has removed all of these features.
This game was billed as the Next Step in Video Game Hockey. It has a totally new control system, that is quite innovative. Gone are the days "Flopping" goalies. The goalie AI is very good, but could be a bit better. The visuals, (graphics/navigation screens) are outstanding, and clearly the best for any game available.
So if you are reading this, you might ask, why did you rate this game a 3? Well, its just not any fun to play. Gameplay is smooth, but the skating is CHOPPY. The new skill stick can be difficult to shoot with, if you are making a deke. If you get a clean breakaway, head down to the corner and buy a lotto ticket cause you will prolly win! I have played 100-150 games and have had ONE break away caused a puck that got kicked during a line change. There is no clear cut determination of how fast a player will skate in relation to how far you push the left stick. Thats right! NO more speedburst!
A friend summed it up best for me. He said that it might be a good game, but its lack of playing features, online leagues, and manageable speed burst just don't allow for an enjoyable experience. Don't buy this game. It will frustrate you!
Wasn't sure about EA and their recent hockey titles on Xbox. What a surprise! This is the first time I choose NHL07 over 2K7 hockey game. 2K7 is basically the same game as last year with better graphics. What is surprising, it plays more like an arcade game than a sim. Which has been EA problem for many years. NHL07 gameplay is right on track. The graphics are great. My only concern is the camera angles. When the puck is further away, it's difficult to see the puck, same on the closer end. And too many goals slip thru the goalies legs. EA, keep up the good work ! 2K, don't sit back on your laurels. Make next years's game better and I know it will past EA game.
gamers (54%) found this review helpful
I have pretty much avoided any EA NHL games since getting NHL 2K3 on the Dreamcast. Despite being a 2K Sports NHL fan, I decided to GameFly this one, despite the lackluster Shootout Demo on LIVE.
Essentially, this game lives and dies by the innovative Skill Stick control, which is definitely going to have its share of fans and detractors. It does provide a new way of controlling the game, and for the most part it works well. The problem is that there is a bit of a learning curve. Even after a good 15 games, I still have trouble doing exactly what I want when I want. Of particular difficulty for me is the hard wrist (snap) shot. To do well, you really need to master this shot, and I can only pull it off when I want about half the time, still.
Many of my early games have been spent learning and mastering the skill stick, so it is hard to comment on the quality of the AI. I've been playing the weakest teams on the easiest skill level in an effort to get the control down. I'm getting better, but I'm still having trouble "lighting up" the weakest goalies on Beginner level. To that end, the game is kind of hard. I'm sure everyone else out there is averaging 10 goals per game on Beginner, but I'm a pretty decent playe and I'm only averaging 3 or so.
The options are not as plentiful as for 2K7, and fans of the other game will notice that you can not independently change the sliders for Humans and CPU. One thing that bugs me is that I seem to have to set my sliders before each game, even though they are saved. I'm not sure what I'm missing but that is annoying.
Overall, this is a fun arcade style hockey game that may have limited appeal to the sim fans of the 2K Sports game. It would be recommended here on GameFly if only for a few days to give the new Skill Stick a whirl. That innovation, alone, is worth the rental.