Conclusion: Concept: Take last year's excellent title and build upon the victory by introducing the innovative new online and Be A Pro modes
Graphics: With bone-crunching hits, fluid skating, and acrobatic saves, NHL 09 is the most realistic-looking hockey game to date
Sound: Gary Thorne and Bill Clement are the best commentators in pixelated sports
Playability: The skill stick combined with new defensive tools give veteran players more control than ever
Entertainment: With three...
Summary: NHL 09 will unarguably go down as one of the greatest hockey titles, if not sports titles, ever created. EA Canada has done a fantastic job developing this vision of hockey heaven and gamers will find themselves playing it for months down the road.
Pros: Be A Pro Mode, Online hockey league, Unparalleled atmospheric values
Excerpt: NHL 2008 was a sports game that went beyond being just a hockey game. Any sports fan could play it even if s/he would have no idea about ice hockey, simply because of its user-friendly gameplay and wonderful graphics. NHL 2009 takes the 2008 version a step further without losing any of its positive aspects. Extra controls have been added, that add to the realism factor and make the game more entertaining and fair.
Pros: Excellent graphics, correct controls, Be a Pro
Summary: In NHL 09, Be a Pro mode isn't just a curious side mode, it's the only way to play. Unlike Madden's Superstar mode, where your guy tends to be either a superstar or a bit part, in NHL your AI teammates react well to your actions. Take the puck to the net as a defensemen and a winger will cover on D for you. Dance behind the net with the puck and guys fight to get open for a pass. This allows you a good measure of freedom.
Summary: NHL 08 was considered by many to be the best sports game in years, and NHL 09 is that much better. The Be a Pro mode is incredible, and the controls are still the best ever in a hockey game. If it wasn’t for the inconsistent framerate and the average graphics on the player models NHL 09 would be near perfect, and is something that I hope will be fixed for the next NHL game *I still think NHL 10 sounds weird*.
Summary: NHL 09 takes to the ice with improved Skill Stick System controls and the new Defensive Skill Stick, while adding depth and new features designed to help newcomers jump into the series, or show off your skills with the new Be A Pro mode.
Conclusion: NHL 09 succeeds because everything new that it tries works wonderfully, and everything old has been refined. The core game almost comes off as speed-chess: you know the options your opponent has and he knows the ones you have, the question is who will bite. It’s these tense moments, the risk-versus-reward aspects handled in fractions of a second, which truly propel NHL 09 past other sports games.
Summary: There are few moments in any sports video game more satisfying than scoring a goal in NHL 09. It's more than aiming top-shelf and pressing a button before the goalie gets into position. No, you have to outmaneuver the defense with quick skating and smart passing, work your way into scoring position, and then manually put the puck where the goalie isn't.
Pros: Skill stick gives you great control on both sides of the puck, AI forces you to play realistic brand of hockey, Be a Pro mode is incredibly immersive, EA Sports Hockey League is a great innovation in online play
Cons: Online connection issues will hamper your dreams of glory, Poor frame rate in cutscenes and replays, Online interface is far from user-friendly