Excerpt: If any of you have read my past reviews, you will know that I had a lot of snide remarks over the current NHL lockout. Well instead of going back on a tirade and jabs at the NHL, I am just going to concentrate on the game at the forefront. Instead of dragging things out and forcing you to read the review to figure out my thoughts, I am going to tell you right up front that this is the surprise sports title of the year on the Playstation 2.
Excerpt: Aaaah, the sights and sounds of hockey; virtual hockey, that is. For those who think video games don’t have a place in today’s society, I submit Gretzky NHL 2005 -- a game that brings hockey to the masses when the National Hockey League doesn’t seem to be able to. If Sony’s 989 Sports studio were any more in the shadow of EA Sports, they’d need a flashlight to find their shoes, or in this case, to lace up their skates.
Excerpt: In a year when hockey is just a memory in our neural process, 989 Sports releases Gretzky 2005. The sport itself has a ways to go with the general public. The Ã¢â‚¬ËœBig 3Ã¢â‚¬â„¢, MLB, NBA, and the NFL, all hold a strong lead over the Ã¢â‚¬ËœSmall 3Ã¢â‚¬â„¢, NASCAR, PGA, and the NHL. NASCAR, a favorite in the south, has pulled ahead of hockey in the ratings race, while the strike this year has left the sport grappling for an audience.
Conclusion: In-game action is acceptable, the game camera does give some really good camera angles – especially the TV angles which work really good until you get closer to the boards. Game play isn’t as fast as we’ve seen with some of the EA Sports titles, nor are the controls as responsive. I found myself being screwed out of some easy plays by a really delayed response to a pass which leaves the stick five seconds after the intended target has moved (and I ended up dumping the...
Pros: Features a couple of neat gameplay innovations., The action is fast and mostly pretty fun., Solid graphics., EyeToy support lets you put your own face on a created player., Gretzky, baby! Aooouuu!
Cons: Can't compete with the list of modes and features in EA and Sega's hockey titles--the franchise mode is especially weak., Repetitive and occasionally inaccurate commentary., Scoring is woefully unbalanced for a simulation hockey game., Defensive and goalie AI is suspect, at best., Not much in the way of unlockables or bonus material.