Conclusion: At least a portion of a sports game’s mettle is determined off of the ice. In the NHL 2K franchise’s case, the recent highlight has been the online leagues and the lowlight, the drab presentation. The online leagues return, and the overall Live package has been strengthened with twelve human action on twelve separate consoles.
Conclusion: Not the worst hockey game but definitely not the best. I felt a little skimped when I was playing the franchise mode and felt they were replaced with other lesser modes. The zamboni mini-game was an excellent addition and having at least updated rosters was nice. Enjoyable while in a game, frustrating when navigating the menus and the simplicity of it all.
Conclusion: Visually I was somewhat unimpressed by this year’s outing in NHL 2K9. I just didn’t see a lot to of improvements. Sure the character models are good, and the beards make a big presence in this year’s game, but the feel of hockey just doesn’t feel all there. The hockey rinks and ice are where I see the biggest lacking, the feel of hockey in HD can be quite the treat and I just don’t feel like 2K has taken it far enough.
Conclusion: All the control customization in the world can't help NHL 2K9 on the ice, though. Awkward speeds are the biggest issue, with an odd disconnect between the timing of player reactions and sheer skating ability. Players seem sluggish when winding up for a slapshot, throwing a wrister on net, or simply navigating around a defenseman, but their feet are always moving at a fast clip.
Pros: Simple button-only control option will please retro hockey gamers, Challenging, if not particularly smart or realistic, Lag-free multiplayer with plenty of game options and frills.
Cons: Very few advancements over last year's game, AI issues and some cheap scoring, Visuals are in need of a serious overhaul, Play-by-play commentary is repetitive and the soundtrack spectacularly grating.
Conclusion: NHL 2K9 is a good hockey game, it's just not great as we've come to expect. While managing to improve the controls, 2K9's move towards making the game more accessible and 'fun' come at the cost of introducing other issues.
Excerpt: Being that it is September; the early morning chill in the air reminds me that the hockey season is just around the corner. I quite like this time of year for I am a hockey nut. There are only two hockey video game franchises that really matter anymore and there are two giants that battle each other every year for hockey domination, EA Sports and 2K Sports. I had the chance to review NHL 2K9 for the Xbox 360.
Excerpt: Sequels to long-time franchises are inevitably compared to previous efforts, and with NHL 2K9, this is no exception. When I look back at the previous 2K hockey titles, I notice that up until NHL 2K7, 2K Sports had a tremendous lead on EA Sports’ NHL titles. However, many argued that NHL 2K8 made some missteps that allowed NHL 08 to gain enough ground to exit the battle with a slight lead.
Pros: Vast improvement over last year., Ranked Team-Up breaking ground online., Defensive AI is much improved.
Cons: Gameplay can be sluggish at times., Quick cuts with the puck carrier not quick., Inability to re-sign players mid-season.