|a game by||Electronic Arts Montreal|
|Platforms:||XBox 360, XBox, PC, Playstation 2|
|User Rating:||7.0/10 - 2 votes|
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|See also:||NHL Games|
The EA Sports bandwagon trundles on with the one we care about less than FIFA but more than Madden. Despite the indifference to the sport in this country, the NHL games have always provided a more than competent rendition of the sliding around on ice business. In fact playing them is arguably better than watching the sport, in so much as you can actually see the puck.
As ever, this year's version is technically excellent, with all the graphical flourishes and reflections present and correct. The gameplay is extremely tight, and the sport is particularly suited to the 'interactive medium' with a constant ebb and flow whereby one team has a crack at the goal, then loses possession and lets the other lot do their best.
While the action may seem too frantic for any great strategy to be put into place, fashioning chances through adroit passing is key, and this is helped by having all the passing moves on the right analogue stick. If there's a player free to your left, simply flick the stick left and the puck will be twatted towards him. It's an instantly learnable mechanic, and a genuine step forward, unless of course you don't have a compatible dual analogue pad.
Despite this simplification, elsewhere the controls are a bit convoluted, and remembering what button performs an 'auto-deke' can be a chore, especially if you're not sure what a deke is, auto or otherwise. But if you've got the time to master it, there is, as ever, about a year's worth of play to be had.