All right, so you can see the writing on the side of the puck if you look closely. Fine, there are nine different types of gloves, four types of sticks, eight types of skates, four types of helmets, all complemented by a bundle of jerseys for each team, some going as far back as 1923. Sure, there are 100 goalie animations, 16,000 unique sound files and 800 different player faces. But amidst all the numbers and statistics to clog your cranium, the best part is that Black Box has done the unthinkable: They've created a stunning hockey game. And we're not just talking about the way it looks. NHL 2K will satiate the appetites of hockey fans who have been making up excuses as to why console hockey games have sucked for the last few years. There are some definite flaws which can be attributed to NHL 2K being a first-generation game. But the major frustration for us is that the mistakes seem like no-brainers after all this time. First of all, there's no fake shot, which is pretty disappointing. Also, the goalies don't bother to leave the net on a delayed penalty. Come on, guys. The stat tracking is a little weird. There's a ton of stats that can be viewed by each team individually, but there's no league leader page. Odd. And the laugher is that cover boy Brendan Shanahan is wrong-handed! But besides all these tiny complaints, we've got one heck of a game on our hands. The ice is like a mirror, the players skate like real NHLers, checking is as forceful and aggressive as the real thing (you can even lay out players on your own team), and the great players really carry their teams. Great skaters can make great moves, and using an overpursuing defenseman's momentum against him is as satisfying as finding a 20 dollar bill on the street. There are improvements to be made (we've yet to mention the lack of a franchise mode), but overall this game is the best hockey simulation yet, and it's soooo fun.
For a long, depressing time hockey fans have been waiting impatiently for a game to capture the feel of the NHL, the way hockey vid-games of the mid-'90s did. Well that day has finally come. NHL 2K is simply the best hockey game I've ever played. The game-play is awesomely smooth and the skating is as realistic as it gets. Checking is fantastic, and the animations that go along with it are graphic and brutal. Skaters can be completely dumped, crunched into a pile, or they can shake off the hit, go to a knee, and pick up where they left off with the puck still on their stick. Checking also offers a great amount of risk/reward, which seems to be lacking in most hockey games. If you miss a big hit you risk giving up a breakaway, but if you lay the skater out you're rewarded with a glimpse of your transition game. There are some flaws, though. Where's the fake shot? And the line changing menus are bulky and distracting, though you're able to change offensive and defensive lines separately, which I'm a huge fan of. Also, the goalies seem nearly invincible, which allows a lax defense. It'd be nice if there were more goals off breakaways to counteract sloppy defensive play. Overall, the game is brilliant. It's a visual exemplar of hockey in the new millennium and the stars of each team shine bright. This is a must-buy.
NHL 2K is a game I love to hate. Like the other 2K titles to date. NHL 2K falls into the "just short" category. Maybe I'm expecting too much, but little things, like not tracking League Leaders, goalies made of stone, and the lack of a fake shot, add up to a fair level of frustration for me. Still, there is enough depth, and definitely enough challenge, to keep me coming back. Kudos to Black Box for adding to the solid DC sports lineup.
I had my doubts about NHL 2K...boy was I wrong. It's fantastic. The graphics are brilliant. The players are detailed to the hilt, especially in the faces. The ice is like a sheet of glass reflecting everything that rolls across it. But really, the best part Is the gameplay. I'm not a big hockey fan but NHL 2K really got me pumped up. The animation isn't jerky in the least, it's smooth as silk, even while using special moves. It has a few glitches but overall I like it a lot.
What a turnaround! A month ago, we got a preview build of this game that made us shudder, but boy have things changed. NHL 2K is hardly perfect, but for a first-gen effort it's extremely solid. The graphics aren't quite up to par with NHL 2000 for the PC, but they're still real nice, and everything moves at a brisk speed. The gameplay is tight, though sometimes it seems as if the CPU "cheats" a bit. Another must-buy DC sports game? Yep.
Download NHL 2k
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Naturally, due to the name, you probably think NHL 2K is another Visual Concepts product right? Nope, it's being developed by Black Box for Sega, a team comprised mainly of former Radical Entertainment programmers (remember NHL Powerplay?). Needless to say these guys know their hockey. NHL 2K features all the NHL licenses, players and stadiums you could hope for, not to mention great graphic detail. The player models alone feature some 1,400 polygons per character. Facial detail is as close to the real thing as we've seen (outside of NBA 2K). For animation, more than 1000 motion-captured moves are used. Even the fighting looks ultra-realistic. With any luck at all, NHL 2K will continue the high standards that NFL and NBA 2K established. Look for the game in February.