|NHL 08 (2007)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Available for: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2
If you’ve been keeping up with the video game reviews here at Bullz-Eye as of late, you’ll notice we’ve pretty much covered the kit and caboodle of almost every big sports title Electronic Arts has dished out this year. Some have been quite worthy (“Madden 08,” “NCAA 08”), while others were decently fun (“Tiger Woods 08”), while still others were OK if there was any real clue as to what was going on (“Rugby 08”). Well, now it’s time to strap on those ice skates once again and take it to the fabled rinks of North America for the latest version of “NHL 08.” Does it make the grade? Is it just an updated roster with a couple of new things to make fans shell out their money?
Eh, that’s pretty much the case, or at least it is on the PS2 version. Apparently the PS3 and 360 takes on the title are the ones to get into, but for Sony’s reigning champion console, it’s not much different from last year’s version. If you recall, “NHL 07” was where the skill stick was introduced on the 360 version. You know, the right analog stick used for hitting the puck and making for more “realistic” shooting. Overall, it was a pretty good game, but didn’t hold a candle to the much better “NHL 2K7” that skated rings around its competition. The problem was EA was so busy integrating the skill stick into the game that they kind of forgot to make the rest of the game as fun, furious and well-rounded in comparison to 2K Games’ title.
So here we are again, a new year and the skill stick is finally brought over to the PS2. Was it worth the wait? Not really, as the precision with the skill stick setup isn’t very accurate at times. Why not just switch it out to the good old button variation that you’re used to from the olden days? That should make it a bit better. One gets the feeling that when playing this game on the PS2 that EA was just really sleepwalking through the development. Damn, I can remember when I got my PS2 years back and was really stoked to be playing whatever year’s version of this game that was out then. Now the general feeling I get from watching this series play out on the PS2 is one of resigned boredom.
So what else was thrown in to this take? Hey, if you’re into managing some minor league action in the Dynasty mode, then step right up and dive in. What, minor league hockey isn’t why you picked up this game? Yeah, I can understand that. I didn’t play with it too much, either. You basically pick up an NHL game to play the big leagues, don’t you? It’s understandable. But hey, there’s also the Euro elite leagues to try out, and a crappy mini-game tossed in as well. Still not selling you on it? It’s OK, that’s why I’m here.
With an overall wonky Dynasty mode and graphics that don’t seem to be getting better year after year on this old system, “NHL 08” on the PS2 is just your run-of-the-mill mediocre hockey game. If you haven’t yet plunked down for a next-gen system and you need that hockey fix, then this game is probably for you and you alone. Everyone else has done hit the ice countless times on their newer systems, and undoubtedly reaped some kind of reward from it. Will there be an “NHL 09” for the PS2 come next year? It wouldn’t be surprising. And it also wouldn’t be surprising if it was as stale as this year’s game. Meh.