- Buy the Game
Reviewed by Rich DeWester
et's face it: outside of the NBA, 2K Sports hasn't been doing all that well with the sports titles lately, especially with their baseball game, which makes 360 owners wish they had a PS3 so they could play "MLB The Show" instead. Their NHL games don't fare much better. The only difference is that there aren't as many hockey fans and, at least until recently, there weren't too many hockey games that would make you remember them the next day. EA’s “NHL 09” was not only one of the best hockey games ever, but arguably the best sports game all year. Needless to say, 2K has their work cut out for them if they hope to close the gap between the two.
As soon as you put in the disc you’ll notice the very pleasant and much-needed graphic facelift that this year has received. This is a blanket upgrade that extends to everything from the game’s interface to the character models and animations. The problem is with the animations, and this isn't just with “NHL 2K10.” Hell, it’s not even just with hockey games. Once the animations begin, you lose control of the character until the animation is completed. Most sports games have this problem. It just seems to be more frequent, and thus more frequently annoying, with this game. This came most notably with breakaways and performing dekes where animations would usually last just a bit too long and leave me shouting "Shoot the fucking puck already!" More often than not you will still score because the goalie AI is horrible.
They have added a couple of new additions to gameplay this year with stick lifts and stumble shots which, while still far from perfect, are a decent addition from last year. They've also added the ability to create-a-team with some friends and play against other teams online. Hands down, the best feature they've added this year is the ability to have a friend join you in pretty much any mode. I wish you better luck than myself, since my douchebag friend dropped out of the game after 10 minutes saying "that game sucks." I suspect it was because I was up 6 to 1 and he is the one who sucks. Overall, you won't notice too many changes to franchise mode. They have a new contract/free agency system, but other than that, there's not much to get excited about.
There is also a new Player Card feature that tracks your stats, and you can post them along with highlights and pictures on your very own personal page at 2ksports.com! Amazing, right? Yeah, I didn't care either. At least Randy Hahn is back, which beats the hell out of some other commentary, so cheers to that. Overall, 2K Sports has done very little to improve the growing gap between them and EA in the NHL arena. It seems they choose to focus their energy and resources on their Wii version instead. This is not to say that it isn’t better than last year's edition, but let's face it, it’s still not good enough. Maybe, next year.