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I've always enjoyed ice hockey games, going back to playing NHL Hitz and others on the PS2. After playing the demo I opted to try this NHL out as my first next generation hockey game and nine months down the line, it is still a game i regularly play.
The gameplay is phenomenal and innovative using the stick as a shot stick which feels fluid and coupled with the tricks you can do it really does make for superb gameplay. Defensively there are many options available to you as well allowing you to poke check, dive, stick lift and body check and the beauty of this is that it leads to a variety of styles in multiplayer.
There are various well integrated modes throughout the game supported by a great and suitable soundtrack. You can play career modes as your favourite NHL sides or start a 'Be a Player' career where you only control yourself as you attempt to work your way up to an NHL superstar starting in your selected teams AHL team.
For me though, by far the best integration in NHL 09 is the online mode. Much like other sports games you get your standard one on one which works fine. You can set up your own team though, where you control yourself and you can invite your friends to join your team. You can then go online and play against others with no lag at all the majority of the time. There is not a better experience online than playing with five of your friends, all with headsets trying to win for your team against random people from accross the world!
NHL 09 is by far my most favourite hockey game around and for many reasons!
As soon as the game starts you have to create your own be a pro player which will be with you on Xbox live and on Be a Pro Mode.
The key features of the game are:
Franchise mode- where you take your team to the top and play as the GM and the whole team
Be a pro mode- This is where you play as your be a pro character and you have to start in the low of the AHL but play well and you will move up to the NHL and you will unlock cards like the veteran card.
Xbox live mode- Xbox live mode is much better and now makes it easy to play a friend or anyone for that matter
Online hockey club- this allows you and your friends to start your own club, and control everything that goes on in the club and play other clubs. Play well, play hard and you will win trophies and you club may make it on the leader board!
All in all NHL 09 is in my opinion the best hockey game out there and i would recommend any hockey nut to buy it!