My first NHL game and I was pleasantly surprised. I snapped this one up at a great price shortly after it's release and wasn't entirely sure what to expect.
Personally I think the gameplay is great, it flows well and is definitely much more of a challenge than other sporting titles I have played - you really do feel proud when you finally score against an opponent. The shooting is great, I like the pull back analog flick a lot of games are adapting nowadays, it works very well for this game. It does take a bit of getting used, or so I found having never played an NHL game before - the defending is a little hard to control, considering you do commit a lot of fouls even when the replays suggest otherwise.
Probably one of the better commentary in sports games, rarely is the same advice repeated, it is accurate and provides some good information. The crowd as well as general noises during play are well done and the overall graphics are presented well - a nicely portrayed video game version of ice hockey.
Game modes include season mode, this is as you may imagine where you control one team and try to eventually win by the end of the season.
Be a pro mode is brilliant and created very nicely, tones of player options available allow you to create a very unique character; and specify exact details - this mode is where you start in lower town leagues and try to eventually reach the big leagues.
GM Mode is also good but doesn't come without some issues, you build good relationships with players and other teams, and make deals - I haven't gone all into too much depth with this mode.
I'd recommend this game, for hardcore hockey fans you like it - and if it's your first hockey title the price is down as the new one has come out but it's definitely worth picking up - especially if you have some mates to play multiplayer with as it's good fun.
NHL 10 is a slight improvement on NHL 09 but the amount of bugs and oddness still hold it back. Instead of my usual ranting/rambling review style Im going to try and break it down into more detail, any comments would be appreciated.
On ice there are a lot of changes from NHL 09 that work well. Slapshots from the blue line are a good way to score and the way your AI players pounce on rebounds and create screens infront of the goalie are pretty good. Luckily there are less cheap goals than previous years ( shots that seem to work way too often ) thanks to the game learning your style and tactics during the game, so if your tactic is to fly down the side and pass into the middle you can expect the slot jammed with defenders etc. The only downside to the shooting for me is that wrist/snap shots that most players in the NHL score regulary never seem to go in on the game but you do feel a sense of pride when you fake the goalie out and pop one in.
Defending is a bit hit and miss, you get more skills to use but the game randomly decides if your clean pokecheck is actually or not, quite annoying when all the replays show you took the puck.The main new feature of NHL 10 is the boardplay but to be honest it doesent add too much and looks like it needs another year of finetuning.
Graphics and Sound
This is where EA are the current sports game winners, everything from the rinks to the kits to the players are very well done with very little clipping during a fast paced match.
The sound is pretty good on this game, during the game the crowd gets into the action and the commentary actually adds good advice. The menu screens music isnt all that great but you can add your own mp3s.
There are a few different modes on offer.
Season mode lets you take a team through a very stripped done career mode for a season. Included are the Finnish, German, Czech and Swedish leagues
Be a Pro
This is where you create your own player in any position and try to work your way up to the NHL from the reserve leagues. This is my prefered mode because I tend to get more involved and have more interest in my own player. Its not without its setbacks, the A.I isnt great and often makes bad choices which hurt your match rating. The level of detail you can put into making your player is amazing, everything can be setup how you like it from your height to how sharp your skate blades are.
This is the main mode of play and the one that seems to make or break the game. At the moment its a great way to play but its full of typical EA weirdness. You start by picking your team and reviewing the targets you have set by the owner, these range from the realistic win ten games away from home to the frankly stupid trade for two mid ranked players in a season. The level of detail in this mode is great and you can develop relationships with other clubs which make it easier to sign players from them but when EA give you stupid targets it sort of takes away a bit of realism. The other downer I have isnt really a problem with NHL 10 but the NHL in general, 82 games in a season is a lot and takes a lot of doing.
I must say I do not have Xbox Live so I cant comment on the online part of the game and my version is before any of the updates which may change the game a lot.
So how does the sterling NHL 10 EA Sports franchise improve on the fantastic NHL 09? NHL 08 was all about the offense, 09 was all about defense and now NHL 10 adds one thing that ice hockey cannot be without;
Yes, the NHL series has become gritty and full of determination, scrappy moves, shot blocking, board play and fighting.
But don't let that make you think that it is now a game devoid of tactics, style or gameplay. If anything, this years offering is more difficult than any of the previous ones. Use the same move more than once and the AI learns and blocks you. Like scoring from the same position? Next thing is a man will be there and block you.
The Be a GM mode is realistic in the sense that you have to impress other teams and managers to make deals with you. The Be a Pro mode is more enhanced than the previous years offerings.
In all honesty this is a hockey game for the purists. Stick lifting, shot blocking, desperation saves, butterfly saves and the like will be more satisfying than ever.