Platform: PS2 / XBox
Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Sports
Players: 1-4 + online
Anybody who has ever dumped massive amounts of time into hockey videogames, from anything like EA NHL ’96 on the Genesis to Blades of Steel on the Playstation, knows that good hockey games are hard to find. I haven’t been on the gaming ice since 2000, so it was interesting to be able to sit down with something five years later. And the results? Amazing, definitely on par as one of the most impressive hockey games ever.
Graphics? Look to the left. See that hit? Looks twice as good on the actual screen, even better at 480i. The line distinguishing between an actual game and a videogame is still very present, but blurring more and more. Between the graphics and sound (crowd, sticks and the like) this game is even great to watch others play. The AI is pretty tight, though you can still spot patterns in the computer’s play choices and offense. Games like this are really built for multiplayer, and NHL2K6 is a great tool to use in shaming my gaming friends. Overall, this title performs very well, especially when you include that it’s only $19.99 and, of course, it won’t ever go on strike.