Where’s the Zamboni? Review

Colin Ferris
NHL 2K Info

genre

  • Sports

players

  • N/A

Publisher

  • 2K Games
  • Sega Sports

Developer

  • Visual Concepts

Release Date

  • 10/23/2014
  • Out Now

Platform

  • Android
  • DreamCast
  • iOS

rating

Where’s the Zamboni?

Hockey games have been at a standstill for the last few years. Every hockey game

that comes out looks like every other hockey game that comes out with only minor

differences in the graphics, realism, difficulty, or control. Basically, however,

the play is the same. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad thing. Hockey games

have found a system that works; now it’s just a matter of refinement. While NHL

2K
does offer a good amount of new eye candy, it just isn’t that much different

than it’s predecessors.

Unlike

NFL

2K
and NBA

2K
, Visual Concepts was not the developer of NHL 2K. Instead, Sega

Sports put Black Box games in the developer seat, and unfortunately, it shows.

Though NHL 2K is a really good hockey game, it just doesn’t feel as polished

as the other games in the 2K line.

Graphically, it’s hard to complain about NHL 2K. With over 1,000 motion-captured

moves and reflections off the ice, this game looks better than any hockey game

has ever looked. Then again, it is on the Dreamcast, and right now there are

no legitimate contenders. However, the players themselves don’t look quite as

detailed as the ones in the other 2K sports games, and one is left to

wonder why.

On the flip side, there are many little details that weren’t overlooked. If

you use the camera to zoom in on the puck, you’ll notice that it actually has

the home team’s logo on it. The puck! Also, the fact that the players skates

cut up the ice while you play is a nice touch, but where’s the Zamboni to smooth

things out in-between periods?

Ever wanted to see what your favorite hockey arena looks like from ice level?

Well, all 27 pro arenas are in NHL 2K with elaborate detail. From the

fireworks during player introductions to the size and shape of the scoreboard,

the designers didn’t overlook anything. With multiple camera angles, as well

as a good instant replay option, you can watch the action from anywhere. You

can even watch the action from the nosebleeder seats, but this time, that’s

a good thing.

The

gameplay, as I said earlier, is almost identical to any hockey game you’ve ever

played. Wrist shots, Slap Shots, One Timers . . . it’s all here. The fighting

is in there too, complete with dodging and grabbing your opponent. One cool

feature is that you can opt not to fight. If a fight starts and your opponent

removes his gloves, but you choose not to fight, only your opponent gets penalized.

I’m a lover, not a fighter.

The AI in NHL 2K is better than any that I’ve encountered up to this point

in a hockey game. After winning games 17 to 3 in NHL

2000
, I was happy that NHL 2K actually offered up a serious challenge.

Though no one gets between me and the Stanley Cup for long . . .

One of the other things that separates NHL 2K from other hockey games

is the control. The three basics are there: shoot, pass, and speedburst/body

check. One drawback is that the shoot button is really sensitive. If you’re

looking to do a wrist shot, you really have to be gentle and only tap the button,

otherwise you’ll wind up for a slap shot. Needless to say, it can be frustrating

when you’re on a fast break and by mistake wind up for a slap shot, giving everyone

a chance to catch up. There’s also no deke button. If you want to fake out the

goalie, you have to do it yourself with the analog stick. Thankfully, these

problems can be overcome by just taking some time to get used to the control

scheme.

The biggest problem with the game lies not with the gameplay, but with the

commentary. Unlike NFL 2K, where it is rare to hear the announcers repeat

themselves, the commentators in NHL 2K repeat themselves all the time.

It just gets annoying. Even though the commentary is done by Bob Cole and Harry

Neale, it just gets tedious. All hail the person who invented the mute button!

In the end, NHL 2K is a good hockey game, just not a great one. Even

with the few flaws that it has, hockey still has never looked better. Sega Sports

is now three for three as far as their sports titles . . . No wonder EA Sports

won’t design games for the Dreamcast when they’ve got this kind of competition.





REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating7
Good Graphics
Opponent AI
Some Control Issues
Repetitive Commentary