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October 2001



- Player cards are nice edition

- Create-a-player is very well made

- Great commentating during game

- Good transitions between stoppages



- Horrible AI at times

- 2 to 3 MB of memory card space?!?

- Not really that many differences from NHL 2001



Review: NHL 2002 (PC)



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NHL 2002

Score: 8.7/10


Hockey. The sport that everyone erroneously calls Canada's national sport (It's lacrosse. Don't ask me, I didn't get a vote). (Actually, Canada has two national sports: lacrosse in summer and hockey in winter -- Omni.)  EA Sports takes its annual stab at the greatest game on Earth, and it's a good one. It's not as big a change that NHL 2001 was, but they did add a few new wrinkles.


nhl-2002-ps2-1.jpg (15221 bytes)   nhl-2002-ps2-2.jpg (16820 bytes)   nhl-2002-ps2-3.jpg (16384 bytes)


The action is well handled, it runs along smoothly at a pace similar to that of an actual game (only with compressed time - when I play the actual 20 minute periods I can blow apart the game with basketball vs. soccer scores). One of the really neat features is the breakaway view. The player enters the zone: it's all quiet except for the beating of their heart and the action slows down Matrix-style. The first time that it happened, I thought something weird was happening to the game and I ended up turning the puck over. The graphics, much like it's predecessor, are excellent with the detail down to the player's faces making it a really absorbing game. The sound though is the real attraction. Like the last incarnation, the music has been supplied from current pop acts; you get some Sum 241 and Bare Naked Ladies during transitions but the announcers are the real treat. Jim Hughson performs the play-by-play and Don Taylor provides the color commentary. The two have a really good chemistry and hand out some really good jokes. I didn't hear any repetition until about my sixth game or so. Some people will not care much for the banter between the two but then again, I say it beats the hell out of the Peter McNab and that annoying dude (he calls out "and it's a drive!!!!", it's a friggin' shot, not a drive!) that I get in Denver.





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There are some great features in the game. Besides the usual setup options for difficulty and number of penalties, there are some neat extras available. The create-a-player function allows you to suit up for any team you'd like, or, maybe add a rookie that wasn't on the opening day rosters. It's really detailed, and the options that you tweak could have a significant effect on their effectiveness on the ice. Another neat addition is the Player Cards feature. You collect points 


towards buying cards by performing a series of feats (win a game in a certain manner, deflect a goal off of the organ grinder, balance you checkbook… you know, the usual). Some of the Player Cards unlock extras, like after goal celebrations, and game modes, like Sumo Hockey and Chipmunk Announcers. Also you can look forward to some new player skills, besides the Heavy Shooter and Hard Hitter, you now have the Hero (a guy who becomes extremely dangerous in the last 5 minutes of close games, or playoff games) and the Sniper (a dangerous shooter who can pick the corners).


Now to the detractions. The big one has got to be the computer AI. No, not the opposition AI -- your own defense. These guys spend more time in reverse than an Italian tank. And in the rare opportunity that they do something right it's because he went to play the man instead of picking up the pass for a 2-on-1, NASTY! Making it worse is the fact that the opposition only picks up whenever they enter the offensive zone. I freaking hate it when the computer can make four blind high speed passes across the zone where you can't even connect two passes between guys standing next to each other. It's a pain (and a distraction) to get down by a goal every time you give up the blue line. The other problem is the memory card requirements -- 2 Megs!?! That's a fourth of a card. I have 18 games and this one takes up more than any other 10 of them.


All in all, NHL 2002 is a great game, but there may not be enough new here for people who have NHL 2001 to go out and pick it up.


- Tazman


(November 20, 2001)


"Kiss my gigantic metal ass" - Bender

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