PC | 3DS, DS, PSP | Wii | PlayStation 3 | Xbox 360 | Retired: GBA | GameCube |PlayStation 2| Xbox |

News | Reviews | Previews | Features | Classics | Goodies | Anime | YouTube

only search AE



Playstation 2









Kush Games



E (Everyone)



Q3 2003



- Excellent game play

- Superb presentation

- Brilliant graphics

- Tons of game modes

- Roster downloads



- Too much lag during online play

- Goalie passing

- Lack of licensed music

- Franchise mode could use some work



Review: NHL 2K3 (PS2)

Review: NHL 2003 (PC)

Review: NHL FaceOff 2003 (PS2)



Be notified of site updates. Sign-up for the Newsletter sent out twice weekly.

Enter E-Mail Address Below:

Subscribe | Unsubscribe


Score: 9.2 / 10


NHL 2k3 was undoubtedly the best hockey game last year. This year Sega decided to have their sports games bare the ESPN license. Instead of their latest installment being called NHL 2k4, it’s called ESPN NHL Hockey. Fans of NHL 2k3 shouldn’t worry because ESPN NHL Hockey is a major improvement over last year’s edition, loaded with new game modes and unlockables.


espn nhl hockey ps2 review         espn nhl hockey ps2 review


The new game modes include skills competition, improved franchise mode, challenge mode, shootout, mini-rink, pond hockey, speed hockey, online play and air hockey. There is also a new challenge system: you receive points for performing certain tasks. (For example: scoring on a one timer or completing ten consecutive passes. The points can be used to purchase legendary teams, throwback jerseys, and game modes.)


The skills competition is a blast to play and is even available when playing online. It includes shot accuracy, fastest skater, hardest shot, breakaway relay and one-on-one. Pond hockey is possibly the best mode.  As the name might suggest, you get to play hockey on a frozen pond, like you were living in Minnesota or Manitoba, with no referees.




- Playstation 2 Game Reviews

- Sports Game Reviews

- Reviews of Games Published by Sega

The franchise mode is where the meat of ESPN NHL Hockey (ENH) lies. You basically play through the season and control your day-to-day activities like a general manager would. As a general manager you have the option of signing players, changing team strategy, managing your farm team, dealing with injuries, etc. As complete as it is, it feels somewhat less robust than EA’s NHL 2004.


The online play supports both dial up and broadband, with 


broadband users having the option of using a USB headset for chat. The online play, believe it or not, is a lag fest. No matter what connection you play on you will still experience terrible amounts of lag and slow down. The voice chat has its share of problems as well. The game uses real time voice chat and when you talk into the mic you’ll always hear an echo, which gets extremely annoying. One of the biggest problems with the online play is the inability to chat in the game lobbies and to play pond hockey online. On a positive note there are roster updates available for download.


Sega has been concerned with publishing a hockey game that delivers simulation style of play. Other games on the market such as Hitz and EA’s NHL series lean more towards arcade style play. Sega couldn’t have hit the mark better as they truly have a great understanding of what a real hockey game should play like. ENH finally presents game play where playing defence is as much fun as playing offence.


The offensive game is great with more board work and extremely realistic puck physics. The deke system also gets a shot in the arm. The defensive game has received a number of noticeable tweaks. Most notably are new body checks, more defensive moves, improved board pinning, improved AI, and better defensive positioning. The body checks are much improved from NHL 2k3 as you can now check players over the boards and deliver crushing hip checks.


The biggest complaint about NHL 2k3 was the goalie skill, which many referred to as “super human”. Although the goalie this year is drastically improved, there are still a few quirks. A major problem is the goalie passing. It’s too difficult to control which direction you want to pass the puck to. Not only that, at times you end up putting the puck in your own net!


espn nhl hockey ps2 review          espn nhl hockey ps2 review


The graphics are superb. When compared to NHL 2k3 you’ll have trouble recognizing that both games are part of the same franchise. The player faces are brilliant (complete with facial expressions), the animation smooth, and the small details (like official brands) have been nailed. It’s nice to see that Kush has paid attention to background detail as well. You’ll see fans waving towels and reacting realistically to plays in the game. One of the best additions is the crowd chants. You’ll hear the crowd screaming team chants and even player specific chants. So if Curtis Joseph makes a big save when playing at home you’ll hear the crowd chanting “Cujo, Cujo, Cujo.” When you score a hat trick and you are the home team the fans will throw hats on the ice as well.


The soundtrack is made up of ESPN style music, but it tends to get repetitive. ENH also has authentic hockey goal and intermission songs as well.


The presentation is probably the best in any sports game out on the market. You can truly see the ESPN integration in the game. The cut scenes are beautiful and commentating is great. Bill Clement and Gary Thorne provide the commentary and do an excellent job. Both commentators have an insightful take on the action and always keep up with the plays with some slick stat overlays.


Despite it’s minor flaws, ESPN NHL Hockey is a great hockey game. If you were a fan of NHL 2k3, ENH is a must have. And even though it’s more directed at simulation style fans, ENH is a game worth checking out for all hockey fans.


- Siddharth Masand

(October 26, 2003)

Digg this Article!  | del.icio.us 

Advertise | Site Map | Staff | RSS Feed           Web Hosting Provided By: Hosting 4 Less


 - CivFanatics-   - Coffee, Bacon, Flapjacks! -    - Creative Uncut -      - DarkZero -     - Dreamstation.cc -   

 - gamrReview-     - Gaming Target-    - I Heart Dragon Quest -    - New Game Network -

- The Propoganda Machine -    - PS3 : Playstation Universe -     - Zelda Dungeon - 

All articles ©2000 - 2014 The Armchair Empire.

All game and anime imagery is the property of their respective owners.

Privacy Statement - Disclaimer