Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Canada

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

September 15, 2009

 

 

- Much prefer the dual control stick control method

- Numerous game modes to pique your interest

- Specialized gear and upgrades

 

 

- Downright dumb AI at times

- Recording/reporting issues online

 

 

Review: NHL 09 (360)

Review: NHL Hitz 2003 (GC)

Review: Fight Night Round 4 (360)

 

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NHL 10

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

With the beginning of a new hockey season comes the usual moanings and groanings amongst the faithful fans, and those amongst us with teams destined for the links as opposed to Lord Stanley's cup we get heavily into the gaming scene. NHL 10 returns to us once again, and she is glorious. Chock full of different modes of gameplay, there's a game-type that will draw your attention - be it simple team play, simulation of a single player's career, working up through the minor leagues as a up and coming draft pick, playing as a GM and making the trades that you wish were made, or some variation of the above. The Be a GM mode is the one major change over last year's version of the game, with the usual collection of tweaks and twists that we see annually.

 

nhl 10          nhl 10

 

The game itself hasn't particularly changed too much; there are all the usual window-dressings that we've seen improved over previous incarnations of the franchise. The game itself flows quite well, especially once you get a handle on the

 

- Playstation 3 Game Reviews

- Sport Game Reviews

- Games Published by Electronic Arts

dual-stick control method over the "older" button control method. The dual stick is a little wonky at first, but is much more intuitive for the new-comer - left stick controls the skater and the right stick controls the stick. Push forward on the right stick to shoot, left and right to deke, and back for wind-up prior to the shot. During shooting, the left stick controls the shot direction - so pushing upper left will

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try and roof that shot on the goalie's blocker side. The current incarnations of the game are much more rewarding to the gamer playing as a simulator as opposed to a free-for-all in that you tend to get penalized in trying to make the big play by forsaking your position on the ice. I've lost count of how many times I've given up an odd-man rush after pressing in the offensive zone. One of the better offensive improvements over last year is the deflection system - when facing the puck while in a screen, your player will now intentionally try to put his stick on the shot. The effect is most dramatic when the shot is along the ice surface, but I've seen some nice drop deflections at this point.

 

Like some of the other EA Sports franchises, we can now customize our players' gear. The bulk of the gear choices are just stylistic changes, but the ones that provide skill bonuses all tend to be gaudy or ostentatious. I may have some of the better gear available now, but I look like an 8-year old's design of a pimped out Escalade. All bonus wielding gear that's around is unlocked by playing through different modes of the game or can be unlocked by paying for it (not the most rewarding experience but certainly better than grinding through 4 seasons of play with a specific player just to get a slightly better skate than the one you had).

 

nhl 10          nhl 10

 

Myself, I've played through the franchise modes so often in my youth; I don't think that I have the staying power to re-experience those modes. In the vein of trying something new, I was drawn to the "Be A Player" mode where you start off in the Prospects Game, then get drafted by an NHL franchise and try to work yourself onto the roster then play through a career. In the three times that I've played it so far, I inevitably get drafted high then get sent down to the minor leagues to work my way back up to the show. I found myself having more fun playing a single position on the ice than having to jump around from one poorly AI-controlled player to another who just happens to be the closest to the puck. That being said, the not-actively controlled player AI is much better than I've seen in the past. Most players will hold true to their "intended" positions and play any scheme that you tell them to. Not that they are perfect mind you... I've managed to burn the opposition 7 times in the same game with a set play (cut into the high slot area, make a direct pass to the winger crashing the net on the opposite side will result in an easy weak goal). In addition, for some inexplicable reason your own franchise won't make a single trade, signing, or release for quite an extended period of time but every other franchise is busy flipping their roster every two weeks. It's maddening!

 

Currently NHL 10 is on my short list of active games, I've been playing it online with my friends about once a night. The online games tend to be much more satisfying to win, especially when you do it with a full team. After 20-ish games with my team, I finally have figured out how much late hitting I can get away with and how to actually score when the garbage goals don't work. My only complaint about the online game is the fact that one of my friends' profile causes us problems. Any time that he's in the party, we don't get our stats recorded... not amusing. He's one of our better players and we're 4-1 when he's in the lineup... none of which is actually recorded (Insert annoyed facial expression here).

 

All in all, NHL 10 is a lot of fun, as I can attest to the 50+ and rising hours that I've put into the game so far. People who purchased the previous year's version may want to hold off for another season for more additions to propagate in the franchise before re-upping.

 

- Tazman

(November 23, 2009)