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Platform

PSP

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

SCEA

 

Developer

Page 44 Studios

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2005

 

 

- Improved frame rate

- Commentary

- Wayne vs. Wayne mode is pretty cool

- Good graphics

 

 

- Some basic gameplay issues like passing needs work

- Commentary is welcome, but it can get annoying

- AI could use some work

 

 

Review: Gretzky NHL 06 (PS2)

Review: NHL 2K6 (PS2)

Review: NHL Rivals 2004 (XB)

 

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Gretzky NHL 06

Score: 7.2 / 10

 

Gretzky 2005 was at most, an average game. It was a port with potential, but sadly it was a bit lacking, mostly due to its horrible frame rate issues. Naturally, one would assume that Gretzky NHL 06 would come out and be ported to the PSP, but is it worth your money?

 

gretzky nhl 06          gretzky nhl 06

 

I don't play hockey, I don't watch hockey, I don't like hockey very much, but I'm pretty sure that most hockey fans that want to take the sport on the go will not be completely disappointed in this game. Granted, some particular gameplay mechanics are pretty sloppy (like passing).

 

Even though I'm not a big hockey fan, I have played enough of the games over the years and I know for a fact that passing a puck should not be so hard. One of my own players can be at a reasonable distance for a perfect pass and yet the puck will sometimes completely miss him. However, not everything is bad since player controls are pretty decent overall. Checking another player can be a hoot, except that the AI does it a little too much. The game pace is pretty fast which helps keep it exciting, even if it does make things seem a tad bit unrealistic. I like to think of it more as an arcade game, especially because of the Wayne vs. Wayne mode in which Waynes from are pitted against each other in one of those space-time continuum conundrums.

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I can fully appreciate the fact that most gamers think that AI is the most important aspect of gameplay when it comes to sports games and I tend to agree. Most of the time, the AI is fairly reasonable, although they do occasionally seem to get out of hand by experiencing a sudden and dramatic IQ increases then flip-flopping to barely basic logic.

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The biggest problem with the last Gretzky game for the PSP was the choppy framerate. This was the downfall of the game and players will be glad to know that Gretzky NHL 06 has improved the framerate issues of the previous edition and players should be able to overlook the bad with the good (there are still some minor framerate issues). 

 

There are three different gameplay modes, including; normal hockey, Wayne vs. Wayne mode and 3-on-3. I like the 3-on-3 mode (it harkens back to the Blitz series in all its glory), but Wayne vs. Wayne is quite fun. Players can build up a special meter, let’s say, called “99 time” which increases through player performance. When you build up your 99 time, Gretzky will eventually appear and bring your team in for the win. Be careful, because the opposition can do the same.

 

 

gretzky nhl 06          gretzky nhl 06

 

This is the best looking handheld hockey game on the go thanks to the PSP's high-powered graphics capabilities. Although, like mentioned above, this is not the most realistic hockey game,the graphics and sounds do bring it to life. Character models are a big improvement from the 2005 game, and they have been polished up a lot, look smoother and more fluid. Unlike the last game, there is now an announcer which makes a big difference in keeping up the momentum of the game even though I think he gets a little annoying at times.  Still, I’d rather have an announcer than not so I have no legitimate reason to complain.

 

This game might not be a hardcore hockey fan's portable dream game, but the less pickey gamers might want to give this game a shot. When you want to play some hockey on the go, you cannot go wrong with Gretzky NHL 06, particularly because there are no other PSP hockey games currently available.

 

- J'Tonello

(March 21, 2006)

 

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