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Platform

Wii

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Take-Two Interactive

 

Developer

Visual Concepts

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

September 9, 2008

 

 

- Control setup is great

- Fights feel really good

- Different modes of play, including a genius Zamboni mini-game

 

 

- Vaseline graphics

- Commentary is hacked together and poor sound effects

- Opponent AI sometimes acts really strangely

 

 

Review: NHL 09 (360)

Review: Mario Strikers Charged (Wii)

Review: FIFA Soccer 09 (Wii)

 

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NHL 2K9

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

nhl 2k9          nhl 2k9

 

Wii owners finally get some hockey with NHL 2K9 and though it suffers from some really inconsistent AI, the game commentary feels really cut and pasted, and the graphics are smeared with Vaseline (especially if you've put in any time with a hockey game on Xbox 360 or PS3), but those problems can be overlooked somewhat with two or three human players involved.  And it may just be one of

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- Wii Game Reviews

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those thirsty man in the desert situations where a glass of water, even if it's kind of brown, will be consumed gladly.

Besides featuring the standard Quick Game, Season, and Franchise modes, NHL 2K9 also features, Shootout, Mini-Rink (2-on-2) and Pond Hockey modes that provide an arcade experience when you just want to fool around.  There are enough modes here to satisfy the more hardcore hockey fans

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out there, but it's a few Wii specific features that really make NHL 2K9 worth attention.

The developers have made very good use of the Wii motion controls.  The most obvious is fighting, which feels really good, it's just too bad fights don't happen more often.  The motion controls are also used for hitting, shooting and driving the zamboni between periods in a brilliant mini-game, which actually feels like it could have been fleshed out a little more and made into a stand-alone mode with time trails, obstacle courses, and mini-zamboni mode where a remote controlled zamboni is on-ice during a game to really mix things up. (Save that idea for a Mario Hockey game.)  Thanks to an on-screen reticule gamers can also select the exact player they want to pass to on offense or who they want to control on defense.  It takes some playing to get used to it, but it feels a lot better being able to pick out exactly who you're passing to.  The motion controls are also used for shooting, which makes perfect sense and takes all of about a minute to get used to, if not master.

 

nhl 2k9          nhl 2k9


But as previously mentioned, as much as I like the actual hockey part of the game, even with some occasionally strange-acting AI, the presentation parts of NHL 2K9 suffer because the game went the "realistic" route rather than a cartoony sensibility that just seems to work better on the Wii.  The sound effects and the execution of the commentary are poor, which doesn't help the overall presentation.  As long as you know what level to put your expectations, there's a decent enough hockey game here.  It makes me hopefully for what might come next year.

- Aaron Simmer

(October 27, 2008)

 

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