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September 7, 2010



- Playing games with the kids is a lot of fun

- Pee Wee to NHL career mode

- Motion controls really let you get into it



- Some really strange bugs (including one where game days don't appear on the career calendar) and play-by-play and color commentary is all over the place

- Big flaw with the hockey stick controller



Review: NHL 2K10 (Wii)

Review: NHL 09 (360)

Review: Mario Strikers Charged (Wii)

Review: 3-on-3 NHL Arcade (360)

Review: NHL Hitz 2003 (GC)



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NHL Slapshot

Score: 8.0 / 10


nhl slapshot          nhl slapshot


Hey, you hardcore gamers out there you can stop reading right now. Unless you have kids, in which case you should continue.


Even before you start NHL Slapshot for the first time, you're confronted by EA's hockey stick add-on. It's pretty easy to snap together, even without the "How To" clip the first time you start the game. But you'll quickly discover the flaw of the hockey stick. If you want to navigate the Wii menus the Wii Remote needs to be extricated from the husk. This isn't a problem if you have a second controller, but it's an annoying flaw if you only have one.


Of course, there's a couple of viable options to overcome this. The first is not to use the add-on, the other involves some duct tape and a mini-hockey stick. Whatever you decide, playing the game while holding the stick like an actual hockey stick adds




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to the fun, especially if you're under the age of 12 (or, in my case, over the age of 30). Taking a slapshot actually involves going through that same motion in real life. Snapping a wrist shot, same thing. While on defense, cross-checking works exactly like real life, or a virtual facsimile. Playing this way almost guarantees that you'll have to remain standing during a game.


My kids love going through the motions,


but there's a reason the blade is made of foam and there's a reason the wrist strap should be worn at all times. Do I really even need to get into this? Use your imagination.


nhl slapshot          nhl slapshot


NHL Slapshot offers a Career Mode that carries players from Pee Wee to Bantam to Junior to the final destination: a career in the NHL. This long road didn't interest my kids at all; however, playing in Pee Wee has turned into a huge time sink. It's fortunate that besides making the motion controls very intuitive the developers stripped the controls down to the essentials so that the game is very accessible to kids but it should also appeal to anyone that thinks the current generation of "hockey sims" rather than "hockey games" (like NHL Hitz 2003 or 3-on-3 NHL Arcade, also from EA) has made playing video game hockey a complicated task, like a task, rather than fun.


If you follow the Career path, rather than the most arcadey Play Now mode or the mini-games, the game does a great job teaching the player where you should be on the ice. Because you're controlling a single player the entire time, the on-screen arrow directing you into position, learning the game is much faster. This education can be used in other modes as well, to the point where my 11-year old son can make games very competitive.


NHL Slapshot does a great job playing to the strengths of the Wii, which makes for an accessible experience and smooth on-ice action.  But the developers did one better by including a great career mode that really has depth to offer for more "hardcore" players. It has something for everyone without diluting the experience to tasteless slurry.


- Aaron Simmer

(September 12, 2010)


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