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Platform

Xbox 360 (download only)

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Canada

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

February 11, 2008

 

 

- Back and forth hockey action that anyone should be able to pick-up and play

- Still has some control depth for more "technical" fans

- Tons of fun

- The power-ups and presentation are great

 

 

- Completely uneven online matches most of the time

- Hitting not as visceral as you'd think it would be

 

 

Review: NHL Hitz 2003 (GC)

Review: NHL 09 (360)

Review: Skate 2 (360)

 

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3-on-3 NHL Arcade

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

3-on-3 nhl arcade          3-on-3 nhl arcade

 

Itís been a long, long time coming.  Itís the first arcade hockey game Iíve played since NHL Hitz 2003 and though 3-on-3 NHL Arcade has room to grow, I love the ability to just pick-up the controller, play a few games (having fun; win or lose), then carry on with my day, knowing that when I play again, Iíll have fun.

 

The look of the game instantly removes any feeling of intimidation that most sports games have been cultivating for at least the last 5 years.  If itís not ďrealĒ enough, with sim-level control of players and backroom dealings, then it somehow fails to

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ďadvance the genreĒ and the genre cements itself into such a hardcore niche that itís unlikely to attract anyone outside of that fanbase.  3-on-3 NHL Arcade throws most of that out.

 

3-on-3 NHL Arcade is one of those games I can play with anyone because the controls are simple enough that thereís no awkward explanation of the controls and the ensuing

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30 minutes of unbalanced play as they try to figure the controls out for themselves.  There is a bit more complexity to the controls for those that want to use them, like the freestyle control with the right stick, but the game does not go out of its way to confuse anyone.

 

Because there are no rules Ė and many different power-ups Ė the back and forth of each match is continuous.  There is only the briefest of pauses when a goal is scored: about three seconds then the puck drops behind the net so play can continue.

 

3-on-3 nhl arcade          3-on-3 nhl arcade

 

Thereís a certain Mario Kart flavor to the power-ups, like speed boost, giant player, and freeze and even those have been streamlined to be activated when you skate into them.  The offensive aspects of the gameplay are really emphasized because power-ups only get scattered on the ice after hitting the opposition; plus, if youíve not constantly on the offensive, especially behind your own net after a goal is scored, can mean that your opponent can have unlimited control of the puck and pretty much score at will.

 

Blowouts, particularly online where encountering 2-on-1 or 3-on-1 was pretty common whenever I played online Ė some more filters would have been nice Ė are commonplace but oddly enough, even when I was on the receiving end of these humiliations, I always played again simply because itís fun.

 

With games like 3-on-3 NHL Arcade, though the online good, it really feels better when played with real-life players while sitting on the same couch, trash talking and mimicking the announcer and the crazy sound effects.  Itís goofy fun and for $10, itís what every arcade sports fan has been waiting for.

 

- Aaron Simmer

(March 19, 2009)

 

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