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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Canada

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

September 9, 2008

 

 

- Optional NHL '94 controls mean anyone can play

- Be a Pro Mode is awesome

- Online play is great

- Less annoying music!

 

 

- Season Mode is has been folded into the Dynasty Mode

 

 

Review: NHL 08 (360)

Review: NHL Hitz 2003 (GC)

Review: NHL 2K7 (360)

 

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NHL 09

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

nhl 09          nhl 09

 

Some in the industry have called NHL 09 the best sports game this year. I can't speak to that opinion because I haven't played that many sports game this year but I can say that NHL 09 is the best hockey game I've played in five years it comes to having fun.

It's not because it looks great, the animation is awesome, there are a dizzying number of options and hockey teams, or that the music is the least annoying it has been in years It's because of the inclusion of the controls from NHL 94. Two buttons

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and the stick make NHL 09 the most accessible hockey game since, well, NHL 94. When friends are over it eliminates the awkward half-hour explanation of the controls, a further 15-minutes of frustrated attempts to actually figure them out, which leads me to booting up NHL Hitz 2003. The default controls are still overly-complicated, even if they are complete. It feels almost like you're

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playing a very technical fighting game and takes a lot of concentration over the course of one game, never mind a whole season. Fortunately, there's a middle ground control scheme that's suited to a player like me, who likes the extra control but still likes to keep it simple.

 

nhl 09          nhl 09


Rather than an exclusive Season Mode, NHL 09 has folded it into the Dynasty mode, a mode which will no doubt frighten less advanced players. The Game Now mode just lets you play without having to keep track of injuries, the salary cap, or any of that nonsense. Almost the same can be said of the Be A Pro (and Be an NHL Pro) Mode which grants you exclusive control as one player on the ice. This really is a cool feature, as long as you're not playing as the goal keeper. (A position which will only earn you jeers from the rest of your team while playing online.) In Be a Pro Mode, starting in the minors and working your way up into the NHL is an awesome feeling of (video game) accomplishment because the game does a great job of making the player feel like they should play in position and not just showboat it. (I actually felt bad whenever I got a penalty and had to watch from the box, and I actually listened to what the coach had to say.)

At this point in time, EA Canada has the NHL franchise down to a science. But this year, rather than just spit out another instalment, they took the time to do some really interesting things while refining things like hitting and getting the control aspects almost perfect. NHL 09 is highly recommended.

- Aaron Simmer

(September 26, 2008)

 

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