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XBox Reviews: NHL Rivals 2004

 

NHL Rivals 2004 Screenshots

 

The Final Say!

Gameplay
6.5
Graphics
7.9
Sound
5.0
Value
6.0

NHL Rivals 2004
- reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Score: 6/10 
Distributed By: Microsoft

"Hockey 1, Hockey 2!"

 

This one didn't grab me at all which is surprising as I am a hockey fan and thought that it would be a fun way to spend some time. All I really wound up with is a title that I would play if I had nothing else.

 

Unfortunately the title plays like a poor cousin of the EA sports titles and you do feel like you are playing something a little less than what you would have hoped for.  There are a number of control issues that stop you from really feeling like you are taking control of the puck and manipulating defenders is a bit hit and miss, the sensation is more that of fluking a move rather than your skills getting you the goal.

 

If there was one thing to say in favour of this title, it would be that even a novice player is going to be able to score a goal or two. Unlike EA's offering which could possibly be likened to one of the most realistic on the mark, Rivals 2004 makes it all very easy.

 

The game looks pretty nice with some good player models and stadiums to play in. I'd say that the title looks nicer than EA's game, however once you start to try to move, you'll see that the nature of the gameplay has you wondering whether you did that crackshot or did the game compensate for you.

 

Online play is fast and easy over XBox Live with your main championship mode that counts toward your online ranking, or you and some friends can just log in and play an unranked game against other folks around the world. It's a nice touch and the sort of thing that just might convince your friends that it's worth the purchase to get Live. It's just a shame that the game was not a bit stronger to support the ease of getting into the title.

 

Audio is a little lackluster, the calls made during the game don't keep up with the action, so whilst you'll get some spirited stuff on occasion, it's the fact that it's in reference to a play that has come and gone, whereas the audience reactions to what you are doing are bang on the money most of the time.

 

I think that one of the confusing things to the title is the poor animation that makes what could have been a very clear game into somewhat of a mess. There seem to be frames missing that make your men jump and jerk around seemingly aimlessly like fish flopping around on the deck of a boat. Very odd to watch on occasion and very distracting.

 

I wouldn't recommend this one unless you just have to have every game that comes out featuring a puck and a set of skates. Do yourself a favour and at least rent this one before spending your hard earned bling on a title that unfortunately is not on top of it's game. There are positives here, but they are just so overshadowed by the titles mediocrity and the excellence of the hockey titles by EA and Sega that there really is no comparison.

- Tory Favro

Copyright 2004 www.impulsegamer.com