Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 7.9
Sound 7.9
Value 8.5
Distributor: Take2 Interactive
Classification:
G+
Review Date:
January 2005
Reviewer:
Tory Favro

8.5


ESPN NHL 25K

I'm not a great one for Hockey games, don't know any of the players and certainly don't have any interest in doing so. I guess that makes it a tough one for me to be impressed by a game that I'd certainly never pick up in the shop to even check out the back cover, or does it simply mean that I'll be a bit more objective than some dude who loves the game. The only part of the hockey that I've seen and enjoyed really has been the fights and it seems that those guys don't hold back when it comes to clobberin' time. 

Throwing the disc into the machine I was surprised at how quickly you can get into a game if you wish. There are more modes available than you can poke a stick at and these can make for some really indepth hockey action with a huge franchise mode that even sees you taking control of coaching staff and scouting within the game and getting other players to be on your team. 

For a dummy like me playing this game I would like to have seen more animated sequences incorporated into the game regardless of the mode that you are playing in. It seemed to lack the pizzaz that you might get in an EA title but at the same time this game offers so much more to fans of the sport. Also you need to make sure that you check out the menu system properly as there are a number of gameplay options that you can trip over and not ever notice unless you are on the ball that are more bang for your buck. 

Graphically the title is sweet and well animated with some convincing moves taking place out there on the ice. The gameplay is more geared toward the true fan who wants to get a realistic gaming experience out of it as the game's AI is pretty darn clever and you won't slap that puck through the goals by being hungry and trying to be a star with just the one player. Strategise and you will stand a far better chance of winning each game. There is a cool option that I loved where you could pass the puck to another team member and then keep controller of the passer and rely on the AI to get the puck to you when you get clear. It was sweet and certainly for me made it interesting to try and outsmart the computer. 

Audio for this title is stand out and the general banter is excellent, although when getting player specific you are bound to get some repetition. For the general play by play though, this game has it wired.

 For those who don't like the tunes in game, just preload the 'Box with some of your own tunes and get them going so you get pumped up with the mood of the game. To get that adrenaline going even further there is a fighting mode in the game that is always good for a laugh with your player duking it out in the middle of the rink with other players. For you freaks out there who want to get into the game to an even greater extent make sure you visit the franchise mode and just go plain stupid like I do on peanut butter M&Ms! 

The absolute highlight for me was the party modes where you get to do really dumb stuff and play air hockey, obstacles etc. It's the party mode that really let me relax from the main event and I think that it's going to prove to be a feature that is going to be the saving grace where non hockey fans are concerned.

As I said, I'm not a fan of Hockey games but this is about the best that I've played which means that you guys who are really into it are gonna be stoked. Highly recommended! Hockey One, Hockey Two!!!






 
 



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