Review by Starship

Reviewed: 10/28/04

NHL 2005 is exciting, fast paced, and hard hitting fun

What NHL 2005 plays like:
NHL 2005 and NHL Hitz 2003 were made by the same developers (Black Box, now Black Box EA).

I didn't like NHL 2003 and EN:2K3 much. SO, I rented then bought NHL Hitz 2003. It was all arcade hockey, but the skating and goalie animations were awesome. The gameplay was real fun and exciting due to the fast pace, hard hits, and player skating animations. I also played in close with the action camera angle in Hitz 2003. The whole excitement of playing the game made me feel like I was playing real hockey even if it was an arcade game. Hockey is supposed to be an exciting game to play.

Hitz 2003 was very fun but quite shallow due to no line changes, no full teams, 3 on 3 hockey, no official rules, no numbers on the sleeves of the jerseys, and no authentic look to the arenas. So, I remember thinking back then, "I would like to see Black Box make an official authentic hockey game but with all the fun hits and fast pace gameplay.

And that is what I got this year with NHL 2005. Its got the authentic look, rules, teams, line changes of an EA Sports game and fast pace, hard hitting hockey that I really liked in the Hitz game. I also play with the Action cam this year for that close up hockey feel.

The Presentation:
The graphics are very good. So good and packed with so much that we can see some slow down during the cut scenes. At least there are cut scenes that are not cut out due to glitches like another hockey game I know. The lower crowds are all 3D, the coaches have real faces, the players faces are very detailed and mouths move. The arenas are pretty authentic and detailed.

The gameplay action is fast pace, intense and hard hitting fun. You cannot just skate in and deke around defense. With so much hitting, you are forced to make plays. But -- to me -- that is a good thing. The defense are easy to control this year compared to last year. The open ice control is a cool feature, but I haven't used it much yet. The setting up of different strategies for plays and face offs is fun to use and the AI on your team respond well to it. The only problem that bothers me at rare times is when a player stops responding to the controls and he remains in one spot until he is knocked off the puck.

The menus are easy to follow and nice looking this year. Unfortunately, there is no league leaders menus or create a player features this year. EA did make a create a player feature that was not working well, so they pulled the plug on it all together. I miss it, but I am having so much fun with NHL 2005, it just does really matter.

The Dynasty mode is deep, but easier to use then I expected. The trading is very easy this year. Other teams are not to hard to trade with.

The Bottom Line:
Because NHL 2005 has an awesome presentation, great graphical authentic look, fast pace, hard hitting and exciting hockey that I really like, NHL 2005 has become my favorite PS2 hockey game. Because NHL 2005 is so fun and exciting, I would have given it a 10 out of 10. But I give it a 9 out of 10 because it was missing some features such as create a player and league leader menu.

I prefer a hitfest over a glitchfest any day.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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