NHL 08: Hands On
- Posted August 24th, 2007 at 05:52 EDT by
- 8 Comments
A common complaint with the titles that has occurred recently in sports video games is that the lack of competition produces lesser quality games. The same can’t be said of Electronic Arts’ NHL 08. I should start off by saying that I’m not the biggest hockey fan. Like most casual gamers, I focus on the little guy and simply try to get the puck where it needs to go for me to advance. I am void of the defensive plays and the offensive procedures. EA's NHL 08, however, is teaching me the ins and outs of hockey. As someone who has played hockey games the same way every time, I am finally forced to learn something and use my brain in a hockey game. I am naturally made to want to learn this game, and am taught so accordingly.
NHL 08 consists of two major improvements from last year's version: The addition of the one-on-one moves and the impressive AI. EA proved themselves with NHL 07 which, despite stiff competition and coming off of a year lapse, prevailed as the premier hockey game of last year. Why? Because people admired the Skill Stick control from last year, but this one will leave them in awe. The left thumbstick controls your skates; the right your stick. This is the same as last year, only now you can press L1 to engage one-on-one moves. Tap the left thumbstick in the direction you want to send your skater and the right thumbstick to control what you do with the puck. In this way, you have greater control over your moves in order to bring the game home against the defender.
Sometimes, things might not always go as planned, just like real life. You might accidentally go overboard and send the puck flying into the audience. Ouch! It takes practice to figure out how to move your body and puck properly in perfect amalgamation. Just don’t forget, you still have to worry about getting yourself and the puck around the defender. Luckily, the replay system shows the positioning of the sticks. So when you fail miserably, just go back and zoom in on what you did. You can watch how you did the move frame by frame, and maybe not tilt the left stick inwards so much. If you figure out an unbeatable stick move, hit the replay and see how you did it with the weight shift of the character.. Once you have the hang of the new system, you'll likely find reliable moves for specific situations. This is helpful when you find Scott Niedermayer coming close to your step.
The biggest improvement to the game is definitely the AI. Playing NHL 07 and then comparing it to NGL 08 is like comparing the moon and the sun. In NHL 07, the AI played in the fog of the night. They weren't stupid, but it was the same old Neanderthal intelligence. Literally. It was so easy---a cave man could do it (props to Geico). NHL 08 is definitely the most realistic hockey game--ever. Even though I’m not a harcore hockey guy, I know can recognize realistic approach from a fake one.
You can’t perform any “hell mary’s” here. If you charge, the puck carrier will slam you to the ground. On defense, you need to be most careful. Play the passing lanes and check defensively, when you have a real shot at changing a play. If you don’t, you might find you can never reach the other side of the arena!
Offense takes more of a careful approach towards judgment calls. In the past, it was easy to get breakaways and then look for the one time to score. Or (particularly in NHL 07) just keep shooting in hopes that the puck will swoosh behind the goalie. Sorry, but this won’t work here. When these "unfortunate" goals occur, it looks and feels more natural. After all, sometimes the goalie does lose sight of the puck, but it's not because of the AI. It’s simply because the goalie is actually an idiot.
Going right down the center isn’t the best way to score a goal. You need to pass the puck from side to side. Your best bet is to play like ... (continued on next page)
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- 8:00am EDT - August 24th, 2007
Im waiting to see if 2k8 gets a better rating then EA's NHL 2008.
- 8:31am EDT - August 24th, 2007
I don't understand why people care about ratings so much,if i like the game,i don't care what rating it gets.I'm gonna get that game.
- 1:35pm EDT - September 2nd, 2007
theres a typo. you called it "NGL 08" instead of "NHL 08" on the second last paragraph on page 1
- 3:20pm EDT - September 4th, 2007
I want to know if there is going to be online chat ? ....NHL 2K7 didnt have it and thats not good
- 10:13am EDT - September 9th, 2007
unlike what he said, I AM a hardcore hockey guy,
so this means alot to me.
im glad psu liked it, but i would be at eb right after school tuesday either way.
I play 07 online ( PS2 ) all of the time these days,
whenever my travel team isnt at tournaments of course,
( hersheyjrbears.org ) and i simply CAN NOT wait to get my hands on this.
ive even denied friends invitations to go play it at their house,
just for that wow effect.
simply: i cant wait.
i have a fantasy hockey draft monday though,
so that should help.
- 1:47am EDT - September 18th, 2007
Looking forward to this game now, got it on pre order, as it's not released in the UK for a few weeks. And this excellent review has really whetted my appetite.
- 10:22am EDT - September 20th, 2007
I'm not usually into hockey, but this game looks great. I remember having all sorts of fun at a friends house on some Sega Genesis NHL game, don't remember which one though.
- 8:48am EST - February 16th, 2008
I am always dissapointed that the guys at EA never spend as much time on there hockey games as they do on Madden! Where's the fantasy draft!!!! Online can be fun, and the game is better then its predicessors, but I always want more, lol. I give NHL 08 an 8 but only cuz I'm a huge hockey fan and it is still the best hockey game! However EA is not as far ahead as they once were, and if Madden and NHL games don't get there sh!+ together then I could see the 2k serries takin over soon!!! Sorry EA, I've been a long time supporter, but the slight improvements are getting lesser and lesser every year!
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