NHL 09 Review
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NHL 09 will unarguably go down as one of the greatest hockey titles, if not sports titles, ever created. EA Canada has done a fantastic job developing this vision of hockey heaven and gamers will find themselves playing it for months down the road.
- Be A Pro Mode
- Online hockey league
- Unparalleled atmospheric values
- Some minor camera issues
(continued from previous page) ...allow 12 players to compete 6 on 6 in order to watch their baby Lemieux’s grow into something magical. Not only are you able to show off your talent to the world, but you’re also given the same in-depth stat tracking, as you are offline. Furthermore, if you’re able to get a competent group of players together, there is no limit to how much ownage you can deliver unto your opponents. Thankfully if you’re paired up with a bunch of unskilled players, it will not affect your offline character, as their personas are not intertwined to that degree.
Naturally, NHL 09 still offers your standard Dynasty Mode that gives you the chance to take any team to the Promised Land over a certain amount of years. While this may have been the meat and potatoes of last year’s installment, it now plays second fiddle to the aforementioned Be A Pro challenge. Dynasty Mode delivers everything gamers are used to with the exception of the ability to raise and lower ticket pricing and things of that nature. It seems that EA Sports is removing a lot of the “owner” aspects from their Franchise/Dynasty modes across all titles as of late. However, you’re still capable of dropping players from the NHL to the AHL or vice versa. Outside of these minor changes, you can expect the same type of offering as the game’s predecessors.
While the core of NHL 09’s gameplay is better left unchanged, EA has given more power to the defensive style of player. Last year’s entry saw the skill stick pave way for offenses to utilize the analog stick for perfect one-times and beautifully crafted wrist shots. This time around, the defensive has received a skill upgrade of their very own which enables them full 360-degree movement via the analog stick. You’re capable of lifting up an opponent’s stick to prevent a one-time or just attempt to block the passing lanes. Regardless of how you utilize it, the defensive aspects of the game have been vastly improved.
Speaking of defense, EA Sports has revamped the artificial intelligence of the defenders to be more aggressive and to check harder. This small change has sparked a far greater realistic gameplay experience. The developers have also improved the collision detection within gameplay and replays, further complimenting the overall authenticity of the title, enabling users to feel closer to the action than ever before.
Visually, NHL 09 remains fundamentally similar to last year’s outing. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Indeed, EA holds true to this philosophy by upgrading some finer details of each player, while still leaving the base of their character models intact. Some of the dynamic lighting and reflections in NHL 09 are vastly superior to those of ’08.
Elsewhere, NHL 09 recreates a memorable atmosphere during play with great commentary from Bill Clement and Gary Thorne. The dynamic duo truly grasps the user and pulls them into the action at an unbelievable level. The Madden team could definitely take a few tips from the announcer team from the NHL franchise. These two guys are so good they make a simple pass sound exciting.
NHL 94 is slowly becoming an afterthought as more time is being poured into EA’s latest hockey release. NHL 09 will not only win Sports Game of the Year, but could definitely hold a strong argument for greatest sports title of all time. EA Canada has truly outdone itself this time around the rink.
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