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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Perfect, But Fun To Play, March 14, 2010
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This review is from: NHL 2K10 - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
Things to like-

Price. This game is selling for around $30 which is a great value.

Game play. True that the default game speed is way too slow out of the box, but this is easily corrected by modifying the game sliders. I've adjusted my slider all the way to 100% for game speed and I like it. Adjusting all the different sliders through trial and error is all part of the learning curve, but once your sliders are set up right the game play is really fluid and enjoyable. Using a quick passing game and head-manning the puck to the next guy just before the blue-line is key to keep your team on-side and moving forward into the offensive zone. Cycling the puck in the corner works well and it's a challenge to maneuver your players at times as they will get bumped around and lose their balance at times. Anticipating movement is key.

Hip checks. If you hold down the O button just long enough while you swing your man into position you can send your opponent flying with a devastating hip check. Body checks are executed easily and with great punishment. By setting your sliders just right you can play a really physical style of play without getting called for all of those pesky interference calls.

Things to be not so happy about-

Fighting. The mechanics of fighting in this game are too elaborate. Somehow the user is expected to look at the bottom of the screen to monitor his player's balance meter and press the right amount of L2 and R2 buttons to keep the fighter standing, but while you're focusing on the balance meter you're not really able to concentrate on the actual fight and press X or O for punches at the right time. I've fought about 10 times so far and still haven't come close to keeping my balance or winning a fight. Maybe after more fights I'll figure out some secret sequence of button mashing that'll work but for now I just choose to avoid fighting altogether because its just not fun. It appears the developer outsmarted itself by trying to add the element of balance to fighting. While this is key in real life on-ice scraps, it really didn't need to be added into the game's fighting mechanic.

Level of detail. No hats are thrown on the ice after hat tricks, whether you're at home or on the road; this aspect has been a tradition forever and it's pretty unforgivable for the game not to have hat trick celebrations. The 2K beats soundtrack is lacking, it would be nice to have a lot more music. The arena music during stoppages in play could be more elaborate by copying the signature songs and chants from the various NHL arenas...noticeably missing for example is DJ Jean's "Launch" techno beat that's heard at Capitals home games or the Fratellis "Chelsea Dagger" tune that's always played in Chicago when the Blackhawks score or the "Daaay-ohhh" crowd chant heard at all arenas. These may seem like minor annoyances but if the game developer would have just spent a week watching the NHL Centre Ice package they could have added the unique music being played at all the different arenas into this game to bring a much higher level of realism. Also, there isn't any in-game recognition of major milestones. For example, using Sidney Crosby I broke Gretzky's single season scoring record but when I scored the record breaking 93rd goal no mention was made and the only way to know when a record is broken is to go menu surfing to look at the records.

No matter how good your goalie is, the CPU will find a way to beat him with a wrist shot from a horrible angle at least once almost every game.

MISC. NOTES

Shot aiming. Sometimes the puck will seem to go right where you're aiming and other times you'll still score but it won't go anywhere close to where you were aiming. Maybe this is the AI correcting your shot when using sliders that max your accuracy.

One-timers. Despite what other reviewers have stated, One-timers don't go in every time. One-timers can be very effective depending on the flow of the game. There are definite momentum shifts for no apparent reason during the game (none after fighting ironically) and the CPU goalie will have his moments when he will be a brick wall and stop 5 one-timers in a row and then maybe in the next period you're able to score on 3 consecutive one-timers. Sometimes you'll have a wide open guy set up for a one-timer and he'll actually whiff on the shot altogether, which is realistic. Also, depending on which team you're playing against and their defensive style, the defense may stifle your wingers before they're able to penetrate deep enough into the offensive zone to dish back a one-timer. I've played several teams (NJ Devils for example) that have really limited my one-timer opportunities and can remember a couple games that I only got 1 or 2 one-timer chances during the whole game.

With the exception of one-timer slap shots, the wrist shot is primarily the shot you'll be successful with. The reason is that time & space is a premium just like in the real NHL. The time and space it takes to wind-up for a big slapper is hard to find and many times your player will get checked and lose the puck before he's able to get a slap shot off. The best times for a slap shot are on the power play and I've scored a couple times with blasts from the point on the power play, but not very often.

Face-offs. Using the right stick on the controller, either hold the stick up or hold it down. As soon as you see the ref start to flick his wrist to drop the puck, then you quickly pull the right stick down or push it up. This will pull the puck back to your left D or your right D. Winning face-offs is challenging and it's a victory to be able to win 50% of the game's face-offs. The trick is timing your right stick up/down movement as soon as the ref moves his hand. After playing almost a full season I'm able to just about break even with the CPU on the face-offs. Some players attributes limit them from being great at face-offs, but if you time it just right you can still win a few.

Hits after the whistle. Making up for the big disappointment that is the fighting experience in this game, at least you can level your opponent after the whistle blows. There's about a 2 second window for you to pull this off after a whistle is blown. It's a nice feeling to plow a defender into his goalie after the goalie freezes the puck. Being able to abuse your opponent on demand like this is a nice outlet to channel any frustration since you most likely won't be able to win any fights.

When line changes are made "on-the-fly" during game play, an annoying graphic pop-up will display in the corners of your TV screen and sometimes this will hinder your view of play along the boards...this actually cost me a goal one time when I couldn't see the puck in my zone on the boards and the CPU took it, made a quick pass and beat my goalie from a crappy corner angle.

All in all I have fun playing this game despite some of its shortcomings. It's definitely not perfect, but it's fun to play. Scoring on break-aways with either a quick wrister or a custom deke move can be exciting and bringing the pain with bone-crushing checks always brings a smile. My sliders are set to give me a decent advantage over the CPU, and I've had quite a few blowouts playing with the defending Stanley Cup Champ Penguins, but even still the CPU has been able to beat me twice and come close quite a few other times...so the AI works well to make it a challenging game. The main reason I chose 2K over EA sports NHL10 was all of the feedback regarding that game freezing. After almost a full season 2K10 hasn't froze once. Good game, 4 out of 5 stars.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 15, 2014 5:33:50 PM PST
Mark says:
Has anyone ever had problems with the ref freeze in the game in Season mode? It freezes before a face off in the middle of my game & then I just have to cancel the game. Pissed off hockey fan.
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