|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Visual Concepts||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: 2K Sports||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 15, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Beyond the aforementioned sports game stalwarts, there are a few more novelty-filled modes available as a distraction. Pond hockey and three on three mini-rink modes provide a change up to the regular action with their own twists, as does the ever popular shootout. Still, none of these compare with the sheer oddity that the zamboni-driving mini-game provides in spades.
Between periods in a game, you can take the wheel of the ever-popular zamboni and see how much of the ice you can clear before time runs out. Yes, this is a returning mode from last year, but that doesn't make it any less strange or fun. Who wouldn't want to do their best Steve Austin impression to let off a little steam after a frustrating period of play? No, the driving mechanics may not rival the intricacies found in the Need for Speed franchise, but it's still goofy fun. Of course, there are achievements tied into it as well, just to make sure everyone gets the wonderful experience of bemused frustration while attempting a perfect 100 percent.
Overall, NHL 2K10 is a decent hockey game. Overly simplistic controls and a mundane franchise mode will frustrate fans of a deeper experience. Every cloud has its silver lining though, as casual hockey watchers may appreciate the lack of nuances and just skate forward blissfully to the next body check and slapshot. Still, it's hard to ignore the giant shadow from EA's NHL 10. The lack of depth in NHL 2K10 will eventually lead players to wish for something more after they've mastered everything 2K Sports' has to offer, and they will likely be lured by the features and experience from a more complete experience with NHL 10.
It's hard to recommend a game when there is a clearly superior alternative on the market that does everything so wonderfully. NHL 2K10 isn't bad and it is poised to make a run at the EA franchise sooner rather than later. But for this year, unless you are completely adverse to anything other than a quick arcade hockey fix, NHL 10 is the game to get. Just don't forget about the 2K series next year. Or, in hockey terms, EA may have the lead going into the second period but 2K Sports is hungry and steadily gaining momentum.
CCC Freelance Writer