NHL 2K9 Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | Wii
NHL 2K9 box art
System: PS3, X360, Wii, PS2 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: Sept. 8, 2008 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

One of the most fun aspects of 2K9 is its cool fighting animations, and though the NHL has tried to limit its televised fighting, it seems developers at Visual Concepts know what fans love to see. They’ve obviously worked hard to create more in-depth fighting controls and much more realistic animations.

NHL 2K9 screenshot

Their new fighting engine requires you to tap the two shoulder buttons to retain your strength as you swing your fists with the analog. The system looks better than it actually works, as onscreen animations give a unique perspective of video game hockey fights and look pretty incredible on a large screen. Though I still find EA’s system to work better, I like the concentration placed on the fighting element and appreciate 2K’s efforts to make the mechanic much deeper.

Along with the standard Franchise and other modes you would expect, the game features a three-person pond hockey shootout, making for fun multiplayer variety. The new Zamboni driving mini-game is a tacked-on addition that isn’t much fun at all, as you are required to clear the ice in under three minutes. 2K also promotes the new beard-growing feature during playoffs, in which players sprout more facial hair from game-to-game. As dumb as it seems, it is actually a cool little addition to the game. There’s also something pretty unique about winning a Stanley Cup, and this is the first game ever to try it. As hard as a player must work to actually win a Cup, depending on which mode you play a final game in, you are rewarded better than any other game I’ve seen, NHL 2K9 allows you to be in control of your onscreen Stanley Cup celebrations that allow you to party the way you want.

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Details such as these are creative and welcome additions to a sports game; 2K has done some outside of the box thinking to make their NHL title unique. It may be exactly what they need to distinguish themselves from their competitor, though, at this point, it probably won’t be enough to be the top choice amongst hockey fans. EA Sports still has the best hockey game on the market.

By Pete Richards
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.5
Graphics
The game features excellent stadium designs and character models, though they rarely look much like their real-life counterparts.
2.6
Control
Nice mix of controller options, though even with all three, 2K’s hockey mechanics still aren’t up to par with the competition.
4.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Great soundtrack and stadium ambience create the hockey spirit. Uninteresting, dull commentary becomes repetitive with time.
2.5
Play Value
If you can stand the controls, 2K makes a decent outing, though hockey fans should definitely spend their time and money on EA’s simulation for a superior hockey experience.
2.9
Overall Rating - Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Easy-to-learn controls that still provide depth for the seasoned veteran. With 2K Sports' classic default controls, a player’s first game will be as enjoyable as their one-thousandth, while the new and intuitive hybrid controls will provide the depth experienced vets are looking for.
  • Updated arsenal of superstar moves, blocked shots, stick-handling moves, hit-by-puck collisions, and a greatly-enhanced skating engine complete with more than 1,400 new gameplay animations.
  • Fans can indulge in what makes hockey such a unique and fun sport with the addictive Zamboni mini-game, user-controlled Stanley Cup celebrations, playoff beards, enhanced checking, and a brand-new fighting engine.
  • Form a team of up to six separate consoles to challenge other teams made of up to 6 consoles for the first-ever NHL 12-console play!


  • Screenshots / Images
    NHL 2K9 screenshot - click to enlarge NHL 2K9 screenshot - click to enlarge NHL 2K9 screenshot - click to enlarge NHL 2K9 screenshot - click to enlarge NHL 2K9 screenshot - click to enlarge NHL 2K9 screenshot - click to enlarge NHL 2K9 screenshot - click to enlarge NHL 2K9 screenshot - click to enlarge NHL 2K9 screenshot - click to enlarge NHL 2K9 screenshot - click to enlarge NHL 2K9 screenshot - click to enlarge NHL 2K9 screenshot - click to enlarge

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