|System: Wii, X360, PS3, 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: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Passing is done via cursor system, which feels tight and intuitive, especially compared to more traditional button presses to pass the puck. Pointing and clicking work nicely with the fast-paced game of hockey the title tries to provide. The downside here is when the framerate takes a dip (something that happens fairly often, sadly) the cursor also starts to lag and can be very disorienting.
For the most part, the core gameplay mechanic is solid. But there is a number of little issues throughout that make it hard to have fun with this game. For example, the A.I. is quite horrendous, even on higher difficult settings. I understand an attempt was made to make this game accessible, but there are better ways to do that than dumbing the game down. The passing cursor, for all the good it does, feels a bit loose at times and its easy to overreact and perform a bad pass. Its not a big deal and its not going to cost you a game playing against the poor A.I., but its still annoying.
Additionally, NHL 2K9 is lacking in the modes department; theres just not much of an offering here. Quick play and local multiplayer are all fine and dandy, but online is an absolute no-brainer for this game. There are also a few Wii-exclusive modes in this package, such as pond hockey, but these arent particularly fun, nor do they provide a different experience from the traditional game of hockey, so youre left wondering what the point is.
NHL 2K9 isnt a bad game, but it doesnt manage to stand out either. EA has done a fantastic job with their sports franchises on the Wii, providing fully fleshed-out experiences while taking advantage of the Wiis capabilities and providing all the features that youd expect from the game on another more hardcore console. Sadly, 2K Sports doesnt seem to be taking the same approach to the Wii, and NHL 2K9 has a churned-out, back-for-more-next-year kind of feel. There is potential here, though, and the series could improve over the next year or two. I certainly hope so, because NHL 2K9 has some good ideas. But, execution is shoddy and youre probably better-off checking this game out on the PS3 or 360.
CCC Freelance Writer