September 15, 2008

Hockey for the 360

I’ve never been a fan of hockey and I’ve never played any hockey video games. But with the release of two new hockey games for the 360, and me looking for something new and different, I’ve decided to give one a try. Turns out that NHL 08 won several awards last year and received great reviews. I went ahead and requested it. It cost me 500 points, but I’ve got a couple thousand points burning a hole in my pocket, so I figured, Why not? Let’s give it a try.

I played the demo for NHL 09 and liked it. I thought it was pretty cool. And it’s receiving pretty good reviews. But then Xbox 360 Fanboy posted news that it’s having trouble. Hopefully, EA will fix the bugs by the time I’m ready to play it. That is, if I like NHL 08.

Hockey is one of the rare sports genres that give you a choice as to which game you want to trade for. Currently, both EA and 2K offer hockey games. Looking at the Metacritic scores, and the point values for both games, it looks like EA has a leg up on the competition.

Fellow gamer and blogger, Blake Grundman (Goozex: bgrundman) was kind enough to provide this review of NHL 08. Blake can be found on Thoughts of a Random Gamer and Kombo:

NHL 08 was the game that truly brought hockey into the new console generation. The game was redesigned from the bottom up, with an innovative new control scheme that placed the player right in the thick of the action. Many fans were alarmed to hear that the traditional turbo button had been removed, in favor of emphasizing passing and a balanced team attack. Another key addition was the Skill Stick, which moved all puck handling such as passing, shooting, and fakes from the face buttons, to the right analog stick.

The numerous gambles paid off as NHL 08 won several Sports Game of the Year awards from web sites such as 1up, IGN, and Gamespot. Critics and fans alike hailed the new Skill Stick feature as one of the biggest advancements in the franchise’s storied history. Along with the improved team dynamics, the game has an immersive quality that has yet to be matched. This is by far the most comprehensive hockey game ever released and a must-have in any hockey fans collection.