September 28, 2008

Hockey is Missing the Mini-Game

I've stated before that I'm not a hockey fan, and I don't think I'll become one anytime soon. It seems that all you do in hockey is skate up the ice, maybe get checked, maybe not, maybe you can pass to someone, if anyone's open, and then maybe you can get a shot off before the ref stops the game for offsides. And when I do get a shot off, it feels like a random-generator determines if it's a goal or not. On the defensive side, not having control of the goalie gives you a helpless feeling when the enemy, eh, I mean the opponent bears down on the goal.

This game is sorely missing mini-games. When your forward approaches the net, it should go into a close-up mode (so you can actually see what's going on), the action should slow down, and you should be given the time to set up your shot, swing your stick, aim the puck, and let it fly. Otherwise, you're just swinging the so-called skill stick and maybe the shot will get off, maybe it won't. Most of the time, if the shot doesn't go wide, then the goalie easily blocks it, and then sometimes, for no reason at all, the puck might go in the net. It's ridiculous, there's no rhyme or reason to the whole thing.

Unless you're a die-hard hockey fan, chances are you've never heard of any of the players. Which makes trading players, and creating a dynasty, seem much more like a chore than anything associated with fun.

I've heard from gamers that hockey is really just about the fights. So, I started some fights. And they sucked. It seems like all you do is push the R stick up repeatedly and eventually you'll knock the other guy out. There was no blood splatters or anything. I felt very let down.

And that brings me to the critics. The damn critics. They gave EA's NHL 08 glowing reviews and heaped awards on this game while the 2K version basically got dumped on. It really, *really* makes me wonder how much EA pays off critics and publishers with rewards, gifts, or special preview copies, because there is nothing in NHL 08 that really makes me want to continue playing. This one is back on the offers list and I really doubt it if I'll play another hockey game. The skaters are hard to control, the action is too far away to tell what's going on, and there are many times where I completely lost the puck. The checking appears to happen at random. The passing seems to happen at random. I think I'm passing down the ice and next thing I know the puck is heading back to my own goal. What is that all about? I'm done ranting now. I'm just glad I didn't pay any money for this. I'm just hoping to trade it back at even value for what I got for it. I just feel bad for the next sucker who might trade for it.

I'm going back to finish up the Shivering Isles and maybe some more CoD4 multi-player before CoD5 comes out. Now those are games. Damn good games.