Review by Psycho Penguin

"Not enough improvements over NHL 99 to warrant a purchase..."

EA Sports' NHL Series has always been one of the better series, in my opinion. From the old days of the classic Genesis version of NHL '94, to the recent NHL games like NHL 99 and 2000, the series has always been consistently good. So, I bought NHL '99 when it first came out, and was eagerly awaiting the arrival of NHL 2000 to my local Target. But first, I decided to rent the game out, just because sometimes the sports games aren't improved enough to warrant a purchase, especially if you have the previous year's version. And when I played the game, I realized that I made the right decision: NHL 2000 is not improved dramatically over NHL '99.

In fact, I kind of preferred NHL '99 in some areas. So, I would advise renting this game before buying, especially if you already have a previous Playstation version of the NHL series. Of course, due to the fact I like to have the most up to date version of the series, I bought NHL 2000. But it was not the wisest purchase on my part. I just do not feel that this game deserves to be purchased, based primarily on the fact that it is not that fun to play. Well, it is, but there are just not improvements to warrant a purchase. Well, anyways, on with the review!

There is not much of a story line to this game, as it is after all just a hockey game. I guess the main story line in the game is just to get through the season mode and win the Stanley Cup. That is about it in terms of story line.

The graphics look very good, and are similar (if not better) than the graphics featured on the Nintendo 64 version of NHL 2000. The player models are very good. The detail given to the uniforms and player models shows, because the player models are very detailed, especially when viewed in replay mode. The stadium models are great, as well, as the arenas look very nice and look somwehat realistic (and all of the stadiums have designs similar to their real life counterparts, which is cool). The ice looks smooth, and the ice does not detract from the game play whatsoever. Also, the game speed is fast, player movement is fluid, and the frame rate does not slow much. Overall, the graphics in NHL 2000 for the Sony Playstation are fast, smooth, and overall very well done.

Well, considering this is a hockey game, there isn't a lot of music in the game, but what ever music is in the game, its well done. The opening music that plays sounds very good, as do the music that plays in menu screens. That is about the highlights of the music in the game, as there is not much music featured here. I did like the music that was featured in the game, however, it was certainly not up to par with hte basketball series that EA has crafted over the years, NBA Live. Regardless, all comparisons aside, the music in NHL 99 is definitely solid.

Sound effect wise, NHL 2000 is great. The sounds are very realistic, from the sounds of the skates hitting the ice to the sound of a 98 mile per hour slapshot bouncing off the goalie's glove, and bouncing off the side of the net. The sound effects are very realistic, and it sounds like you are actually at the hockey game with the way the sound effects are. I liked the commentary in the game, as well. The stadium announcer sounded like a real life stadium announcer, with the booming voice, which just added to the overall feeling of the game and the sound effects.

The controls are still as sharp and responding as ever but the game goes too fast. The game has icon passing, but it's almost useless since it's almost impossible to keep the puck long enough without being checked. The super checks are too easy to pull off, making this look more like a football game with skates and sticks. I did like the control in the game, as I felt it was pretty easy to do everything, and the icon passing was definitely an added feature that I appreciated greatly.

The game play featured in NHL 2000 is good, but again, there just isn't enough new features added to the game to really warrant a purchase, especially if you already have a previous version of the series (like NHL '99). NHL 2000 has plenty of modes, but a lot of them are featured in NHL '99. All the rosters and teams (and team logos) are updated from NHL '99 (this should be expected). This is a disappointment to me, because I expected to find a lot of innovations in this game, but instead I got the same old, same old.

That is not to say the same old, same old means a terrible game, because it doesn't. For what it is worth, I enjoyed NHL 99 immensely and also enjoyed playing this game a lot. The modes in the game are great. The create a player mode has been rebuilt to make it less time consumming and more fun. The fighting system is much more fun and simple. The dynasty mode is interressant, but it last only five years. I'm still waiting for a skill competition, but I guess it won't happen on this console. Maybe it will happen on Playstation 2?

I really liked the create a player mode in this game, as it was arguably the most fun mode in the game. You could create any player you wanted, and had the ability to give him all sorts of special stuff, like design, uniform, stats, and more. You could create the ultimate hockey player with this mode, and it was definitely fun and addcting. The rest of the options in the game are there and definitely appreciated, like exhibition and season mode. The loading times definitely got annoying, however.

The game features solid replay value, however with NHL 99 being an overall better game (sad to say), you might just want to play that instead. Two things here will keep you coming back, however. Number one, the season mode is addicting and you will want to keep on playing it until you win the Stanley Cup with your favorite team. Number two, the create a player mode is awesome and very addicting, as is any other create a player mode in any other game, like the create a wrestler mode in WWF Attitude. The replay value is not extraordinary but it is definitely above average.

This is not the most challenging hockey game of all time, and I do have some complaints. Why the hell are the goalies so stupid? They are to dumb to simply go behind the net when they need to and sometimes they get the parkinson disease when there are shots from center ice. But, the game is very fast(too fast), very hitting (incredible superman checks) and very spectacular. Its kind of odd to say this, but this game has too much action. Sometimes you will just want to watch the game without actually playing :)

NHL 2000 is a good game, but it does not feature enough improvements to be considered a ''must buy''. Still, its a good purchase, especially if you don't already own NHL '98 or '99. It is a solid game, but if you already have either of the previously mentioned games I do not se why you would need to own this game. And now NHL 2001 is out, and that game at least featured some new stuff and innovations. Maybe EA Sports should have thought of doing that a year earlier....

Good Points
-The music and sound effects are pretty good.
-I really liked the control and game play.
-The create a player mode is awesome.
-Playing through the season mode is fun and addictive.
-The two player mode is very fun.

Not So Good Points
-There is no story line whatsoever, would it not be cool for a hockey game to have a story line?
-Nothing here is really improved from the previous years.
-The loading times can prove to be pretty annoying.

I Run Down the Ratings... DaLadiesMan Style!
Story Line - Not Available
Graphics - 9.2/10
Music - 9.3/10
Sound Effects - 9.3/10
Control - 9.4/10
Game Play - 7.8/10
Replay Value - Above Average
Challenge - A Little Above Average
Is this game worth a purchase? - Only if you dont have NHL 99, 98, or 2001 :)
Overall - 7.8/10

The Last Line
This could have been a truly awesome game, but instead does not live up to expectations because of total lack of innovation. Rent this, do not buy.

And that's a Ladies Man guarantee!


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/20/00, Updated 07/16/01


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