Review by proach
"If you love hockey, You'll love this game."
I have been a fan of the NHL series for many years and NHL 2001 has to be the best game in the series to date. Why you might ask? Because EA Sports knows hockey and they really did their homework with this game.
With the fun factor the game hits and misses. The career mode, and the gameplay engine are really good. And even though the game seems very similar to previous NHL releases on the PSX, there are some additions such as the momentum bar which make the game more interesting. Playing with a friend is also pretty fun. The problem with this game though is that fights are much more faster and don't seem as strategic and fun as the fights in NHL 99. Heck the fights dont even compare to what is offered in NHL 97 and even NHL 96! The Computer AI in this game also seems to be not as smart as the computer AI in NHL 99 and previous NHL titles. This is not good because instead of winning 55 out of 82 games in the season like I did with NHL 99, I would win 72 games out of the season with NHL 2001 in which both were done in Allstar difficulty. This is not good. The Allstar difficulty just doesnt suit my need, because I am pretty good at hockey simulation games. So a tip for next time would be to change the gameplay up a bit, make fights better and longer, and make a 5th difficulty level for veterans of the NHL series as myself.
Same old gameplay with nothing more than a momentum bar added.
This game may offer some challenge to the youngsters and the people who are new to the NHL series but If you have been playing NHL games for a while (I started since 1993) then this game wont offer a good challenge. Not even with Allstar setting.
The controls for this game are pretty simple. If you have an analog controller then the game is much better because the control is much better with the analog stick and with the vibration.
This game is real fun to play with friends. Nothing special about multiplayer but it still is fun. It may be a good alternative to facing the computer, because you can always face people who are experts if you find the computer easy to beat like I do.
The season is much better now because a career mode is added to it. The season in this game never ends. After playing one season, players will retire, there will be free agents to sign, rookie entry drafts and the overall statistics of a player change aswell. So lets say Mats Sundin who has a rating of 90 is injured for most of the season and plays really badly then his overall will go down to like 83. Hey its true. It happened to me!
The Engine is the same old, but it is still really good. I would have to say the NHL series has one of the best engines for any EA Sports game that I have played so far.
EA Sports is now starting to make excellent graphics for its games. To mention a few FIFA 2001, NHL 2001, Madden NFL 2001. Well now you might be asking why am I giving this game only an 8 on graphics if they are really good? Well sure the players in the game look very detailed. If you looked at Mats Sundin he looks almost like his counterpart except he doesnt wear a Nike helmet in this game. :) But what misses here is the scenery. What about it? It looks a heck of a lot like NHL 98. There are really no improvements. The FMV in the game looks real great for a sports game too.
The sound effects in this game dont seem to be any different to me than NHL 98. Nothing new here. They are basic. The music is excellent though. I see that EA Sports has kind of made the move from going to hard rock to techno tracks. I dont mind though because I like both. It may not be wonderfully orchestrated like Chrono Cross but hey this is a hockey game. Hockey only mixes well with Hard rock and dance music.
The lack of creativity in this game brings down the value. This game is almost exactly like its previous NHL titles. The good part of this though is that if you have played NHL 98-2000 you can easily pick up on this game.
+ Replay Value
The Career Mode adds a lot of replay value. If you can win games easily in Allstar mode like me though then there isnt much replay value though, but it is always good to come back to the game from time to time whenever I feel like some hockey or when a friend is over.
Ive played some other hockey games outside of the NHL series and I must say that the Faceoff series, the Powerplay series and every other NHL game not made by EA sports does not compare to EA's NHL series. The NHL series by EA is the best hockey series out there and NHL 2001 is the best hockey game in town.
OVERALL- 8.6 (rounded to 9)
If you love hockey get this game. If you are to spend your money on one hockey game get NHL 2001. NHL 99 in my opinion might be more of a challenge but the updated rosters, excellent graphics, the career mode and the other great options are reason enough for you to get NHL 2001 instead.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/08/01, Updated 01/08/01
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