Review by NES4EVER
"The best hockey game ever... Period!"
I cant believe this game! its just awe-inspiring! I have played previous installments of the NHL series such as NHL 98, NHL 99, NHL 2000... But this one just blows them all out of the water. Jaw dropping graphics, endless commentary, mind boggling statistics, theres just too much in this game to fit onto a PS2 CD. You would think that since its on a CD, there wouldnt be much in the game. But you'd be dead wrong. There are stats of every player in the league accurate as of May 2001. it also keeps track of every players stats during the time you play. Just the fact they can have such good graphics and such deep stats is pretty mind boggling. This truely is the game for the hockey fan that wants everything.
There are several modes in this game. There is the exhibition game. which just lets you choose 2 teams and you play one game. Which is fine if your playing against a friend or practicing. But the real fun is in the season and playoff modes. In the season mode, you can either play 29 games, 58 games, or the full 82 games. After choosing how long you want the season to be, you carry on to select a team. There are around 30 now(if im not mistaken) and you choose one and follow it through the season. depending on how many games you win, you can make it to the playoffs. Once you make the playoffs, its not about scoring goals, its about duking it out to the top. And the teams are suprisingly harder in the playoffs because they are in the same situation. If you have what it takes, you can move on to the quarter finals, and the semi finals, all the way to the finals. If you win the finals, you get the prized stanley cup, if you lose, you get to shake the other teams hand. The hugeness(if thats a word) of the season mode would lead you to believe thats all there is in this game. Well, your wrong. Theres 3 other modes. Theres just straight playoffs, where you start in the playoffs instead of playing a season beforehand. Theres shot practice, and Tournament. Overall, there is more than enough in this game to satisfy almost everyone in the gaming spectrum.
What can I say? they're freakishly lifelike! The players are almost identical to their real life counterparts. EA took the time to recreate EVERY SINGLE hockey players face. Thats right! if you have a favorite player in NHL 2002. Chances are they'll look almost like they do in real life. Of course, what are hockey players without jerseys?... well... they're hockey players without jerseys I guess... But on the topic of jerseys... EA has taken the time to make ALL the jerseys that EVERY team has ever had... Which is quite a feat in itself. So if you have an old favorite jersey that you prefer playing in. Then this game gives you the opportunity to do so. I swear to god. Every jersey from the teams inagural jersey to this years jersey is in there. They even have the 30's jerseys from toronto, detroit, montreal, boston, chicago and new york. This is really good news for any hockey buff. Another thing that brings out realism is the livelyness of the environment around you. The glass on the boards shake when you bodycheck someone into them, the Ice starts off nice and clear, but gradually becomes scarred by the skate marks. And for once, the crowd is fully 3-D!!! thats right!, no more crowds that look like someone took a steamroller over them. They're full 3-D, they cheer when a big hit occurs and boo when the opposing team scores. All that is more than enough to convince people that NHL 2002 has superior graphics.
Its a wonder they got so much freedom into a controller. each button has a use even if you dont have the puck.... which means that if there are 4 buttons, there are 8 things you can do. But you can also do other things during special occasions. For example, after you score a goal, you can assign a celebration to a button. So you could press X and have him dance around the ice. Alot of control also has to do with how much pressure you put onto the buttons. If your planning to snap the puck at the net, you just tap square lightly, but if you want to take a slap shot. You hold square down until your pressure meter is full for maximum potential. Passing was also taken care of, you must point in the direction in which you want the puck to go, instead of previous NHL games where it just went to the nearest player. The controls take a little while to get used to. But once you know them, you can basically dominate this game.
Now thats where this game shines like a million watt lightbulb. First of all, there is one tremendous soundtrack in this game. I swear there are about forty different songs that play from time to time, whether it be after you've scored a goal, the menus, or before the game. Some of it is well known music too. Like GOB, Treble charger and Barenaked Ladies. Another thing that I caught was that each stadium has a different goal horn. I know that for a fact since Calgary has an extremely unique celebration horn and it was in this game. Now even all the great stuff I've talked about isnt the reason Im giving sound a 10. The commentary is absolutely HILARIOUS. They almost went overboard. From wacky things like ''SAVETABULOUS!'' to the stadium voice giving chinese lessons. There are literally thousands of things that they have to say. Ive played this game for quite a while now and I still hear new and wacky things come out of their mouths.
This game has it. You can play for as long as you want. One of the NHL Card goals is to get back-to-back-to-back stanley cups. which isnt as easy as you think. Someday.. .when NHL 2003 comes out, you'll stop playing, but until then, you'll be glued to your couch playing this game.
You couldn't ask for a better game. It has everything the previous ones were missing, and more! If you already own this game, I want to congratulate you on spending your money wisely, if you are reading this to get an opinion on the game, I strongly suggest you buy NHL 2002. Its just such a deep game that there is no way you could think of it as a waste of money.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/02/02, Updated 06/02/02
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