Review by RPG Maniac

"Best hockey game on the PS2? You better believe it!"

Gameplay: 10/10
The gameplay is just simply wonderful. It's fun and doesn't have a steep learning curve, once you've played NHL2002 for 15 minutes you'll know how to wristshoot, hardshoot, slapshoot, check and all the other hockey action thanks to the game's beginner in-game tutorial. There's also a lot of types of gameplay aswell. First, you've got your exhibition match, but then, you can go and start a season, go and start from the playoffs, or have a tournament or exhibition shootout. The best thing about the season, though, is that it can run for 10 seasons (29-82 games per season)and your players leave your team, players get better, players get worse, sort of like a franchise mode if you will. The gameplay settings are also very configurable and flexible. You can choose to play arcade style or simulation style, whatever works for you. The difficulties are great too. Let's say you want to play on difficult and don't like how much the speedburst lasts, just put the speedburst length up and ta-da, the defaults, however, can be reset with the square button. This great gameplay makes NHL2002 one of the best sports games I have ever played.

Graphics: 9/10
The graphics are great eye candy in NHL2002. The arenas look like their real life counterparts, and so do the players' faces. There's also great lighting effects, like seeing the reflection of players on the ice at the start of a period, or having the players' or goalies' helmets reflect the light, very cool. On the downside, coach models could use some work, they aren't very detailed, but still have the same hair color of their real life counterparts, but then again, who cares about the coaches?
The motion captured player and goalie moves are also very nice. EA did truly a good job on the graphics in NHL2002.

Audio: 10/10
The audio in NHL2002 is amazingly good. First, you've got your commentary. It's pretty much on time and actually very, very, funny. You'll remember a lot of lines of the color commentary, but you'll find out you'll discover new ones almost each and every game. The music is pretty good and sort of catchy, and is mainly comprised of Canadian bands such as Sum 41 and BNL. Also, you'll hear the hometown spirit in each arena. During certain intervals, the fans start shouting things like ''Let's go Buff-a-lo'' or ''Let's go Islanders'' which they actually say in the real-life arenas, a pretty nice bonus if you ask me.

Replayability: 10/10
This game is very fun and that's the reason you'll come back to it. Hockey games never get boring in NHL2002, trust me, I've had this game for almost 5 months and I still play it. Single player is very replayable, and if your buddies come over, you can have even more fun on multiplayer. And if you want to push it even more, buy a multitap and have 7 buddies come over and bring their controllers for all out war.

Buy or Rent? Buy, it's fun and it'll be that way until NHL2003 comes out. But, if you're not a big sports games fan and have the feeling you'll be wasting 50 bucks on something you won't play, I suggest you rent NHL2002.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 03/02/02, Updated 03/02/02

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