Review by PSO Femme

"Hard Hitting fun or Ticky Tac goals?"

Me being among the few female casual game players here who like a nice game of puck would like to say that NHL 2002 is a real good game but not a great game and it is worth a purchase more so than a rent.Before all you hardcore hockey heads get on me for not being a hardcore hockey head consider this.I got San Jose Shark season tickets.My boyfriend is a diehard hockey fan.Let us continue with the Review shall we::

Graphics::The look and the movement of the skaters are the best I ever seen.(which isn't saying much considering the pS2 is still wowing me).Considering my first hockey game was NHL 93 thanks in part to late nights hanging in my brothers room and getting my butt kicked in the game.The overall presentation of the arenas are astounding.The animation of the players are very good as well.Maybe the best its ever going to be.9/10

Sound::From the sounds on the ice,the cool rock jams during the presentation screens,and the color commentary.This is what makes this game the best I have ever played.EA goes all out in this department.Some reviewers state that the color commentary is good but gets tiresome after a week.Not to me since the timing of the jokes and commentary is dead on with what goes on the ice.Some of the jokes are very funny.I have never laughed while playing a sports game ever.The soundtrack is very good also.I'm not a big fan of Bare Naked Ladies or really heard any of their tunes.But after this game I'll make sure to give them a listen in the future.10/10

Gameplay::Where do I begin..deep breath..Okay.If this is your first hokey game or first one you have purchased and played in awhile.Prepare to relearn the game all over again.Me being the queen of puck in NHL 2001 on PSX decided to play the game on the setting of medium or the default setting.I won my first game 5 to 4 with my new and improved Atlanta Thrashers.Only to get spanked in the next game 8 to 2.Then after that more lopsided losses.Yeah you hardcore hockey players will laugh.But for other veterans including myself this game is purposely cheap.The game goes like this you score a goal the other team will score 1 or 2...3..etc.The emotion meter makes the computer team very evil when it gets high.They out skate you,out check,and out score you so bad the game is frustrating.Even on easy the game turns into a score fest.I spank the computer on easy mode but my goalie still gives up 4 or 5 goals a game.It wouldn't be so bad if the goals were actually good goals.But no,the goals the computer scores are cheap.I've been in situations where my goalie is blocking every shot.Then I get the first goal in the game.So I'm like Yeah!.Until..the computer shoots a slow putter that goes in between my goalies legs.Then their emotion meter gets high and the computer scores 2 or 3 more goals.And you spend the rest of the game playing catch up.In which you won't because every time you come back the computer goes on another scoring binge.And this is on the default setting!
Every other aspect is dead on except the shooting which I don't like.Shots are mostly angle based.Unless you really really know your hockey dynamics.Your shots are going to miss the net or get blocked.60% of the goals scored by the computer are cheap goals while you the player have to work to get yours.Its hard enough to get a shot off sometimes because the computers AI is very tough.I heard from reviews and even on message boards that you can tweak your settings to make the game fit for you.Which is true to an extent.The only problem is that what applies to you applies to the other team.Like you set your settings for better shot accuracy.Yeah your going to score a little often,but so will the computer.7/10

Overall::This game is a very good game.But the gameplay has been tweaked alot to the point only hardcore Puck heads may apply.My opinion on the gameplay will change so this review isn't my final word.I only been playing this game for about 2 weeks.I'm getting better as I get used to the gameplay.The challenge is definetly there as also the replay value(10 consecutive franchise seasons).Alot of customization is put into this game.But the cheap AI thats in place to keep the games close is very frustrating.
This game is definitely worth a purchase if you are a hockey purist.But if you are just a casual puck player or a newbie to the virtual hockey rink this game on any setting besides beginner and easy is very very frustrating.So unless your a glutton for punishment or just plain stubborn like me,rent before you buy.8/10

By the way in my boyfriends and I season.Our stat line is like this::
San Jose 3-9-4
Colorado 7-3-6

And this is with Fantasy draft rosters to make the game more balanced among the teams.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

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

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