"EA Sports newest entry in the NHL series is the best one yet!"

Graphics: This is one of the areas in the game that really shines. From the magnificent shiny helmets, the reflections on the ice, or the ice shavings being sprayed, there is plenty of eye candy in this game. The intros, and Game Story cut-scenes really add to the game, making you want to think this is a real broadcast. At the start of the game where you see your players warming up is a nice touch, as is the additions of some 3-D fans that actually look real, mixed in with the old ''cardboard cutouts''. This game fixes the terrible slowdown in gameplay that plagued the 2001 edition, the game moves fast and fluid.

Sound: Contrary to what other people think, I love the commentary. Don Taylor is a nice addition to the team, offering his witty comments. Jim Hughson is back, again, and does a great job, again. Good sound effects are mixed into the gameplay, with realistic sounding slap shots, body checking, etc. They picked a good selection of music, which most you would hear if you went to a real NHL game, and it also is the first video game ever to debut an artists single, by the Barenaked Ladies.

Gameplay: Year after year this is the best aspect if EA's NHL series. The gameplay is awesome. Game controls great, with easy to learn controls. There are lots of customizing ability for difficulty, with the regular rookie, intermediate or all-star settings but you can also change how good each teams skaters and goalies are. There are different modes to choose from:season, playoffs, tournament and the quick start game. The season last for 10 seasons, with playoffs, the draft, and free agent signings at the end of each year. It is really neat to see how your team progresses each year. There are also plenty of options for your seasons. You can play 28, 42 or 82 game long seasons, start with an expansion or all-star draft and more. It's neat near the deadline to have Stanley Cup contenders trying to get a good player of yours so they can make a run for the cup.

Replay Value: Plenty. The NHL cards are a nice addition, and will keep you playing to collect them. The franchise mode will last you long, especially if you play a whole 82 game season, plus playoffs if you make it. Create a player is at it's best, with plenty of customizable features.

Final Score:9/10

This is a great addition for any sports or hockey fan!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/28/02, Updated 06/28/02

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