Review by mpw1234
"Finally, there is real hockey on the PS2!!!"
NHL 2K3 is a hockey simulation game, and pretty much the best one out there. While it does have its shortcomings, it is deserving of the title best hockey game. now for the in-depth look at the game.
While many people may say this game has weak graphics, many of those same people do not realize that graphics are more than player models. The player models in this game are weak for the PS2. What saves the graphics are the animations and the framerate. The game flows wonderfully, and the animations are great. The only problem arises, is when there is a loose puck near the goalie it kind of gets sucked under him. I would prefer the goalie to move and cover it, or change his body angle in theses situations, but I am nit-picking about stuff that is in every hockey videogame not just this one.
The default control setting need to be changed before playing this game. the ability to have full control of your players is important, that is why the ADVANCED control setting is needed. Personally I feel this should be default, but you can change it once, and then save and never have to change it again. If you are a fan of shooting the puck constantly, and not working to set up shots, you may perfer another hockey game for PS2, but this game makes you work, and not only on offense, you will be punished for not playing good defense as well. It pays to set up your offense instead of just firing a shot when you come down the ice. If you have watched an NHL team score a goal while setting up, you'll know how to get goals, and not have to pray for breakaways and odd-man rushes. Also the injury and faceoff glitches from last years dreamcast game are gone.
Any one who has played Madden 2003, or NBA 2K3 knows the value of a good franchise mode, the only shortcomings are no shortened franchise mode, you must play 82 games plus playoffs, but you can sim games. and no Multiplayer franchise. Both of these are availible in single season play,the problem is no one wants the single season mode anymore and should be done away with, it takes up space in the game. Sega should have included multiple players in the franchise. This way people who only want to play one season can stop right after their first season. If it wasn't for that the whole game would get a 10 instead of a 9. Now for the good about the franchise mode, you have so many stats and attributes to look at when looking at your team, or free agents or what ever, it is amazing. Players can play with mild injuries, but anything more and they are out of the game. When on the trading block you can see all of these ratings plus a lot more info regarding players contracts age, ect
I like the ESPN thing, but I'm a little tired of it, probably due to playing so much NBA 2K3. Navigating the menus is a little different, but nothing looking in the games manual, or reading the bottom of the screen cant help you with. The commentary is 10 times better than last year, however it is still kind of weak. the on ice sounds are good however. Stat presentation is done well, and you can view a lot of information about attributes, as well as other stats.
The aforementioned flaws noted in this review keep the game from getting a perfect 10, but it still is a close to the perfect hockey as us hockey sim fans have ever seen.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/15/02, Updated 11/15/02
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