Review by Dragon

Reviewed: 05/11/01 | Updated: 07/14/03

The Best Hockey Game Ever

NHL 2001's inaugural Playstation 2 edition is the sort of game that will make you glad you got the Play Station 2. Remarkable graphics pair with that familiar, thrilling gameplay in ways that will leave you slack-jawed in surprise--it's one of the best titles among the PS2 games.

While NHL 2001's gameplay is riveting, the spectacular graphics and sounds will grab your attention first. You'll be floored from the opening moments when your team strides from the locker room onto the ice to the first time a player grumbles to the ref that a penalty is ''weak''--and the ref snarls, ''Get in the box!''. Dazzling player models sport recognizable faces, and terrific animations make these players move more realistically than ever.

The cut-scenes are the best part, though, bringing the motional side of the game to life as players jostle for position in the face-off, tussle after cheap hits, or throw their water bottles in disgust in the penalty box. The awesome commentary is another highlight as Jim Hughson and bill Clement return to the booth, spouting what seems like the unending detail on the players and the action. They even analyze why you won or lost with details that can help improve your game.

Sure, there are a few hiccups: The players gleam a little too much, some of the player faces aren't even close to their real mugs, and the commentators and rick announcers sometimes talk right over each other. But these are minor quibbles in what amounts to an amazing performance.

Throughout it all, that familiar stellar gameplay returns to make the action exciting, realistic, and seriously fun. Along with all the standard features you'll find a new momentum meter, which reflects the streaky nature of hockey by slightly boosting a teams performance when they're dominating on the ice. Cool new options for tweaking the controls and A.I. round out standards like fighting, trades, and more. As for control, a comfortable responsive feel is matched by great depth and killer touches like the big hit/deke button.

All told, NHL 2001 is an impressive example of next-gen sports action, ranking as one of the system's best titles. If you got a PS2 right now, go out and get this game! Right now!

Graphics: 10/10

Amid the jaw-dropping cut-scenes, fluid animations, and outstanding player models, you might find yourself too busy staring at this game to play it at first.

Sound: 10/10

Terrific on-ice player chatter combines with compelling, highly detailed commentating to deliver some seriously impressive audio.

Control: 10/10

Intuitive and responsive, NHL 2001's controls keep you in the heart of the action with plenty of cool moves and strategies

Fun Factor: 10/10

Backed by stunning graphics, sounds, and gameplay, NHL 2001 is a fine example of why the PS2 was so hyped before it came out. This is the console gaming's best hockey title.

TOTAL: 10/10

Happy Gaming and ''Get this game!!!!''

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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