This dramatic hockey simulation in the new XSN Sports brand immerses gamers into one of the most realistic and exciting hockey settings ever created. Utilizing revolutionary new Web-based technology, hockey gamers and sports fans can easily organize teams, leagues and schedules from a centralized Web site, XSNsports.com, that pulls the information from Xbox Live. With more than 700 in-game motion-captured animations, hockey fans will be able to take wrist shots, one-timers and slap shots just like real NHL superstars. Gamers also will be able to settle their hockey grudge matches and create their own rivalries online using Xbox Live. "NHL Rivals 2004" allows hockey fans to control a NHL team on a quest to win the Stanley Cup.
- XSN Sports. XSN Sports is the first lineup of Xbox games where sports fans compete beyond the game. For the first time ever, gamers can challenge real people, create their own leagues and build their own rivalries. XSN Sports is the breakthrough sports fans have been waiting for.
- XSNsports.com. XSNsports.com is the Web-based service that links a gamer's Xbox console, Xbox Live, PC and cell phone together for the first time ever. "NHL Rivals 2004" fans will now be able to organize their own teams, leagues and schedules from a centralized Web site, and Xbox Live will automatically broadcast up-to-date scores, standings, statistics and trade proposals to any Web-based device.
- Online play with Xbox Live. Hockey fans can take their game online with head-to-head gameplay to rekindle old rivalries with friends and start new ones with other gamers. Gamers will be able track individual and team statistics, leader boards, and win/loss records, and players can engage in cooperative, team, ranked and unranked play. With Xbox Live, gamers can download quarterly roster updates, All-Star Game rosters, updated player ratings and more.
- NHL role-playing. Unique player roles including Snipers, Enforcers and Agitators offer gamers a chance to take advantage of different styles of play and abilities. Players will have moves specific to their role on the ice.
- More modes of play. Gamers can hit the ice for high-octane hockey in Single Game, Playoff, Season or online play modes. In addition, "NHL Rivals 2004" features two exciting modes of play, Tournament Mode and Rivalry Mode. In Tournament Mode, gamers can set up eight-, 10-, 12- or 16-team round-robin knockout tournaments. Rivalry Mode instantly puts gamers into a grudge match between historic rival teams such as the Canadiens versus the Maple Leafs, with no need to pick teams or set lineups.
- Top announcer team. "NHL Rivals 2004" includes more than 20,000 lines of dialogue, play-by-play, stories, insight and analysis from the broadcast team of Sam Rosen and John Davidson along with rink-side reporter Dick Fain.
- Faceoff system. "NHL Rivals 2004" features a unique stick-placement system with special moves and countermoves to make the faceoff as important in the game as it is in the NHL. Gamers will be able to win the puck clean with the stick, use the player's feet, or block the puck just like the pros.
- Player fuse. A player's real-world personality and inclination to fight is incorporated into his composure rating and "fighting fuse." Every player has a fuse; the shorter it is, the more likely he will be to drop the gloves. To set off a rival player's fuse, gamers will have to check, hook and frustrate him to goad him into a fight. Unique physicality animations allow a player to fight or back away from a fight if the gamer determines it's not wise to drop the gloves and take a penalty.
- Hockey camp. To help rookies get up to speed, "NHL Rivals 2004" walks gamers through an interactive tutorial that presents basic game skills and provides active feedback on performance.