Ice Ice Baby
Ok. Youíll have to forgive me for the obvious above line but itís a Monday and Iím freezing my collective self off. Why you might ask, or might not of course. Iíve been hammering at EAís new Ice Hockey title: NHL 06í for the Playstation 2.The Rocky Road to recovery
One of my Ice Hockey obsessed friends explained to me, that thereís been a bit of a slump recently for a while regarding the real sport. A few feathers got ruffled and a lot of angry words, various troubles and so forth happened. This also caused a knock on effect and stunted the game industry side of the sport as well.
EAís last NHL 05í didnít quite hit the mark and the company obviously has taken a long hard and telling look at the previous games, settling on what made an old classic of theirs fun for all. Iím talking of course about NHL 94í
which I am really pleased to see EA actually put in the game, accessible off the menu.
But EA are back in the game, and this one feels a lot better than the previous title.Gameplay
Usually I prefer the comedy smack-stick of the NHL Hitz
series but I really have to admit, thereís something about this one that appeals to me. I think itís because the developers have re-evaluated their last title or two and decided to put things like deking on the left analogue stick and with just a little tap to the left or right you can perform these moves like a pro: by throwing the defence off their guard or by duping the goalie with a feint here and there.
Thereís also less constant checking in this game, so you can get a good offensive drive forwards without suddenly being stopped every five seconds. Iím glad they did this since that kind of thing really does belong in the previously mentioned smack-stick series and not in a proper simulation Ice Hockey game.
They have also included ĎStarí players (identified by a, wait for itÖstar around their feet) and these players can do a variety of special moves, Star moves oddly enough. These are simply enough to perform and are mapped to the right analogue stick; give it a tap and the whole thing works perfectly. Checking the manual in these cases is also advisable as it has a list of all the moves, buttons youíll need to know to play the game and master it.
A great addition to this series and I have been waiting for something like this for a while, is the inclusion of a target bulls-eye when taking a goal, gone are the days of hoping that your shot hits the back of the net, you can now place precisely where youíd like the puck to go and hope that the goalie doesnít intercept it. Hold down the button and the aforementioned bulls-eye appears: youíre good to go.
For those of you that get het up and just want to brawl, well, the fight option is still there and the controls are as simple as usual.
If you want to dive into far more than just an exhibition match you can go for Dynasty Mode and experience what itís like to manage and build a team of Superstars. In DM you can manage your financial side going as far as concession stand markup prices and so forth. This will appeal to fans of the more management based games, while allowing you to jump in to any simulated game and try and turn the tide at any time. The later you leave it, the bigger the payoff will be if you win.
Youíll get emails as you go along and these will keep you up to date, ease the pressure of being a manager and help you out considerably as you progress.
You can also create Player likenesses by using the new Player Creation Zone option, sculpting various features and adding things like black eyes, bruises and broken noses. Use the analogue facial sculpting to create the ultimate YOU and then put them in the game. Those people that love additions like this will go a bundle on the new Creation options and spend more time in the editor than in the game.