Total Reviews: 1
Average Overall Score Given: 4.00000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 0

NHL 2002

Overall: I have to admit I was incredibly excited to see how great NHL 2002 would be on the XBOX, and made sure I was there to get it on day one.

I don't know what it is about EA Sports. They used to make the best games, and have sucked me in for the past several years, but now I find myself playing them without really having any FUN.

Suffice it to say, my enthusiasm was quickly curbed after realizing there is absolutely nothing "spec

about the Xbox version, which fully lacks any redeeming qualities whatsoever. The game is merely a port of the PS2 version featuring an unrealistic hockey experience, stale gameplay, poor player models and washed out graphic colors.

Granted, this quarandry may be due to the fact that EA Sports doesn't know if it wants to be a true hockey sim or an arcade game. They appear to be caught smack dab in the middle, however that is quite arguable if you've read EA spinmaster Dave Warfield's comments that they don't want to reproduce the breakout, defensive pinning of players against the boards, or other essential parts of the game because EA deems that they are not fun. The result is a mediocre product, and that's exactly what we've got here.

Gameplay: What can I say? The gameplay is nearly identical to every EA hockey title on any platform since 1998. In fact they share the exact same core game engine with annually tweaked animation routines and updated rosters.

It's not that it's so much a bad game, just that EA Canada is capable of so much more, and they've lost that magic FUN Formula.

Hockey fights have progressively gotten worse each year. Not fully realized how fun they should be until you play NHL HITZ 2002/2003.

Realistic puck physics, including deflections as seen in NHL 2k3 certainly wouldn't hurt either.

Graphics: Poor at best. The players uniform colors are so washed out it's pathetic. There is no excuse for such shoddy work on a powerful system capable of so much more.

I suggest incorporating player models of various sizes that include actual faces, and yes, that includes rookie playmaker and stickhandling phenom Pavel Datsyuk, who must be created manually. While I'm on the Red Wings, there's NO excuse to include retired Larry Murphy and Doug Brown on the roster.

Audio: This is an area that EA has needed a lot of work for some time. Gone are the authentic organ tunes and customized soundtracks from past PC products. The game does utilize (to a small degree) the Xbox Dolby Digital 5.1 capabilities, but only for computer generated crowd and occasional PA system effects. No use of the subwoofer during menacing body checks into the boards, no ting as the puck ricochets off the post/crossbar, and a dull thud as the puck caroms off the glass behind the net.

EA should be embarassed by the attempted comedic and often repetitive commentary. Suggestion: get broadcast teams who work well together, guys like Mike Emerick and John Davidson, Mickey Redmond and Ken Daniels, Thorne, Clement, Dave Strader, Panger (forget Steve Levy *yawn*)

I also question where the Custom Soundtracks are that have been part of the PC game for the past few years. It won't take much to grab Xbox song clips from the hard drive, cache them in memory and stream out when the puck is out of play.

I do commend you for the reworked on-ice audio said to be in 2003, but I need to hear it for myself before commenting any further and judging it's authenticity and realistic hockey atmosphere.

Suggestions: It's time to lose the Sony 2nd party developer status.

Take a lead from Sega Sports NHL 2k3 series, or even Midway Hitz 2003. Their games look much nicer, feature better and more fun gameplay, and the developers (Treyarch) actually listen to their fan base to see what we want in a hockey title.

It's time for a major overhaul boys, and if you're not going to support native Xbox features and particularly Xbox Live online play (with downloadable in-game real NHL highlights) there's no reason to do it at all.

Sure, the EA corporation will still make a lot of money selling ports and rehashed goods to the hockey-starved gaming public that's been deprived of fresh innovation year in and year out. I just know my gaming dollars will be invested with newcomers trying to advance video hockey, including Sega Sports, Midway, and soon-to-be Microsoft Studios.

It's no wonder that EA consumers including myself have started to turn on you, and will continue to do so until you get a clue.






Superior hockey products NHL 2k3 and Hitz 2003 for me. If I decide to buy NHL 2003 it will be a used title from Funcoland or eBay.

Overall Score: 4.0 / 10

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