MEMBER PROFILE FOR Nth Turtle

Total Reviews: 1
Average Overall Score Given: 9.00000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 73

Reviews
NHL 07

Overall: It's not fast, it's not flashy... but it IS the most accurate hockey experience to be found on a console to date. The addition of the Skill Stick & the Dynasty feature with Salary Cap limitations improves on what was already a solid franchise.


Cheap goals are a thing of the past, you find yourself trying ANYTHING to get a goal, and that's how it should be, making it a truly rewarding experience when you light the lamp. This... is hockey at it's best.

Gameplay: The 1st thing to tell you though is this edition of EA's hockey is much, much slower than rival franchises. The 2K series was like Sonic to EA's mario-slow hockey. This is not, I repeat not a bad thing though. No more one pass then gun it down the rink for a breakaway with the touch of a speed boost button. Now you must use passing and positioning to make your openings.


Now in terms of AI, this is what has truly endeared me to the EA franchise. We have proper hockey games here people! Put that game on Allstar, tie your skates and hit the ice. We find that no longer can you virtually kill players with each bodycheck, nope you have to find the right time and space, line it up and deliver it right. We have goalies that will save EVERYTHING to the point of hair pulling frustration when finally you slip one through the 5-hole and everything is right with the world once more. A typical game will finish with usually 30 to 21 shotcounts. We're talking stingy goalies here, we're talking 2-1, 3-2 games, score 5 in a game and you feel like a GOD!


Goals can come from anywhere on the ice. A slapshot from point, a deke on the breakaway, a wraparound, a cheap bounce off a defenceman, a bad rebound shovelled in by a hungry forward, there are a huge number of ways to score, but nothing is surefire successful.


For too long hockey franchises have made the one-timer a key to success. Fire in enough of them and you're going to be scoring in high numbers. Here you could shoot them all day long and come up with nothing. Defensemen actually block the passing lanes! (What a novel idea!)
I'm a defenseman, it used to drive me to game-rage when the puck would zip right past my players stick whilst he scratched his nuts. Now if you play the position, you block the pass. One-timers are no longer easy, and when they do get through, the goalie will almost always get there in time.


Now onto the most important new feature, the Skill Stick:
This is where it's at ladies and gentlegoons, what we have here is the equivalent of Fight Night's total punch control. We have total control over our hockey stick. We can deke, fake a deke, prolong a deke, we can shield the puck, we can pull the puck to our backhand with ease, we can recoil for a powered up wristshot or backhand, we can poke check, Slap Shot, Wrist Shot, Fake Shot, spinaround...

...it's simply a device that opens up the game from being a digital (I will perform a set special move deke by pressing this button) to a beautiful analogous (I will play with this goalie, enrage him with my deft dekeing skills until his ears bleed) feature.
It took me about 6 games to get to grips with the Skill Stick, and about 20+ games to begin to master it. Even after an 82 game Dynasty season I'm still pulling off new moves and drooling.


Negative comments from previous reviewers lead me to believe people are turned off by their initial efforts with the SS. I can only plead that you persevere for the rewards of getting to grips with it are immeasurable. Classic Controls?! Why, that's like giving the Pope a Devil horns salute! That's like using Dial-Up! It's... it's like watching films on videotape!


It' not all guid however... I don't want y'all to think this game is perfect. The netminder's ability to pass in this game is dire, often passing it directly to the opposition in the opposite direction you were pointing. You learn after 4 or 5 spew-inducing goals that result from such a pass that's it's usually best to freeze the puck at take the dang faceoff.
When you're on the PowerPlay opponent's will often lob the puck off the ice over the plexi 4 or 5 faceoffs in a row (If you're not winning them of course). In the real NHL that's now a 2 minute minor for delay of game, not so here. On the easier difficulties there are an unusual amount of goals that go in from a strange bounce up over the back of the goalie, but these are infrequent at Allstar or above (Which is the setting I would honestly suggest everyone plays)


The most disappointing feature for me, is the Instant Replay frontend, it's gash. Truly poor in comparison to it's 2k rival and even more disappointing is the lack of a save feature. (That's pish! I assume it's due to the smaller HD, but it sucks not getting to save your highlight reel goals.)


A lack of fights was noted in a previous review, this is true. I played a complete 82-game Dynasty and had 1 fight. That's simply unreal, even in today's 'New-NHL' era. But if fighting's your thing, probably best look elsewhere, it's rare and poorly implemented to be honest.


But none of these things can even dent what is a wonderful hockey game. The presentation is pretty decent, graphics are pretty !&%$@#* guid but not exceptional. The highlight reels at the end of each period are a nice touch and the Skill Stick is simply the future of hockey games.

Graphics: The graphics are great, if only we could see them. Let me explain: A huge amount of detail has gone into the players, but the default camera setting puts you so far above the ice that you never get to appreciate it until replay time, intros, shootouts or cut sequences.


They could be better, sure, but they're still current gen worthy. Everything is detailed enough that it doesn't stand out as awful, but nothing is truly exceptional. There is a nice review/replay of your actions when you get called on a penalty, but then a generic cut scene where a guy gets stroppy in the Sin Bin, I'm sure it's the same character model in there each time! That's disappointing...


The animations used in this game are spot on however. It really does have nearly everything you'll see in a real hockey game. The hits look guid, the trips and hooks look guid, the goals look beautiful (Especially when they're so hard to come by) the players reactions are priceless. (The 'who me?' reaction to a tripping penalty being my favourite)


This isn't a game you'd use to showcase the power of the 360. This isn't a game you'd play to be wowed by the visuals on offer. This is simply a game that brings you an accurate & detailed hockey experience.

Audio: This is hard for me to review fairly, mainly because I'm stuck somewhere in the mid-90's in terms of music taste and this game doesn't cater to people who don't move with the times. I can't fairly say if this playlist is representive of current tastes, but I can say there's a fair number of songs on offer & I switched off all of them. :P


The actual on ice sounds are great, specific arenas have their own custom noises. (Coyotes being the most notable) There really is nothing lacking or exceptional in this area.


My major gripe in this section is the commentary. It seems every player that gets tripped is diving according to these guys. It's infuriating when it rarely happens in the sport, but the 3 or 4 set piece commentaries that kick-in on the penalties nearly all suggest the player going down was diving. I've come close to muting the commentary on several occassions they do it so much.


For a sport that prides itself on the sportsmanship and honorable conduct of most of it's players (In comparison to something like Soccer where the fairies are all lying on the grass sobbing like little girls when a tackle gets even close to them) it's bloody sickening to hear the commentators suggest the player would take a dive. It tarnishes the sport and something I truly take issue with. For that reason alone I give the audio score a kick in the ass.

Suggestions: Change your commentary team, or at least give them a better script.
It's a great game, but implement a better replay front end.
Also netminders need better passing skills.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10

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