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Game Over Online ~ NHL 2000

GameOver Game Reviews - NHL 2000 (c) EA Sports, Reviewed by - jube

Game & Publisher NHL 2000 (c) EA Sports
System Requirements Pentium 166, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 71%
Date Published Friday, October 1st, 1999 at 08:01 PM

Divider Left By: jube Divider Right

The time of reckoning is near. Tonight, the NHL 1999-2000 season will kick into preverbal high gear, and once again EA Sports has stepped up to simulate all the mayhem in its digital glory. I know I wasn’t the only one to play the hell out of last years effort: NHL ’99, and I know I wasn’t the only one eagerly awaiting this year’s revision. I’ll save the rest of my pre-game and get right to what you wanna know.

What’s new (or improved):

  • Completely redone menu interface.
  • Full blown career mode. Including free agents, dispersal and drafting.
  • More shot control.
  • Animated player faces.
  • Updated rosters and teams.

    What’s the same (or unimproved):

  • Blocky player models.
  • Choppy player movement.
  • Uninspired, unrealistic AI.
  • Laggy multiplayer.

    OK kids! Mom always said to give the good news first, so that’s what we’re going to do. NHL 2000 is by far, and I mean far, the best and most detailed simulation of professional hockey available today. Each year the NHL series by EA Sports has consistently offered a steady improvement of features and enhancements. But, and sorry mom, here comes the bad news, this year’s offering is a far cry from what should be expected from a developer as high caliber as EA Sports. Yes, there are a number of worthwhile additions, most notably the career mode, which has been like a gaping hole in the series for sometime now. However, a majority of the new enhancements are in the form of front-end changes that really weren’t all that bad to begin with. Do we really need an entirely different menu interface for a game that is 90% the same? Development dollars could have been better spent on some obviously lacking areas, such as the on ice player models, and horribly inept AI.

    Yearly released sports series’ have the arduous task of improving upon the efforts of both their own title from last year and the efforts of the competition. Sound familiar? Yeah, I said it last year about NHL ‘99. The fact is, a majority of yearly sports titles are little more than last years game with updated rosters, slightly polished up to look like brand spanking new games. I previously wouldn’t have grouped the NHL series in this category, but after NHL2k, I may change my mind. We, as gamers, should have high expectations from these games that ask us to shell out $50 every fall. And we, as god-fearing game-playing fanatics, deserve rewards for our loyalty. Pixilated shifting crowd effects are not my idea of a reward. Maybe that’s just me.

    On that note, what the FUCK is up with the necks? EA Sports takes a game, spends a couple hundred thousand bucks on accurately portraying animated player faces that react to hits, goals and penalties. They include the ability to superimpose your own face onto a player model. They motion capture a couple hundred different on ice movements. They do all this, and can’t seem to find the time to fix the fucking 2D necks. In ’98 it irked me, in ’99 it annoyed me and now, in ’00 it is just plain pissing me off. During the semi-cinematic cut scenes the necks are just fine, but during play, its cardboard cutout city. I’m sure it’s all because current processors can’t deliver the immense resources needed to accurately render the incredibly detailed area of the human neck.


    The more I played NHL 2000, the more angry and betrayed I felt. I think other gamers will have similar reactions. But I urge you to have what I am incapable of: Perspective. NHL 2000, love it or hate it, is all we hockey aficionados have. EA Sports has cornered the market of hockey simulations, and we have to play whatever junk they want to sell us. The multiplayer is laggy (still), the improvements are marginal, but its really the best thing going for us ice monkeys. I’ll play NHL 2000 for the full length of the season, but I’ll do it as cranky and grumpy as possible.


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