NHL Rivals 2004 Reviews (Xbox)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Critic Reviews

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GameZone (Nov 11, 2003)
NHL Rivals is a good game with solid animation, and a terrific passing system. The game may not be one of the top scorers in the league, but it set up the goal scoring opportunity very well.
X-Power (Apr 03, 2004)
Als we het eindproduct in zijn totaliteit beschouwen heeft Microsoft Game Studios het er niet onaardig vanaf gebracht, maar over de hele lijn uitblinken weet NHL Rivals 2004 anderzijds niet te doen, waardoor het een beetje opboksen is tegen de bierkaai. De nieuwkomer vertoont in vergelijking met de oude rotten van EA en SEGA nog teveel (kleine) fouten om mee te dingen voor het NHL kroontje, maar heeft voldoende potentieel in zich om bij een volgende editie (die we niet voor 2005 mogen verwachten) een waardige concurrent te worden voor de overige NHL games. NHL Rivals 2004 blijft desalniettemin een game die fanatieke NHL liefhebbers zeker zal bekoren, maar het grote publiek zal meer genot beleven aan ESPN NHL Hockey van SEGA...
GamerDad (Mar 26, 2004)
"Sports games are among the best you can buy for kids." Hockey can be a violent sport and NHL 2004 does have violent elements like fighting and checking in the game. The fights are very bland with punching and blocking, but no blood is spilled on the virtual ice. If you let your kids watch a real hockey game, then this title will pass the parental mustard. Kid Factor by Doug Hanna.
4Players.de (Dec 11, 2003)
Alles ist hochpoliert und gut animiert, doch die Checks krachen nicht fett genug, das Eis spritzt wenig partikelfreudig und die Bewegungen sind trotz der Vielfalt ab und zu unverständlich zittrig. Auch akustisch bleibt man hinter der Genre-Spitze zurück. Einen Joker hat das Spiel jedoch noch: den Online-Modus. Gerade über Xbox Live gewinnt das Ganze schnell an Reiz, denn das Spiel läuft flüssig, die Modi sind abwechslungsreich und die Statistiken bieten eine klasse Übersicht. Aber all das bietet auch das grandiose ESPN NHL Hockey 2K4, in dessen Schatten NHL Rivals trotz aller ambitionierter Ansätze letztendlich versinkt.
Fragland.net (Mar 10, 2004)
Microsoft’s first attempt is a fairly good one. If they can fix the little problems, next installment might just be EA’s worst nightmare, but this version is just too plain. The only reason I can think of to buy Rivals instead of NHL 2004 is the online play. Players searching for a good hockeygame, without an Xboxlive connection, are better off with NHL 2004.
XboxFrance (Jun 26, 2006)
NHL Rivals 2004 n'est pas un mauvais jeu en soit, bien au contraire, il s'en sort avec les honneurs pour une première tentative ! Nombreuses sont les nouvelles franchises à s'être fracassées les dents sur le terrain dès leur première saison ... Si le jeu souffre encore de quelques imperfections en matière de gameplay et de maniabilité, c'est essentiellement dû au fait qu'à proposer à la fois de la simulation et de l'arcade en même temps on ne sait plus trop sur quel pied danser, le jeu manquant de finition dans ces deux domaines pour être une référence soit dans l'un, soit dans l'autre. Néanmoins l'ambiance fidèlement restituée des matchs, la durée de vie monumentale, ainsi que les possibilités offertes par le Xbox Live raviront à coup sûr les inconditionnels des Mighty Ducks d'Anaheïm et autres Devils du New Jersey ! Une très bonne opération pour un premier essai qu'on espère voir renouvelé dès 2006 !
Jeuxvideo.com (Jan 15, 2004)
Il est toujours difficile de commencer sa carrière en concurrence avec les ténors du genre, que sont les rejetons de Sega et d'Electronic Arts. Cependant, cette production Microsoft s'en tire avec les honneurs. Non que le soft soit une révolution, mais il dispose de fort intéressantes innovations, et d'un mode online réellement indispensable. Attendons le prochain opus, afin de profiter des améliorations que les développeurs n'auront pas oubliées d'effectuer (du moins on le souhaite). Un titre pouvant convenir aux nouveaux arrivants dans le domaine joyeux du hockey. Les spécialistes s'en détourneront quelque peu. La prochaine fois, n'oubliez pas les patins.
GamePro (US) (Nov 20, 2003)
There?s room to improve, but Microsoft?s first try is a quality effort. It?s worth checking out with gameplay that sticks with you and online variety the icing on top. Give it a shot.
Next Level Gaming (Nov 20, 2003)
NHL Rivals 2004 has lot of room for improvement, but it doesn’t have what it needs to compete this year. The lack of anything truly innovative, and the so-so gameplay doesn’t offer any incentive to want to play the game for an extended period of time. I was not having fun with the game at all. In the end, it is probably a good idea to pass on NHL Rivals and wait until next year’s offering to see if they can make improvements. Hopefully Microsoft can offer a quality title next year that can enjoy the success that some of their other sports titles are having now.
IGN (Nov 19, 2003)
NHL Rivals is bringing up the rear in the hockey videogame derby. There's not one thing it does better than any of its competitors. It's strongest features like the pivot mode and shot physics are basic elements of NHL 2004 and ESPN NHL Hockey. The Sega game has a stronger online component because its core gameplay is stronger. EA's hockey title took a stand and went all out for realism even if not every fan could grab hold of it. If Rivals' greatest innovation is right analog passing then you know we're not talking about a revolutionary title. Chalk up another MS sports game that's just content to be on store shelves. There's a "2004" hanging off the end of NHL Rivals which means there may be more to come. Good thing there's plenty of room for improvement.
GameSpot (Nov 21, 2003)
One could try to make excuses for NHL Rivals 2004 by stating that it's a first-time effort and that, obviously, Microsoft couldn't do everything that the competition is doing since its got so little comparative experience under its belt. While this is a fair statement, even for a first try NHL Rivals is a decidedly underwhelming effort that does little to impress you beyond some flashy visual touches and a few good gameplay concepts that don't quite hold up under the weight of the game's larger issues.
Med lite finputsning till nästa år kan Microsoft ha en riktig toppenserie på gång. Fram till dess kan jag gott tänka mig att spela igenom en hel säsong med Colorado och ta några matcher mot mina kollegor på lunchen. Inte alls dumt.
GameSpy (Dec 13, 2003)
It's chock full of ambitious new ideas in both gameplay and control. It also delivers a very deep online and multiplay experience, though it seems it might be at the expense of a deep single-player game. It snags a bit when it comes to the action on the ice. The lack of any real useful function of the right stick definitely hurts, as does the sometimes questionable play of your teammates.
The Video Game Critic (Nov 03, 2010)
A laundry list of flaws bring NHL Rivals 2004 down to average territory, but I still enjoyed its original take on the sport. I suspect this could have evolved into something special had Microsoft stuck with it.
Netjak (Mar 26, 2004)
Overall, NHL Rivals 2004 is a decidedly average hockey game in a field of above average hockey games. Were it the only hockey game with online capabilities available for the Xbox, then it might be possible to see past its flaws and enjoy it for that reason alone. However, given that ESPN NHL Hockey is also online-capable, and does everything that Rivals does, only better, there is no real reason to lay down your hard-earned money for NHL Rivals. The series certainly has potential, and it will be interesting to see what Rivals can bring to the table in future seasons, but for now, this is one rookie who needs to be sent back to the minor leagues.