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NHL 08 manages to improve on last year's already great hockey game. If you were a fan of last year's effort, NHL 08 won't disappoint.
Time to pull the goalie and take the last shot. The overbalanced difficulty and convoluted control issues just made this game unfun for me to play. There is plenty for a rabid fan to do here with the many game modes, but when it comes right down to it, there is a huge barrier for anyone else to enjoy the game. This would almost warrant it two separate scores, one high for content and one low for actual gameplay. But, since that isn't how we roll here, we are going to have say it just came out average.
NHL 08 is the finest hockey game on the PS2 to date, although the versions on the next-gen consoles are preferable if you have the choice. While only simply an update of a very good game with a few extra intriguing features that work well, the presentation is as polished as the ice you skate upon and if you haven't bought an NHL game for a while or indeed you've never played a hockey game before then it's well worth a look - owners of NHL 07 meanwhile will have to decide whether the new tweaks and features are worth the expense. Wow, I managed to go a whole review without mentioning ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. Oh, wait, I just did... dammit!
The game is, in many ways, a typical EA product: the robust engine, entertaining matches, slick presentation and attractive graphics mean that it's a good enough game, but it's punished by the lack of innovation borne out of a corporate culture that demands yearly updates to please shareholders. It'll still sell in huge numbers, especially in North America, and will entertain anyone who picks it up - it's just a shame that EA aren't willing to invest more time in an already well-produced game to make it even better.
Une simple mise à jour qui fera rager les fans de hockey qui attendaient ce titre avec impatience. Une vulgaire repompe de la version 07, sans aucun intérêt pour ceux qui la possèdent déjà. Dommage encore une fois qu'EA Sports délaisse cette version PS2.
Beyond these meager distinctions, NHL 08 really just is another coat of paint over the same basic game EA has been releasing for years. Graphics have seen next to no improvement beyond a few improved goalie animations and slightly better player faces, and the audio hasn't changed a lick, right down to the same repetitive commentary from Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson that's been recycled to death at this point. While it's certainly no shock that the PS2 version would get this treatment, since it is an aging platform, the PC version's neglect is both surprising and irritating. There's no reason why EA couldn't port the 360 or PS3 version of the game to the PC at this point, and that it hasn't yet is just kind of disgusting. Either way, neither the PS2 nor PC versions of NHL 08 should be your first, or even second, choice for a hockey game this year.
If you skipped out on the 2007 update to this game and are itching for new rosters, a better control scheme and some nasty looking new jerseys, EA's title does satisfy all those requirements. Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to play 2k8 to make a judgment on which NHL title takes the cup this year, but I can safely rank this title as recommended thanks to its improvements.