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Sega hasn’t unveiled NHL 2K3 yet, but it’ll probably run more toward a realistic, simulation feel. NHL Hitz has the over-the-top end of the spectrum covered, and NHL 2003 occupies a comfortable, popular spot in the middle ground. The bottom line this season with NHL 2003 is that you know this gameplay: There’s been a lot of excellent tuning but no mammoth overhauls. If hockey’s all about offense for you, you’ll be grinning like Ray Bourque did when he finally hoisted the Cup.
The new features, especially the dynamic deke control are remarkable and may warrant an upgrade from a previous version for the true hockey fans. This game looks good, sounds incredible and plays like a dream. However, be aware than with more realism comes a harder difficulty level.
Auch wenn die spielerischen Ergänzungen und Neuerungen durchaus sinnvoll sind: Die diesjährige Auflage der NHL-Serie kann nicht so überzeugen wie die Fassung des letzten Jahres. Zwar wurde nochmals an der Grafik gefeilt, wodurch der Eishockey-Dino so gut aussieht wie nie zuvor, doch da zum Beispiel die spektakulären Check-Sequenzen des Vorgängers fehlen, wurde die Atmosphäre-Schraube leicht zurückgedreht. Auch die Tatsache, dass der Kommentar nur noch in Englisch vorhanden ist, sorgt für leichte Enttäuschung. Zwar ist NHL 2003 die spielerisch ausgereifteste Variante der Serie, doch in punkto Präsentation ist ein deutlicher Rückschritt zu spüren. Vielleicht sollten die Entwickler mal im eigenen Hause bei den Kollegen von Madden über die Schulter schauen - denn hier findet alljährlich eine konsequente Weiterentwicklung der Serie statt.
Had EA taken a little more time to work on the franchise mode, and fix the many little problems with the game (i.e. the lack of a decent camera angle, the useless goalie controls, and the lack of any game story at all), then this game would have been a hockey fan's dream. As it stands now, I will be keeping a close eye on Sega's NHL 2K3 (due out in November), and if it offers all that it advertises, then Electronic Arts will have lost a fan that has faithfully purchased this series thru 4 systems and over 10 years.
If you don't yet have a hockey game, you really can't go wrong with NHL 2003. It's a fun, tight-controlling, well-presented game that makes good use of the NHL license. However, those expecting a sim-style game, beware. NHL 2003, like last year's edition, slants more toward arcade-style hockey. All the bells and whistles may just annoy the hardcore fan who's looking for a pure hockey experience.
In some ways, NHL 2003 is as disappointing as clanging one off the post. There are less gameplay modes than last year's game and some of the new additions -- like the gamebreaker feature -- are more annoying than fun. I think most players would trade all the so-called improvements to this year's game for an online mode. But the core of the game is strong, and with all the customization available, it's easy to tailor the game to your specific needs. But, if you already have last year's game and aren't picky about up-to-date rosters, skate right on past this one.
Ultimately, NHL 2003 is what you expect from EA Sports. It's a great simulation of hockey for all platforms. It looks good and controls just as well. Despite the AI issues that continue to plague the series, NHL 2003 is a fun and realistic hockey game that's easy for both newcomers and die-hard fans to pick up. Players on a budget may want to skip this year's version because it doesn't really add much to the series, but everyone else is encouraged to pick up NHL 2003.
Si NHL 2003 conserve une grande partie de tout ce qui a fait le succès des éditions précédentes, ses nouvelles options de maniabilité sont difficiles à maîtriser et semblent plus accessoires qu'autre chose. A réserver aux inconditionnels du sport, les autres pourront facilement se tourner vers l'édition 2002, plus accessible et peut-être aussi plus sympa à jouer.
NHL 2003 is an extremely fun hockey game, and while it moves away from the simulation feel of many sporting titles, it still looks and feels realistic. With the best graphics and sound effects of any of EA's NHL titles to date this one is the king of the hill, although some annoying flaws, however minor they may be, knock it down from being a perfect score (we are getting tired of giving EA Sports scores of 4 out of 5, they never screw up but always seem to fall short of perfection).
So overall, I have to say that NHL 2003 is a much more complex game than NHL Hitz 20-03 which should be a positive point, but with EA it means that the overall gameplay and fun factor goes down. Technically a great game, but in the end I didn't feel like playing it much compared to Hitz 20-03.