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NHL 2K8 for the PS3 is a step back for the series but it’s still a hockey game with enough good moves to make this a solid sports game. Unfortunately, the controls cramp the game’s style and the opponent AI is about the only unrealistic thing about the game but then again the franchise mode is wonderfully deep. Sorry, 2K Sports but EA Sports’ game is by far the better hockey game this year.
My hat goes off (no pun intended) to 2K Sports for NHL 2K8. It's definitely a much tighter playing game than last year's version, albeit with room for more improvements to be made. If we could get a revamped ProStick, in addition to slightly tuned face-off mechanics, among other quirks, the next NHL 2K game could seriously go down as one of the best NHL games ever. Still, what NHL 2K8 provides is a superb effort. Visually, the game isn't as polished as EA's effort, and it's framerate suffers online, but the depth of the Franchise mode is surreal. On top of that, the controls are really solid and well connected. NHL 2K8 is a definite must play for hockey gamers.
While not everyone is going to agree with my assessment of the new Pro Stick feature there is still more than enough game here to keep fans happy. Even if the side stuff has been there done that written all over it, you will be hard-pressed to find a better hockey game this year. It all comes down to preference in the end and ever since it’s release 2K8 continues to improve upon the franchise. While it hasn’t taken as big of a leap as EA’s game over the past two years it still remains the top dog in the rink. However, if 2K Sports wants to keep ahead of the pack next year’s game will have to bring a whole lot more to the table. Still the best game on ice and certainly more fun than getting checked into the glass in real life.
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2K8 would certainly make the playoffs as a solid contender, but the Stanley Cup seems to be just out of reach. The advanced controls still need about a year to really nail the feel of the game, but the franchise mode lived up to the hype. Fans willing to give the controls a chance will not be disappointed and the prospects of next years offering are already exciting.
NHL 2K8 ist für sich genommen ein tolles Eishockeyspiel, doch die Neuerungen gegenüber dem knapp ein Jahr alten Vorgänger halten sich doch arg in Grenzen. Besitzer von NHL 2K7 sollten nur dann eine Neuanschaffung überlegen, wenn sie aktuelle Spielerkader haben wollen oder der meines Erachtens zu komplizierten Pro Stick-Steuerung eine Chance geben möchten. Da sich auch die wenigen Gameplayänderungen nicht durchgängig positiv auswirken, wie etwa die erweiterte Ausführung der Bullys oder das etwas arcadelastigere Checkverhalten, ist NHL 08 in diesem Herbst die bessere Eishockeysimulation. Für NHL 2K8 bleibt aber ein guter zweiter Platz, mit etwas Feintuning beim Gameplay und einer Überarbeitung der grausamen Menüs ist im nächsten Jahr aber auch wieder der Stanley Cup drin.
If you cannot live without your classic teams, NHL 2K8 is the only hockey game with the ’87 Oilers, 1980 USA, ’87 Canada Cup teams, and a bunch of other classic teams. I will miss playing with the classic teams, but EA has the most realistic hockey game I’ve ever seen. EA added and improved enough things to win me over and NHL 08 will certainly be the hockey game of choice for my PS3 this winter. If NHL 2K8 were the only hockey game on the market, I would be fairly content with it. But it isn’t the only game. EA has superior gameplay and more teams. In the end it is about the gameplay and 2K lost the puck and the GCM editor’s choice award. I guess now I can be considered a bitter ex-NHL 2K fan.
Should these gripes keep you from playing NHL 2K8? Probably not. The game looks good in action and -- eventually -- feels fun on the ice while offering online leagues and tournaments, unlockable uniforms and more. It sucks that the interface is clunky and that people are going to scoff at the new control system, but if you play hockey games for how real they feel, you've found a winner.
NHL 2K8 is still king of the ice, however this time around you might need to take a little more time to get your groove on. The new control system takes a little work, so if you are getting frustrated by 2K Sports new innovations simply turn them off and go back to the default NHL 2K game you know and love. The other new additions keep pushing NHL 2K8 forward into the next generation, I’m sure 2K Sports isn’t ready to settle and we’re going to continue to see this franchise evolve at a steady pace. 2K Sports claims another trophy as NHL 2K8 cleans the ice.
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There will be growing pains in NHL 2K8 with the new ProStick control system. The button layout is questionable, particularly the idea of pressing two buttons to take a slap shot. The series is in danger of entering NHL Hitz territory with all the body checking going on. Remember, that’s in part what derailed EA’s NHL series years ago. With that said, the new face-off system is intuitive, the superstar moves add excitement to shootouts and thanks in part to the revamped contract negotiating system, the franchise mode remains one of the best and deepest in all of sports videogames. Overall it’s not quite its dominating self, but hockey fans shouldn’t be disappointed with NHL 2K8.
With everything it has to offer, NHL 2K8 is a decent title and will more than likely please fans of the 2K series with its improvements and new features. However, if you're a die-hard hockey fan who buys both EA's and 2K's NHL titles, or if you simply prefer the EA series, you'll find that NHL 2K8 doesn't manage to hold its own. Despite all that's good with the game, NHL 2K8's innovations are a few years behind the times, making it feel like a cheap rehash of what's already available.
There's no arguing with the notion that NHL 2K8 is a good, solid hockey game, but in the wake of strengthening competition, the franchise seems to be withering a bit. It's like the cagey old veteran that has to put up with a number-one draft pick vying for his job. Eventually, that veteran is going to lose a step, and that touted player is going to step in. That doesn't make the veteran useless, given that he can clearly still contribute, but he's no longer the superstar of the team. That's what happened this year. 2K8 lost a step when it made its bizarre control-scheme changes and failed to really improve much of the rest of the game beyond the franchise mode. You'll have some fun with NHL 2K8, especially if you're a franchise-mode fiend, but overall, it's just not up to the standards this series has reached in the past.
NHL 2K8 should be sent back to the minors for some retooling. If your aspirations are more Scotty Bowman than Wayne Gretzky, check this one out for its manager functions alone. While there are many positives to the game like the crease control, great general manager functions, and decent presentation, it's too hard to ignore NHL 2K8's on-ice inferiority to the competition. Gameplay is king, and 2K8 plays fourth-line checker to the competition's first line superstar.
The problems with Pro Stick are inexcusable, the implementation completely factoring out the human holding the controller. The AI goaltending issues are likely the result of lax quality control; I can't write them off as random, having encountered several similar goalie problems in the course of preparing this review, one of them being as odd as if the sun just didn't come up tomorrow. The top seat in PlayStation 3 NHL franchises was 2K Sports' to lose, and lose it they did. I can't recommend NHL 2K8 to anyone as anything other than a hockey-theme coaster, although it's almost worth the price of admission just to see what crazy thing your goalie will do next. Hopefully, 2K Sports will take this year's hockey holocaust as a lesson in leaving well enough alone and in how bad things can get.
But what are you sitting here reading the Internet? It’s 2008, haven’t you heard? Get in your car, drive to a hockey game, support your local team, and go pay $20 for a deep-fried stadium lunch. Because whatever you do, don’t spend any time on this flabby substitute.
The Video Game Critic
NHL 2K franchise has also fallen behind in terms of graphics. Everything looks very artificial, and those plastic player faces look downright scary! On the bright side, the two-man commentary is sharp and the games move along at a brisk pace. The action is very physical, and I even saw one player get checked into the bench. The loud, abrasive guitar noise is some of the worst background music I've heard in years. NHL 2K8 is an arcade game cursed with the controls of a tedious simulation. As a result, this isn't likely to appeal to casual gamers or hardcore hockey fans.
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