Best NHL game out there for casual hockey fans.
NHL 2002 has plenty of things to like. The graphics are a big improvement over 2001, the faces are detailed enough that in some cases you can actually tell who some players are!! Tons of stats are available on players(draft positions, career stats etc.) as well as lists which record all trades which take place. For stat fanatics like myself, this may keep you playing for hours on its own. The gimmicky tweaks made by EA such as the hit and save replays and goal celebrations are cool enough without distracting from the actual gameplay.
The biggest knock against NHL 2002 is that it doesn't play like the NHL. It's full of highlight reel goals and hits that you'd see once a month in the real league. While this is great for some, as a serious hockey fan I found it too unrealistic. There are too many glitchy goals as well, passes sometimes end up in the net, weak wrist shots from the blue line, I've seen too many bad goals to describe in this review. The "commentary" gets annoying very quickly.
The Bottom Line
NHL 2002 was good enough to spend allot of time on my hard drive when it first came out and its allot better than NHL 2003. It's the best game on the PC for casual hockey fans who just want to see some impossible hits and goals every once in awhile and can probably be found for cheap. Serious hockey fans on the other hand are better off picking up NHL 2004