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Critic Reviews

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90 (Sep 24, 2004)
So far I have invested well over 80 hours of gameplay time into NHL 2004, and I haven't been disappointed so far. Nearly 8 months after its initial release and I still find myself yelling at the referee for a bad call, or talking to mollified friends about how Joe Thorton has racked up 76 goals and amassed a staggering 124 points. For anyone who is a hockey fan looking for a great gaming experience I urge you to buy NHL 2004. It is simply a must own title; if not only as a holdover excursion until EA releases its 2005 edition. Can't wait!
GameZone (Oct 02, 2003)
EA Sports NHL 2004 is proof that the franchise just keeps getting better and better. This is a hockey game at its most realistic, therefore making for a game that’s both fast-paced and hard-hitting . . . just the way we hockey fans love our hockey. The fact that there is no Xbox Live support might be a bit disappointing, but there is just no denying the fact that this is an excellent ice hockey game fans can really get into when they’ve had their fun with the NHL Hitz Pro or ESPN NHL Hockey.
Lawrence (Oct 04, 2003)
With plenty of throwback jerseys and international teams coupled with simple, solid controls and a deep Dynasty mode, NHL 2004 impresses us with the change and offers hardcore gamers and button mashers a good time on the ice.
88 (Oct 14, 2003)
Endlich verströmt NHL wieder diese herrlich fulminante Mischung aus Kampf und Taktik! Dieses Jahr krachen die Checks so fulminant, dass einem schon vom Zuschauen die Rippen schmerzen - da fliegen Helme, splittert Glas und lacht das Kämpferherz. Und das Pass-System befriedigt endlich auch Simulationsfans, denn es zwingt zum klugen Einsatz von flachen und gelupften Zuspielen. Einsteiger werden sich allerdings daran die Zähne ausbeißen, denn es verlangt viel Geduld und die KI der Verteidiger ist erschreckend gut. Um so ärgerlicher, dass es immer noch kein vernünftiges Tutorial gibt. Dafür kann jedoch der Dynasty-Modus entschädigen, der trotz seines faden Designs auch alle Managerseelen ansprechen dürfte. Aber was sind schon Finanzen im Vergleich zur grandiosen Atmosphäre, die in EAs Eistempeln herrscht? Wer Gänsehaut sucht und spielerisch gefordert werden will, kommt an NHL 2004 nicht vorbei.
IGN (Sep 23, 2003)
It's an improvement over the last NHL game from EA but definitely a big change in direction for the franchise. There's plenty of room for improvement but it's clear that the effort has been put into NHL 2004 and the most serious hockey fans should get a kick out of it. Casual fans will either become serious hockey fans or break their controllers trying.
GameSpot (Sep 22, 2003)
To sum up NHL 2004, it's simply a great game of hockey. The new additions to the gameplay, all-new dynasty mode, and upgraded graphics all provide a really excellent experience. Although the game does fall just shy of beating out ESPN NHL Hockey as the current champion of simulation hockey titles, any previous fan of EA's NHL series will find very little to complain about in this installment and should absolutely check it out.
TeamXbox (Sep 29, 2003)
It was only a certain amount of time before EA Sports finally put the biscuit in the basket with one of their most complete installments in the long running franchise. NHL 2004 is going by the slogan “painfully real hockey,” and these three words represent this game to a tee. The series is turning towards the likes of Madden, with realism being added into every nook and cranny of the game. The greatest strength NHL 2004 holds is that it brings back the game of hockey the way it was meant to be played…physical and tight scoring. When I first began playing the game, I kept criticizing many areas, especially the physical aspect of the game. The more I played it, however, I realized that EA Sports has taken today’s game of hockey and perfected it in NHL 2004.
Consoles Plus (Sep, 2003)
Les statistiques sont nombreuses et les options toujours aussi intelligentes. Néanmoins, ce NHL 2004 ne parvient pas à transmettre le fun inhérent au hockey de haut niveau.
85 (Oct 23, 2003)
Fantastisch, was uns EA Sports mit dem neuen Gameplay für Möglichkeiten bietet. Jammerschade, das es dennoch nicht reicht, um an alte Wertungsregionen anzuknüpfen. Die lieblose Präsentation der Spielmenüs und die ungewohnt vielen Schwächen sorgen dafür, dass NHL 2004 knapp hinter den Erwartungen zurückbleibt. Dennoch war es seitens EA der richtige Schritt, verstärkt Augenmerk auf ein neues Spielerlebnis auf dem Eis zu legen. Die Eishockey-Simulation von EA Sports ist trotz der vorhandenen Schwachpunkte ein Pflichtkauf für alle Hockeynarren, denn derart viel Dynamik und Action gab es bislang noch nicht zu erleben auf dem Bildschirm. Wenn in der kommenden Saison auch das "Drumherum" wieder stimmt, steht einer Topwertung nichts mehr im Wege.
Daily Game (Jan, 2004)
Overall, NHL 2004 is a great improvement over last year’s version. It offers great gameplay, improved AI and a real attention to detail. As an EA game, it still lacks online support on Xbox, which is a crying shame, but the improvements help compensate for that if you’re a die-hard EA loyalist. With a package this good, let’s hope NHL 2005 bucks EA’s annual trend of inconsistency.
Gameplanet (Oct 07, 2003)
While most of EA's sports games build on the success and the gameplay of the previous year NHL has taken something of a sidestep for the 2004 release, seeking to rebuild the gameplay. Criticised in some parts for being overly arcadey, the gameplay of 2003 has been rebuilt into a more serious, more simulation-oriented game. Gone from this version are such things as the NHL cards and the slow-mo replays of big hits. In this 2004 edition the focus is on playing a tight, fast-paced game. We think they have succeeded in doing this, while still retaining the essence of a fun hockey game. Sports fans would be wise to check this one out.
GameSpy (Oct 09, 2003)
Online play is simply not a component if you don't have a PS2, so multiplayer is strictly an on-the-couch affair. Granted, that's a lot of fun, with options for split-team play amongst a group of four, as well as the standard one-on-one mode. The wide camera angles serve really well here, keeping the action full-on and fast paced. It's remarkable that EA has managed to catch up to the incredible effort from Sega in a single generation, and if it weren't for an overly trying physics engine on the ice, the two would be in a dead heat. Even so, NHL 2004 is a highly impressive game, recommended for detail-oriented fans and lovers of hockey in general.
Armchair Empire, The (Nov 02, 2003)
NHL 2004 is an extremely good hockey game but has one major failing in my eyes: lack of fun. For simulation fans, this (subjective) problem won’t be viewed as a failing. It’s loaded with everything that a hockey fan could want (especially the Play Now option, which gets you playing quickly and painlessly), and should definitely please those that felt a little let down by last year’s edition.
80 (Oct 17, 2003)
Dans cette édition 2004, NHL devient à la fois plus technique et plus spectaculaire. Tout en conservant la même base, EA a su incorporer de forts appréciables innovation de gameplay. Quelques petits manques et regrets mineurs sont à signaler. Sans refondre totalement sa formule, NHL s'enrichit et confirme son statut d'excellent jeu de Hockey. Rendez-vous l'année prochaine.
Extreme Gamer (Oct 09, 2003)
There are a bunch of hockey games on the market and EA holds its own place comfortably in the market. It’s not overly technical, but doesn’t seem too arcadish. This game is a good choice if you love hockey, want to play a good dynasty mode but don’t want to be overly bothered with ultra realistic gameplay. NHL 2004 is EA Sports best offering in years rent it and gives it a try and I’m sure you’ll be back to purchase all around solid title.
NHL 2004 innehåller väldigt mycket av det jag saknade i fjolårets version. Ändå finns det fortfarande en del saker som kan förbättras. Det största problemet är kommentatorerna, som oftast berömmer fel spelare och kallar heta seriematcher för vänskapsmöten. Även målvakterna hade kunnat vara bättre. Tavlorna är nämligen ganska många och det faktum att det inte kan suga upp passningar rakt framifrån är rent ut sagt bedrövligt. Å andra sidan är jag inte den sortens person som inte överlever ett par billiga baklängesmål. Känner du likadant är NHL 2004 spelet för dig.