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ESPN NHL 2K5 is the second hockey game using Sega's partnership with the worldwide leader in sports, ESPN.

As with any sports game, you get the standard game modes. 2K5 has a vastly improved Franchise mode over last year's game. In addition to the e-mail system that was introduced, you have the ability to hire several coaches. You can choose a head coach, offensive coach, defense coach, scouting coach, a goaltending coach and more. When it comes time to hire and fire players, you use actual money, and not points to negotiate contracts.

There are a few special game modes as well. You have access to the skills mode, which was also found in last year's game. You can choose accuracy shooting, puck control, hardest shot, fastest skater, and a few more. There is also a Party Mode, which is set up for one to four players (you and friends or you and the computer), which pits you in fast action games. An example is a free-for-all, where you have to get the puck and score it in the net while the constantly moving cinder wall, which blocks the net, is down.

Like last year's game, 2K5 features multiplayer hockey over Xbox Live (Xbox) and PlayStation 2's network service. You can jump into a game, or create or join a league of friends and foes.

The Skybox is back, and it's been slightly improved. Like in ESPN NFL 2K5, you earn points by completing tasks, such as scoring five goals in a single period, winning ten faceoffs, etc. You then use these points to purchase unlockables which will adorn your Skybox or allow you to play as special teams. You can also unlock retro jerseys. Once you win a trophy, it's added to your Skybox, with the Stanley Cup being the center of attention. There are three mini-games you can play from your Skybox; air hockey, shuffleboard, and a trivia machine.

For those who have an Xbox, you will have the ability to import the music on your harddrive and set songs (or bits of songs) to play for various events. You can choose to play something like Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" for the stadium intro, something uplifting for when you score or something insulting for when you get scored on. If you like doing a lot of work, you can even set different events depending on the stadium, so if you want "Crazy Train" to play in Anaheim for the stadium intro, but want "Dragula" in Detroit, you can.


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Critic Reviews

GameZone PlayStation 2 Sep 07, 2004 9.3 out of 10 93
XBox Front Xbox Jan 26, 2005 91 out of 100 91
GameSpot PlayStation 2 Sep 01, 2004 9.1 out of 10 91
X-Power Xbox Mar 05, 2005 9 out of 10 90 Xbox Feb 23, 2005 90 out of 100 90
games xtreme PlayStation 2 Mar 18, 2005 8.8 out of 10 88 PlayStation 2 Feb 21, 2005 83 out of 100 83
Digital Entertainment News (den) Xbox Nov 04, 2004 8.2 out of 10 82
Jolt (UK) PlayStation 2 Feb 04, 2005 8.1 out of 10 81
Boomtown PlayStation 2 Apr 14, 2005 8 out of 10 80


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Contributed to by JPaterson (9541)
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