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Critic Reviews

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GameZone (Sep 07, 2004)
Serious fanatics of the puck are divided into two groups: those that are fans of the EA Sports hockey franchise and those that are fans of Sega’s ESPN NHL game. Both hockey games put up quite a competition since both games play fluidly and realistically. Both always up the ante and offer improvements in practically every aspect of the game to the point that there’s something different every year. ESPN NHL 2K5 is this year’s entry in the competition to win hockey fans over and I must admit that not only is this game astonishingly priced just right (it retails for $19.99!) but it also has my vote for the best this series has released so far.
IGN (Sep 01, 2004)
ESPN NHL 2K5 is the best current-gen hockey game I've played. It seems I say that about Sega's game each year, but that's because Sega's ice hockey title always seems to improve. Despite the $20 price tag, developer Kush Games hasn't let the series slide one bit. If you love hockey or if you are simply a fan of hockey video games, there's no reason not to pick up ESPN NHL 2K5. Harder hits, smarter AI, better gameplay, a deeper Franchise Mode, and online leagues? Yeah, there's a lot going on this year to be happy about. It's not all perfect -- in fact, there are a few things I have major issue with -- but overall NHL 2K5 is the only hockey game you need.
Game Revolution (Oct 08, 2004)
Last year, Tampa Bay struck down the NHL with a mighty thunderbolt and snatched Lord Stanley’s Cup away from Calgary’s flaming grasp. But unlike the old adage, lightning can, in fact, strike twice. As evidence, I present ESPN NHL 2K5, another bolt from heaven courtesy of Sega and Visual Concepts.
GameSpot (Sep 01, 2004)
While there may not be a real season to keep hockey fans occupied this year, you can rest assured knowing that you will still have one of the best hockey games to ever hit the market. Hopefully it will ably fill the real-life hockey void for you. Visual Concepts and Kush Games have once again delivered an incredible hockey package that's filled with more game modes than you'll probably know what to do with. And once again they've orchestrated the best hockey gameplay you're going to find anywhere. If you're still on the fence for any reason, the incredible $19.99 price tag should be more than enough to convince any sane person that this is a game worth owning. Simply put, if you like hockey, you need to own ESPN NHL 2K5.
With no NHL season in the real world then it's even more important that the virtual hockey you play this year is as good as possible and the best game on offer has to be ESPN NHL 2K5. The improvements on last year's game are not huge but they don't really need to be. The Franchise mode is more satisfying and if you have a few friends around you can enjoy the additional Party modes. Like in the other ESPN games this year, the online mode has been trimmed from NHL 2K5 and once again this is unfortunate. Hockey is a game suited to online play and it would have been great being able to go online with such a superb game. Still at £19.99 the game's a fantastic bargain and all hockey fans who own a Xbox or PlayStation 2 should definitely pick this game up.
90 (Mar 05, 2005)
Das Lager der europäischen Eishockeyfans bleibt wohl weiterhin halbiert. In puncto Gameplay liegen die Vorteile noch immer beim Take 2-Titel, die Teams der europäischen Ligen sind aber weiterhin nur in “NHL 2005“ aus dem Hause “EA“ mit von der Partie. Da “ESPN NHL 2K5“ jedoch wie auch seine NFL und NBA Geschwister zu einem günstigen Preis über die Ladentische geht, kann man dieses Manko ein weiteres Mal leicht verschmerzen. Ansonsten erwartet den Spieler abermals alles was das Eishockeyherz begehrt und das ist jeden Cent wert.
Thunderbolt Games (Apr 05, 2005)
There's tons to do, tons to play and tons to unlock in ESPN NHL 2K5 which will leave you playing right up until next years instalment, which I won't even bear thinking about. The fantastic Franchise mode will no doubt be the main port of call, and you could even spend time in the Dream Team section grabbing your favourite stars and beating the hell out of everyone with them. There's even a roster changer and a line editor which will keep you busy for a while. Hell, everything's here, there's stuff I found that I never knew existed in Ice Hockey, and it'll keep even the slightly interested and intrigued sports fans out there happy. All this for £20. Cheap as chips, depending on where you go.
GamePro (US) (Nov 23, 2004)
The actual season may be in serious jeopardy, but at least puck heads can count on getting their virtual fix, and it doesn't' get much better than ESPN NHL 2K5. Thanks to stellar graphics, an in-depth control scheme, and solid features, it sets the bar for what a hockey game should be, providing gamers with the best sim on the market this year.
games xtreme (Mar 18, 2005)
I would easily recommend this to any fan of hockey, it seems that this may even be the closest thing to hockey the fans are going to get this year due to problems with the real-life NHL, maybe one of our American readers could fill me in on this? ESPN NHL 2K5 is a very nice hockey sim indeed, it does a stunning job of what it sets out to do although as with all sports sims your enjoyment of it will depend on how much you like the sport it is based on.
85 (Feb 16, 2005)
Yet another quality title ESPN NHL 2K5 is a great purchase at under $50. Once again the lack of online options is disappointing with the big difference being that EA's NHL 2005 includes online gameplay in PAL territories. Still if online gameplay doesn't concern you then this is a purchase you won't be disappointed with.
83 (Feb 21, 2005)
Nach dem grandiosen ESPN NBA 2K5 wirkt ESPN NHL 2K5 ein wenig blass. Simulationsfans, die sich länger mit diesem Titel beschäftigen, werden das realistische Gameplay jedoch schon nach kurzer Spielzeit zu schätzen wissen. Schade, dass der Online-Modus fehlt und die Präsentation nicht ganz so bombastisch ist - wir raten dennoch zum Kauf!
The Video Game Critic (Mar 29, 2005)
Recognizing that most gamers are just casual hockey fans (if that), ESPN incorporated an interesting new "party mode" for one to four players. In this collection of mini-games, you can challenge friends to collect icons, traverse an obstacle course, or engage in a free-for-all shootout. It's not worth buying the game for, but it certainly adds to the replay value. In the final analysis, I think it's safe to say that ESPN NHL 2K5 is the best hockey game on the market right now.
Sega has done what they wanted to with the $19.99 price point for NFL 2K5 - increased its popularity. SEGA decided to follow through with the same price point for all of its sports titles, and at twenty bucks, ESPN NHL 2K5 ends up being a steal. Especially when you consider that this may be the only hockey that is played this year, or scarier, that this is the only hockey that anyone cares about.
Jolt (UK) (Feb 04, 2005)
In the US, there’s some confusion as to the future of the National Hockey League. Sadly, because I have no interest in delving into what’s going on, I won’t bore you with the details of this selfish and pathetic situation plaguing the rinks across the pond. If you’re interested in the sport that much you’ll already know, and if you’re not: why the hell are you reading this review? Look, I’ll save you some time and tell you that if you’re looking for a worthy NHL game this year, this should be the only game you pay attention to for a long time to come.
80 (Feb 22, 2005)
It is easy to ignore a game like this. It is a simulation of an American sport that is only played by a few people in Europe. It has also been released at a Budget price. However, don't let either of these points prevent you from taking a look at ESPN NHL 2K5. As far as fast entertaining sports games go, this is up there with the best of them. Had online play been included this would have been a no-brainer, but considering very few other budget titles are this polished, it is hard to complain.
Boomtown (Apr 14, 2005)
American sports channel ESPN’s coverage of US sports is so well renowned for presentation and depth that when they got together with SEGA and developer Visual Concepts to produce the ESPN series of games it became immediately apparent that the stranglehold that EA Sports had over the American Sports games market was seriously under threat.
Yahoo! Games (Sep 08, 2004)
The World Cup of Hockey aside, this is proving to be a cruel year for puck players. So thank whomever you'd like to thank for video games, where hockey isn't just alive, it's better than ever. And especially thank Sega, who've taken this year to tweak ESPN NHL 2K5 into the sweet spot, making their solid game more powerful and just as fun to play.