Hockey is definitely one of the sports that I know the least about. This is definitely due in part to the fact that I just never watch it. I at least tune in for the NBA Finals, The World Cup, and several Grand Slams. For NHL I don’t even know what their championships are called. For some reason the game never seemed as interesting as the others to me. I still prefer it to Golf, but it just didn’t grab my attention. That may be due to the ice, but I’m not sure why so I’ll just leave it as one of life’s mysteries at this point. Either way it’s been years since I played an NHL game so it was fun to get back in it.
There are definitely a lot of similarities to the FIFA games. The gameplay for the two sports just tends to mesh well although NHL loses this battle. It’s a fun title but yet another sport where I am unable to score unless I put the difficulty all the way to the bottom. It gets even trickier than soccer because half of my team is constantly getting knocked out thanks to penalties so I have to field the whole section by myself. Once it’s 5 vs 3 then I’m really sunk. I suppose the idea here is to keep swinging until you get the puck past the goalie. Instead of pass plays I would just keep on hitting the ball until the goalie forgot to block.
It’s a little harder to move on the field because of how slippery it is, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quick. Mainly you just want to focus on outwitting the opponents and claiming the puck. Once you’ve got a lead you can camp out the other team pretty easy in this game or at least easier than in some of the others. At the same time if you’ve got a lead then you may as well try expanding it to really get a decisive victory. You never know when the tides will turn after all and sometimes it’s just a good idea to press the attack.
There was one point in the game where my players were in the perfect position. I kept on shooting at the goal and while he would block, the power was high enough where it would bounce over to another guy. I’d then pass it again and fire a shot. This kept on going until finally one of their guys got the puck, but I managed at least 10 shots in during that time which definitely felt pretty good. I was in the zone at that moment.
Interestingly you never actually take control of the goalie, which is different from soccer. I’m down with that since it means more time on the actual field which is always good. It also means I have more time to work on not getting so many penalties the whole time. One of them seems to be like Basketball where you can’t go backwards past the half point of the field or you surrender the puck. The defensive ones are a little trickier to get around as I end up getting slammed whenever I attack another one of the players. I guess you have to slam them while they still have the puck, but it’s hard to time it just right since they end up passing so quickly. Ah well, at least you’re only taken off the field for a few plays and not the whole game.
The graphics here are definitely sharp. Get ready to see the players complaining about the penalties a lot as it happens after each penalty and they get quite upset. These scenes are skippable but pretty entertaining. While there isn’t a lot to show off in terms of graphics on the small hockey rink you’ve still got a good amount of hockey gameplay and the arena looks sharp.
There’s a good amount of replay value here which is pretty straight forward since it’s a sport game. You can play as any of the professional Hockey teams and you can play under many different conditions. As you get better at the game it’ll all feel smoother and it’s always nice to actually see your improvement in a game. You’ll feel like a completely different person when you end from when you first started.
Overall, NHL 08 is pretty solid. I look forward to seeing if the title has changed a lot over the years or if it remains the same as I play the newer installments. I don’t really see what more they could add in, but I’d be game with some way to make more precision shots. As it stands a lot of my shots still go wide or don’t exactly fall into the place I was hoping for. I’m not sure how they can do this without making it too complicated so the easiest way is to just improve the accuracy. It may make the offense a little overpowered but sometimes sacrifices have to be made to save the game. Hockey fans will definitely get a kick out of this title as I feel like it really does the game justice with the mechanics and presentation.