Genre Sport -> Sport
Today's Rank 0
Date N/A
Publisher Sega
Date N/A
Publisher N/A
It's a shame that the Dreamcast went the way of the dodo, because by the end of its reign it was the undisputed king of sports titles, as games like NHL 2K2 prove. This sequel to Sega's NHL 2K improves on its flawed predecessor in every way to emerge as arguably the best overall hockey simulation on any platform. The key word is simulation. There are no arcade trappings to be found here. The pace is toned down to match the speed of the real sport, goals are infrequent and hard-won, and the offensive and defensive strategies come straight from the hockey textbooks. The graphics are excellent, and special note must be made of the phenomenal animation for everything from the players to the spinning puck (which flips end-over-end after particularly aggressive slap shots and careens realistically off any object it encounters). Beginners will have an easy enough time warming up to the controls in the default mode, but much more depth is offered by switching to the advanced control layout. Here, button combos make nearly any trick possible, from dekes and precise shot control to hooks and side steps. The more you put into the game, the more it rewards you, and the enhanced AI makes single-player games nearly as challenging as a multiplayer match. Everything from an exhibition mode to a full-blown career mode is offered, and plenty of options exist for adjusting penalties, toggling rules, and setting the overall speed of the game. There's no way to turn it into an over-the-top arcade experience like NHL Hitz, but as the focus here is strictly on simulation, that's not really a problem. As it stands, NHL 2K2 is among the best sports games ever released, and we can think of no more fitting swan song for the Dreamcast. --T. Byrl Baker Pros: Lifelike animations, realistic physics, and a focus on simulation bring the game of hockey right into your home Incredibly tough AI offers a consistent challenge Advanced control mode gives expert players more options than ever Cons: Graphics overall are not as sharp as those found on Xbox or GameCube Sound--especially crowd noise--is lackluster
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