NHL 09 Review

I thought I would actually do a review of the NHL 09 since I have been playing it for a week.

Improvements: There are several improvements to note that significantly change the game. The one you're all hearing about is the ability to "stick lift". I have been using the crap out of it, gleefully pounding the "A" button. The "lift stick" works well, is hard to time and definitely feels great when you pull it off at the exact moment you need to.

The biggest addition is something I barely noticed at first. EA has added a visual cue as to the status of the puck. If someone is in full possession of the puck there is no cue at all. If the puck is slightly bobbling but the player is still with in a few feet with no one checking him yellow, throbbing circles appear around the puck. If the puck is 100% free and no player is even close to it there is a resounding red throbbing circle around the puck. This is great to help locate the puck, for one, and to know that the puck is free. This is what lets me know that I can go into the crease hammering the new poke check trying to retrieve a pouncing biscuit and tuck it home for a well earned garbage goal. Garbage goals are something this series has seriously lacked since it's inception.

The Be A Pro Mode(BAP) is so addictive that it should be illegal. I am playing on Pro setting and I imagine I would still be getting slaughtered on the Marlies if I was on Superstar. The camera is intuitive, even though it suffers from the odd vomit-inducing swing when you go around the opposition's net. The one quirk that takes away a little from the experience is the imperfect "Line Change" feature. If you wish to change sometimes the game will decide that it is not time yet and take over your character as opposed to sending him off. This almost always ends in a "minus", as he stays out until there is a whistle(which is usually a goal because your character is exhausted) . But overall BAP is all the fun it was expected to be and upgrading your character and reaching milestones can makes ones' day. This feature is truly the "just one more game" feature.

The extension of BAP is the EASHL MMO portion. As of this writing I have only been able to successfully complete 3 games with one of my team mates. The servers at EA are most certainly suffering from something and I am hoping that they have the bugs ironed out soon. This league seems like it could be agreat time once it is working. The substitute for now is the Online Team Play, where you can play as your BAP player and still level him up(if you play a ranked game). These games are still hard to start, but that is mostly because of the personality disorders of the users.

Overall this game is absolutely amazing and ahould garner even more Game Of The Year awards this year. If only I could find the time to play more!

I will continue to do a more comprehensive(at my leisure, of course) review of the finer aspects of the game as the weeks go on. Yes, I love it that much......

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