October 8, 2000
NHL may not have a huge following here in Australia, but overseas it's huge and it certainly makes an exciting video game. With hard-hitting crunches, super fast action and enough excitement to give you heart attack just watching it, NHL is truly a sport for those that don't fear pain. NHL 2001 is set to be released on November 30 as a Playstation 2 launch title here in Australia.
NHL 2001 includes 30 National Hockey League International teams including the latest additions to the league, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild. In addition to this the game includes 20 International teams, including sporting minnows such as Ukraine and Latvia. Unfortunately, it's extremely unlikely that we will find an Australian team anywhere in the game, perhaps due to our relative lack of interest in the sport here.
Electronic Arts' NHL 2001 includes an impressive array of new features on the Playstation 2. All the players have been motion captured from the skating and shooting right down to fighting sequences. Each player has his own celebrations, taunts and animations during the games. This Playstation 2 version includes all new defense and goalie AI which is bound to improve on the Playstation version.
One of the most interesting features of NHL games is the fighting. It's amazing how much effort actually goes into the fights while so many other sports are trying to stamp it out, let alone have game developers include it in the video games.
Electronic Arts are also going to include several different play modes. This game will include single exhibition matched to a full-blown Enhanced Season Mode which allows you to act as the General Manager of a team to trade players or create your own athletes. NHL 2001 will also include a Season Play Off mode for those with little time on their hands.
NHL 2001 won't be the biggest seller in Australia. Why should it? NHL rarely gets a mention here and Ice Skating rinks are as common as the Tasmanian Tiger. Still, with plenty of speed and action it should prove to be exciting at the least. It's not too hard to see this Playstation 2 version improving upon previous NHL games from Electronic Arts, it's simply amazing.