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Dec. 28, 2005
NHL 2K6 - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
10/3/20062K SportsKush Games1-8$69.95

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Look, it's Ice Hockey.
While NHL 2K6 was due for release in Australia in late November the game has just been pushed back into January 2006. It's a bit of a shame this game won't be out in time for Christmas but the wait should certainly be worth it. You see this is one of the most exciting looking Ice Hockey titles, and as players of last years version, ESPN NHL 2K5, will confirm this series is every bit as exciting as Electronic Arts NHL titles, if not more so. Even better is that 2K Sports, realising the dominance of EA's series, are releasing this title at a reduced price, only $69.95 in Australia (and $US29.99 in America) making this a release well worth looking at.

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One of the training drills.
The first thing that many gamers may notice is that this game no longer has the ESPN branding. This was due to Electronic Arts going on a spending spree and buying the rights to the ESPN branding (as well as the NFL!). But for all intents and purposes the EPSN branding was more about the frills then actual gameplay so the end result may be a lack of consistency between TV coverage and the video game, but the sport remains the same. This isn't just a slight upgrade either with Kush games going all out to make NHL 2K6 a much better, and expanded, title.

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Ohh, gameplay screen.
The biggest new addition to this game is the Pro Control, or Icon passing. Basically by pressing the thumb stick you can string together a combo of passing moves. This should allow gamers to experience the sport as it should be; fast and fluid. This new feature allows quick shots at goal, or quick behind the goal styled plays. Another of the big features is the ability to skate backwards. It may be a small thing, but will allow gamers to open a little more space between yourself and the opposition to take a shot at goal or pass the puck. If that isn't enough the developers are also putting in a Party mode where you can participate in a series of mini-games (as seen in the second picture here). Sure, its a bit left field, but should be great fun.

Perhaps the one aspect which will seal the deal for most gamers in Australia is the inclusion of online gameplay. 2K Sports are promising, as well as online gameplay, online stat tracking, buddy lists management, and online leagues.

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The players close up.
Graphics and sound in this game continue Kush Games previous efforts with improved results yet again. From what we have seen the range of animations has improved - and indeed Kush Games confirmed hundreds of new animations will be in the game - while smaller, but no less significant changes, have also been made to the overall look although the menus have lost their ESPN gloss and quality. Commentary in the game is to be provided in NHL 2K6 by Canadian announcers Bob Cole and Harry Neale.

With a release date set for late February (although there has been talk of delays), and a pricepoint of only $AU69.95 this game looks like a wonderful alternative to other (read: EA's) NHL title. Certainly one for NHL fans to consider purchasing.