The only difference between a game like say ESPN's NHL 2K3, and this, is that this reverts back to the classic three-on-three extremely entertaining hockey action (NHL Rock the Rink, anyone?). One of the few sports games where it's as easy as it looks, and even the worst gamers in the world could pick up and have an absolute ball, this is truly a remarkable game.
Sure, this game may not have an in-depth plot, or a riveting storyline, but this game has more to offer than two Grand Theft Auto: Vice City's put into one and tied together with a triple linked chain, it's that deep with unlockables, and just general destructive fun. I bet you've dreamt of playing a game where slamming any useless loser through a sheet of solid glass is easy enough to do, you can actually manage it? If so, this is certainly your game, as Midway take the sport of hockey to an entirely new level.
As I mentioned above, you won't find a game anywhere that is easier to just pick up and play than this. This game takes simple to a whole new level. But simple isn't entirely bad, because it allows for even the most experienced players, or even the least experienced to have exciting high-scoring bouts to the finish, and a good ole' fist-fight, which everyone loves.
But seriously, this game is a breeze to learn, although it may take time to master completely. But the general controls are incredibly simple and easy to just glance at once for a breif second, and then get stuck straight into the action. It's simply great. But you'd want to be careful, this game is all about scoring goals, and making sure your pearly whites aren't collected by an airborne puck, but luckily, you have a helmet, otherwise things may have gotten messy. But definitely one of the most enjoyable games, ever.
As far as things to keep you busy, this game offers the most incredible hockey experience in a video game yet, the Franchise Mode. Which is undoubtedly the most complete hockey experience available, anywhere. But on the side of that, gamers can also enjoy the slightly less season mode, with every team and every game to take note of.
As far as issues go, I honestly found none, but that's maybe because I was having so much damn fun to take notice of any?
Graphically, I was quite surprised by this game, I expected because this game wasn't officially liscensed, or by a developer of titanic recognition, that the graphics portion of this game would let it down horribly. But amazingly, the graphics is most probably one of the it's strongest elements, from the incredible camera angles, to the near picture like images on the faces of each individual player, this game is marvellous when it comes to eye candy. Brilliant!
But as far as the general sound effects go, the commentary has been known to spark minor chuckling with me, and my family, as they watched idolly. And the sound of razor-sharp blades piercing the ice is a delight to hear, there is no doubt that the sound effects in this game are nothing short of tear-jerkingly beautiful.
There isn't much else I can say about this game, other than it's simply brilliance in a nutshell. Midway have taken their previous game, and idea of hardcore ice hockey, and excelled in every single way possible. They've improved graphics, their general gameplay, they've included an enormous amount of mini-games and unlockables, and a kick-arse soundtrack on top of all that, what more could anyone want really?
And this game would be dirt-cheap by now, I seriously recommend at least picking it up, as a multiplayer game this is a five-star game, but even as a single player campaign, this game is rightfully sensational. If you've got a couple of spare bucks, I could think of nothing better to do than pick up this title. Ignore these ESPN NHL 2K3 and EA's NHL 2003 annual rehashes, go with the game that has proven innovation wins fans, choose Midway's 'classic'. It's simply brilliant.
Review By: Brodie Gibbons