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September 12, 2007
NHL 2K8 - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
2/11/20072K2K SportsKush Games
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation

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Visuals look nice and crisp.
One of the earliest PS3 games that we really loved was NHL 2K7. It was a great title that had superb audio and visuals, solid gameplay and online modes that - should you not live in Australia - apparently played very well indeed. So here we are, only months since the original release (due to the delayed PS3 launch in Europe/Australia), and we're about to see the sequel. 2K Sports have put a fair amount of effort into this release to. Not content with updated rosters and fixtures this years release sees a host of improvements, and with an additional year working on the PS3 we're expecting quite a few big improvements in terms of visuals as well.

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Players look more 'realistic' this year.
Unless you live on some martian rock you would know that this title is based on the biggest Ice Hockey league in the world - the NHL. There have been several enhancements to this game including 'revolutionary right stick controls, all-new goaltending, a ground breaking face-off system'. Umm, so that's the PR spiel, but lets look at them in more detail. First of all the game uses a Prostick - essentially you can control your players stick with the Sixaxis' right analogue stick. The Prostick system will also be used for Face-offs for increased realism and accuracy.

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The rinks look quite brilliant!
The development team at Kush Games have also captured 'Superstar Combo Moves' which means the NHL players will act on the ice identically to their real-life counterparts. The development team has also overhauled the AI and totally redone the animations for goaltending making it much more realistic, and increasing the variety including guarding posts, moving out from the goals to challenge and some wonderful butterfly saves. Perhaps most importantly the Career mode has been expanded with new options, and more detail.

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What you can't see is the brilliant animation.
Visually this game looks to have been improved over last years already impressive efforts. Primarily (and as you can probably see from one or two surrounding screnshots) the players look a lot more 'realistic' and lifelike in their facial textures. Last years players looked a little flat and lifeless but the texturing, and indeed the already-impressive animation, appears to have been significantly improved for NHL 2K8. Add to that some impressively recreated Ice Hockey Rinks and stadiums and this is one neat looking package.

Now we'd love to tell you that the online modes will be a blast in this game, but after last years efforts where the servers were shut down we can't guarantee that there won't be problems yet again. In fact when we asked just this week what was happening in Australia, 2K Games still couldn't give us an answer either way. That doesn't bode well, although there is still 6 weeks until release.

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Player detail is improved considerbly.
The soundtrack in NHL 2K8 includes quite a few popular artists including the likes of Bloc Party, Korn, Quiet Riot, Priestess, Stellastarr, Early Man, Tokyo Police Club, Les Savy Fav and more.

With a release set for late October we're pretty keen to get our mitts on this game. There appears to be considerable changes and additions over last years NHL 2K7. We can only hope that 2K Sports manage to get the online modes working in Australia - the previous version was a bit of a mess with the online component working, then stopped as soon as the title was release for technical reasons.