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NHL 06 Review - PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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NHL 06 Screenshot

Well, at least there's job security in virtual hockey

NHL 06 in action

The Bottom Line

Alright, I admit that I was quite peeved about an entire sports league not playing. Putting that aside I must admit my other bias, I love NHL arcade games such as Hitz. Regardless, NHL 06 is a top notch hockey simulation. The new tweaks to player and puck physics drastically alter the gameplay. This may be the most accurate hockey game out there. There's also a ton of game here for the buck, with a solid career mode.
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Pros

  • It's a whole lot more NHL than you got on the tube, last year
  • New puck and player physics bring NHL realism to the ice
  • NHL 06 gets the 'Skill Stick' treatment, all sorts of new moves with the right analog stick
  • New character creation system is simply unreal, create any NHL player you can imagine

Cons

  • Perhaps too much a hockey simulation, it's quite tough
  • Graphics are sharp, but showing the need for the next gen of consoles

Description

  • Graphics: 4 Great on-ice graphics, but the audience stadium are stuck in the pixel-era
  • Sound: 4 Great licensed music, the puck rings true when smacking into people and objects
  • Concept: 3 Hockey is a fast game, the level of detail in this game may slow it down a bit
  • Control: 3.5 The Skill Stick adds a lot of moves, but they aren't intuitive and take time to learn
  • Difficulty: 4.5 The gameplay is more difficult, but more rewarding than NHL 05
  • Replay: 4.5 Lots of game to be played, and more details than you will have time to get through
  • Rated: Everyone 10+, in reality, I'm sure the 8-9 year old hockey fans won't be too offended

Guide Review - NHL 06 Review - PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC

The NHL and hockey in general is an odd gaming subject. Unlike other sports, say for example football, many people who enjoy hockey videogames don't actually follow hockey. I may watch a match from time to time, but I don't exactly have NHL scores sent to my cell phone. As a result, I was nervous when EA announced it would be making major changes to NHL 06 to make it more realistic, as I was more interested in fun than accuracy. Amazingly, EA Sports has managed to deliver both in spades, and NHL 06 is a spot on hockey simulator.

The three biggest changes in NHL 06 all add to making the game a more realistic hockey sim than any other title out there. The new R.P.M. (Realistic Puck Momentum) makes the puck a cold black disk of death, as 100 mile per hour shots can now injure defense-men and stun goalies. It moves far more unpredictably, much to the chagrin of button-mashers. The same is true for players. Player speed and size has a noticeable effect on turning and stopping. My favorite tweak, though, is the new Creation Zone where you can adjust every minor detail of a player's face. Nothing like creating annoying coworkers and slapping the puck at them

In the end, the addition of the Skill Stick, like so many EA Sports games, adds a new repertoire of shots and tricks. The game itself seems to be full of new tricks. Some work, some need work. When the buzzer sounds, NHL 06 is a brilliant, if not difficult, hockey sim.

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