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Forum LockedFirst Impressions: NHL 2K6 (PS2)

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JasonSGN View Drop Down
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Joined: 01-25-2006
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    Posted: 01-25-2006 at 9:01pm

NHL 2K6 PS2Posted By: Granatofan

NHL 2K6 (PS2)

Those who know me and have read my hockey impressions in the past know that I'm not a fan of Kush.  However, if you are a fan of this series and enjoy it then you will like this year's version.  It is improved and is their best offering yet.

MY pros:

  1. It's deeper, both on the ice and off.
  2. I haven't seen one bug so far.
  3. It looks better and offers progressive scan mode for PS2 owners.
  4. The new total pro controls offer a lot of tactical options during play.
  5. If you use the new total pro controls than a whole new world of sim hockey opens up before you.
  6. Ditching the ESPN presentation has improved the atmosphere of the game.
  7. The menus are slick.
  8. The wrist shot animation is improved and the shots look "stroked" instead of "shot" off the end of the stick.
  9. The skating animations are improved.
  10. It's a more finished and more polished product than in past years.*
  11. Default sliders out of the box produce realistic stats across many categories which will make sim heads happy.

MY cons:

  1. The AI is little improved if at all.  At default sliders and Pro difficulty the opponent AI would often break off a breakaway or pass back to a teammate just as in past years.
  2. When I switched to SIM mode (see post above) my teammate AI went brain dead.  I have a strong suspicion that SIM mode is just a slider set that some popular guy in the hockey forum community (aka a slider god)came up with and they added to the game.  What I see when I use the SIM mode is teammates that won't go into the corners for the puck, defenseman that won't shut down passing lanes and won't start skating with an opposing rushing forward until the forward is already past them.  After going back to default Pro settings the AI was better and the games were more fun.
  3. Another example of bad AI is my one game that ended in a tie in OT leading to the shootout.  The very first opponent that took his shot skated in with the puck and then just skated back and forth in front of my net looking for a good shot I assume.  His eighteen seconds (or whatever the limit is) ran out and then it was my turn.  He never took the shot.
  4. There are many instances of players bodies and sticks clipping during the game.  Most of the time it is irrelevant and can be dismissed, but there are occasions when it ruins a particular game as in the example at the beginning of this post.
  5. If you use learn to master the total pro controls the computer may no longer pose a challenge to you.
  6. The 2D crowd is too small (I think the fans are half the size of the players) and look bad.  Not a big deal?  Well it makes it feel like you are playing in an empty arena whenever they do a scene from the rafters.  Actually it looks like you are playing the game in some cardboard diorama that some schoolkid made for show and tell.  It's bad enough to be distracting.
  7. While there are at least 20 animations for what happens to you when you get checked and they look very good, there is still only really one checking animation, the big cross check shove.  What is worse is that checking is your only option using the "hit button".  Sometimes I just need to get in the opponents way to slow him down and allow my team to position.  The only other way to do this is with the right stick, but those are almost guaranteed penalties after the first use so I'm forced to use the hit button and take my man out of the play if he misses because he always goes for the "big" hit.
  8. Penalties are still called inconsistently and wrongly.  I'm not having the problems others are reporting.  Some games I have 5 or 6 and others I have 0.  Sometimes my opponent has more than I do.  I have never drawn a penalty myself, it is always my AI teammate.  Worse yet, almost every penalty is a "bad" penalty.  If you know hockey you know there are good penalties and bad penalties.  A bad penalty is one taken while you are in the offensive zone, or one taken while you are on the power play or penalty kill, or one taken away from the puck.  Good penalties are generally where you had no choice, but to take the opponent out or there was a high chance that they would score.  Wrongly called penalties are when you see the computer was hooking, but gets called for spearing.  Or gets called for hooking and it was a trip.  I'm seeing lots of interference calls that aren't really interference and I'm seeing blatant interference not called.
  9. I still see my teammates overskate the puck and have trouble picking it up when it's right in front of them.  I would not complain except that I NEVER SEE THE CPU HAVE THIS PROBLEM.  If it were balanced I wouldn't have a problem with it.
  10. Despite the improved presentation, cut scenes, new commentators, and music, the atmosphere during a game is still muted and dull.  Got to ANY live hockey game and you can feel the pulse of the building.  It's a living animal and it is very stimulating to be around.  Hitz Pro got this near perfect 2 years ago.  Copy it.
  11. It's just not very fun.  I had one fun game in 5.3 games played.  I shouldn't have to trudge through 5 games to have 1 fun one.  And yes, fun matters.  There just isn't a "one more game" feel to this one.

I tried to give you as many pros as cons.  I actually have more cons, but it doesn't matter.  Like I said if you like this series since Kush took over this will be your favorite one so far and I really mean that.  It just isn't my cup of tea for hockey gaming.

Edit:  Sometimes I wonder if I should even bother with these things.  In the movie Zoolander there is a scene where Will Farrel's character starts screaming that Zoolander's "signature looks" are all the same and that he feels like he's taking crazy pills.  That's how it is with me and the 2k hockey games since 2k4.  Everyone raves how realistic and how great they are.  And I just don't get it.  I was a convert to 2k2 on the DC and then big into 2k3, but since then I really don't enjoy this series.  I guess the disclaimer is your mileage may vary, but really, I don't get it.  I don't get what all those people are diggin'.

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