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NHL 2K5 Redux

Ok, so a few weeks ago I reviewed Sega’s latest offering in the PS2 hockey department, NHL2K5. I had some problems with it, not the least of which was the CPU mis-managing my lines and the season and franchise mode crashing. These, along with a few other little issues, made me disregard the whole game. It was my first time playing one of the Sega sports titles, and I, being a long time EA Sports fan, didn’t really give it a chance. I came to this realization when I played EA’s NHL 2005, and it was actually worse. From the gameplay, to the audio, to the fact that the CPU mis-managed my lines without warning (!!), I was very disappointed with EA’s effort this year. I played maybe 10 virtualrealitygames of NHL 2005 and then stopped because it was a pain in the ass. So I went back and gave NHL2K5 another chance.

The first thing I did was turn off injuries. This takes a bit of the realism out of the game, but it also prevents my lines from being messed with. It has been surprising how much of a difference this has made in my overall feelings about the game. I also realized that the crashes I experienced may have been due to lack of memory card space. After cleaning up my memory card, things are working better, though it does appear that NHL2K5 needs about 2.5M free, on top of whatever is used to save settings, preferences, seasons, etc. (which is another 2.5M or so) .

One thing I didn’t even get a chance to enjoy and talk about in the last review was the actual gameplay. The feel and the detail are much better in NHL2K5 then in NHL 2005. Goalies poke check at the right time, players without the puck do the right things, like take swipes at the puck in front of the net, and puck bounces and deflections are quite realistic. I’ve also managed to find a level (Pro), which has just the right level of difficulty for offense and defense. I’m not getting killed 10-0 every game, but I’m not winning 10-0 either. Surprisingly like real life, I need to concentrate for the whole game, try to capitilize on my opponent’s mistakes and not make too many myself in order to come up with the “W”.

So overall, after giving NHL2K5 another chance, I actually really like it. Are there problems with NHL2K5? Yes. Can I get over them? I think so. I like playing hockey on the PS2 and since NHL2K5 appears to be the best of this season, I’m going to have to go with that. Am I going to go buy it? Perhaps. It is pretty cheap at only $30, so in all likelyhood, I will.

Second chances are often a good thing.