NHL ’09

Xbox 360

They did it with the baseball games first. Now we see the first hockey take on the one sport, one player approach which will no doubt dominate all 2K and EA sports games for the next few years.

And it might not necessarily be a bad thing. EA gives us in ’09 the first game in a long time that feels like it’s doing something new. Where credit is due, I must admit that the game’s Be A Pro mode really does reinvent the way your hockey season plays—because when you control one goober on the ice instead of all of them at once, two very important facets are brought into the gameplay: excitement and a sense of accomplishment.

Playing the game from what is essentially a first-person approach introduces a concept of “I did that. I set up that assist. I dumped that meathead over the boards! I dinged the post!” Excitement.

To bitch, EA has the nerve to force you into a training session on offense and defense before you can even create a player. Fuckers, the same people buy the game every year. Most have us have been doing so since we were ten, and I’m gagging on the spoon you’re feeding me with. You could call this an uptight thing to mention, but EA fans never question the game they’re given. They just buy it blindly each year. And doing that might result in, oh, I don’t know, getting the same game over and over again for half of a decade.

But at least that’s not the case this time.

— Paul Warford