previews\ May 19, 2003 at 8:00 pm

ESPN NHL Hockey - XB - Preview

E3 2003 First Look

There’s little denying that NHL 2K3 from Sega Sports was the best hockey game from last year.  From amazing graphics to sweet gameplay, NHL 2K3 just felt like real NHL hockey action.  This year’s NHL 2K4 improves even more on last year’s edition, making it the leading candidate to hoist the cup again this season. 


Of course you can’t talk about Sega Sports without mentioning amazing graphics and realistic gameplay, and NHL 2K4 glows from both.  The developers at Visual Concepts got the skating motion and feel perfect, and it looks poetic.  Player models and faces have been improved, as well as all the NHL arenas and cutscenes.  New checking and goalie animations add an authentic feel to the game and bringing realism to the next level. 


There have been a few changes to gameplay to make NHL 2K4 an even greater force.  Much of the gameplay has been even more balanced out, resulting in less triple overtime games and solid shutouts.  One of last year’s chief complaints about the game was the unbelievable ability of goalies to prevent scoring better than a 12-guage shotgun wielding farmer with three lovely daughters.  This year, goalies can still play, but they’re not all Jean-Sebastien Gigueres.  To further satisfy, any of the other features in the game can be tweaked to gamers’ likings by way of the customizable gameplay sliders.  


Sega’s continuing partnership with ESPN is even more evident in this year’s NHL 2K game.  In game overlays, statistics, and new commentary from NHL 2Night’s Gary Thorne and Bill Clement turn this video game into an experience.  It’s so television realistic; you’ll wonder where the commercials have gone.


NHL 2K4 will be available for on-line play on the PS2 and Xbox systems.


NHL 2K4 skates to stores in Fall of 2003.

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