previews\ Aug 24, 2009 at 8:00 pm

NHL 10 - 360 - Preview 2

Last year's NHL title, NHL 09, stood out among other sports titles by offering fantastic gameplay, a robust amount of features both on and offline, and tons of depth. The game was the best sports title of 09, and was voted so by GameZone's writers. Now, EA Sports is readying their sequel, NHL 10, and putting even more great content into the mix. NHL 10 moves the series in a new direction, adding in a bevy of elements that focus more on the visceral and aggressive feel of hockey. Players will be able to get into first-person fistfights with their opponents, slam them against the boards and pin them there in order to steal away the puck, and a new Tough Guy character type for the Be A Pro mode. Additionally, the game still keeps the great feel and realistic pace of last year's game, making one that hockey fans will definitely be on the lookout for this fall.

NHL 10 starts you off with a brief tutorial to gauge the player's abilities with the controls. You are taken through the basic shooting and dekeing gameplay mechanics, as well as the new fighting and boardplay mechanics. After rating your skill level, the game puts you onto the ice to start winning games and bashing heads.

The new fighting mechanic hinges on the double thumbstick controls, requiring you to move your head (and pull on your opponent's jersey) with the left thumbstick and throw punches with the right thumbstick. This mode requires skill and timing, and pulling down your opponent's jersey while connecting with an uppercut is very rewarding.

The Be A Pro mode introduces a new character type, the Tough Guy, that essentially functions as a straight-up basher. Your job on the ice in this mode fits into the Enforcer role, as you'll have to intimidate your opponents and fight them, while keeping them from getting too aggressive and trying to take on your teammates. This is a great addition to the already excellent Be A Pro mode, allowing for new and unique gameplay and a different way of playing that will appeal to those looking for something new (or just bust some skulls).

NHL 10's newfound focus on aggression adds a fun and exciting new element to the series, and should be a hit with those hockey fans looking to blow off some steam and duke it out. Look for a full review later this month.

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