Saturday, October 12, 2002

NHL 2003 for Playstation 2 Released

The EA Sports Trax is the next best big improvement that EA Sports has given to their long running gaming franchise on NHL 2003. EA Sports thought instead of having some really boring, inane, and repetitive instrumental music that covers the menu section in NHL 2002. (I usually just hit mute on my TV when I'm working with the rosters or create a player mode) A little black box pops up in the bottom right hand corner of the screen to let you know what song is playing, who performs it, and what album it's from. I was so surprised and glad that they chose to contain two songs that are on my station WQWK 97.1fm - Qwk Rock. The adrenalin pumping "Sweetness" by Jimmy Eat World and Papa Roach's "She Loves Me Not" are two of the best known songs included in the lineup. "Modern Rock and Hockey go together like peanut butter and jelly.

As far as the gameplay goes, NHL 2003 emphasized more realism with the hockey players giving you more control over stick handling, deke-ing, and shot selection. I'd bet that their game developers, designers, and focus groups told them they wanted more realistic movements. You can't have your cake and eat it too though, with all the detail in the skaters movements, it slows down the game play. I guess people who complain about it being too slow is used to 16-bit "hat trick hockey" games where all players looked the same and molded the same way. NHL 2003 is unique in that way. Diving over a sprawling goaltender, cutting back around a defenseman makes for great hockey action imitating a real world senario.

Some negatives with the PS2 version compared to the PC version is that the some rosters and uniforms are not in the game. You won't see the Penguins new "Vegas gold - skating Penguin" home white uniforms in the PS2 version (which is okay since I like last seasons home jersey more) and the Los Angeles Kings (who have the nicest uniforms in the NHL) won't have updated uniforms since they dumped their coat of arms crest for a silver crown logo made popular from their 3rd jersey. Their royal purple, silver, and black are really nice. Team USA has no updated jersey from their silver medal Olympic team. Also, my two favorite teams to use Pittsburgh and Team Slovakia have their rosters slightly off. Guys like Beranek, Brown, and Dollas have not played in years, but still remain on the Pens roster. Machala somehow found a way to appear on the Slovak roster after being MIA for 2 years since they can fill a whole team with Slovak players.
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