Games Meet Metal: NHL 2K10 (Wii): Another Disturbying Review

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NHL 2K10 (Wii): Another Disturbying Review

Background: Being Canadian, it should come as no surprise that I'm nuts about hockey. When it's hockey season, I'm pretty much glued to the ol' futon watching as many games as I can. During the off-season, I try my hardest to surround myself with hockey. I keep track of the draft and trades as well as any other hockey news I can get my hands on. Being an avid video gamer, hockey video games are right up my alley. The only issue is that the only console that I own (at the moment) is the Wii, and so far there haven't been a lot of hockey games for me to choose from. Last years NHL 2K9 fell a little flat, and Wii owners missed out on the Online content that were included with XBox 260 and PS3 versions. Without dwelling too much on the past, lets just say that I was really looking forward to this years release since it was announced that online play would be available to Wii owners. Maybe my expectations were set a little too high...

Pros and Cons: The game isn't much of an improvement over 2K9. The menus are a little easier to read and once you figure out where everything is, they're pretty easy to navigate. The ability to use a classic controller is also a huge plus, since the motion controls in 2K9 were very clunky and unnatural. Once I learned that, I never even bothered with the motion controls in this version, even though you can plug in your Wii Motion Plus which will enhance your..... well I'm not really sure what it will do for you. I'm sure one day I'll try it.
The gameplay isn't anything to write home about as the A.I. has lead to some frustrating moments. When controlling a player, it seems as though they have a mind of their own. I'll have an opposing player lined up and when I press the checking button, my guy goes in a completely different direction, towards a different player off screen, allowing my original target a clear path to the net. Plus, the new "Ove Dekes" are a waste of time. I've been in three shootouts so far and I've only managed to score 3 times with 24 shooters. The majority of my goals come from one-timers, but even that isn't a perfect solution since the shooter will backhand the pass if you pass it to his off-hand. Real effective guys.
As for game modes, they're all here. Quickplay, Tournament, Franchise and Season (though they're pretty much the exact same thing). In addition to these modes there is a Wii Exclusive Mii Super Skills Competition, which allows players to face off against each other (as their Miis) in various super skills events such as Hardest Shot and Fastest skater. The motion controls for this mode are pretty good, though the shooting is still harder to pull off than it should be.

What Makes It Metal: Sigh Unfortunately you won't find anything to keep the metalhead in you entertained. The soundtrack is just awful; the hardest song being Joe Satriani's Crowd Chant. This is a HUGE misstep for this game, since the last title featured songs from Protest the Hero, Mastodon, High on Fire, NOFX, Bad Religion and The Ramones to name a few. What would have been nice is a feature that allows you to put in your own soundtrack, a la Excite Truck. I'm a firm believer that Metal and Sports go hand-in-hand as listening to metal can increase your adrenaline which is a key factor to playing sports. So, when I play the game I switch my home theater over to my CD Player and put in some old school Thrash Metal to help me focus.

Final Verdict: In short, it's an NHL liscenced game on a console that has only one other NHL liscenced game, and that's last year's 2K9 title. Hockey fans that are Wii owners don't have a choice when they want to play a game with their favourite NHL stars, so at least they have that going for them. But, if you have an Xbox 360 or a PS3, you're best getting your NHL fix somewhere else.
I give it a C-

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