season draws near and although the number one thing on my list of 'things
to do' is getting a brand new Leafs jersey to cheer on my fave team,
I still have to finish the 2001 season I started last week. You might
be saying, "What is this? The 2001 season didn't start last week…ah…oh….NHL
2001 from EA…right, this is a game review web site. But I have a question…why
is he still dragging on this stupid 'you might be saying' quotation
when he's supposed to be reviewing this damn game?!". The introductory
rhetoric has been sliced through as of now-let's make this short.
is on the scene, on my hard drive and well…on my mind. EA's latest version
of the 'coolest game on earth' has essentially brought a lot of great
things that add polish and shine to the 2000 edition, but at a cost
that is very noticeable. It should be known ahead of time that system
demands are high for this game and the days of playing NHL '99 and 2000
on a banshee based system at a resolution of 1024 x 768 are more than
gone. But since a lot of gamers out there are currently upgrading their
systems-or at least their video cards-this might not be too much of
an issue for most of you. Just keep in mind that if you can't run the
game with speedy frames at 1024, details maxed and FSAA turned on (GeForce
or V5), don't be surprised.
neato things that NHL 2001 does bring range from new camera angles to
new game modes, and from new jerseys and teams to improved character
face rendering. The players' faces still look freaky and practically
undead (which is normal for this series), but there is an improvement
from 2000 to be noted. Some might notice the general graphical improvements
in the game right away; others might not and complain that there is
not enough of a visual difference to warrant how demanding the game
now is in comparison to its predecessors. Even more might be curious
about the fact that D3D and Glide performance in this game is fundamentally
the same a lot of the time. But funny enough-it doesn't matter-and here's
why…the game is fun.
and control of NHL 2001 is sharp and crisp, and the chemistry that made
the series the hit it is today is still there and has only been mildly
tweaked with. And given that tweaking CAN be admitted to, this 'tweaking'
becomes apparent in the more 'arcade' style of play that NHL 2001 offers.
The serious hardcore gameplay of previous games seems to have been merged
with the arcade feeling that comes with big smashing hits and fast paced
action with overemphasized visuals and audio treats to boot. The additional
camera angles that one can now adopt as well can give a player anything
he/she wants whether it be seeing more of the ice, or just feeling more
apart of the on-ice action itself.
is fun…yes. And there are improvements…yes. Does it look better? Sound
better? Play better? I'd say 'yes' for all of those. But buying this
game after having bought NHL 2000 last year might not be so good an
idea depending on what sort of NHL PC gamer you are. Because let's be
honest…even the commentator's offerings haven't changed much for the
better, and who needs more in-between-play player animations just for
the hell of it? Well, those who have bought every version for the last
few years might want to pick this title up. The new glossy helmets that
the players strut are sure to be attractive to those hardcore fans.
But those who buy a variety of PC games throughout the year and may
be on a tighter budget, you might want to consider keeping your old
2000-UNLESS you own '99. Because if you own '99 only, this is an upgrade
you will probably want to make if you are looking to add some much needed
steroids to your PC hockey gaming experience.
for all you cynics out there…if you are the type to notice and heckle
at things like the fact that the coach in the game ALWAYS only talks
to a player that is either 3rd from the right or 3rd from the left on
the bench…still don't give up. The game can be cheesy…we have all known
this for a long time-ever since the color commentary started getting
goofy on us during games. But despite the small cheesy setbacks in terms
of game additions, the fact that there isn't too much new to see in-game
and the higher system demands, it is still the best NHL game to date-and
even a cynic can't deny that.
new, but geez...it's just fun.
graphics, in-between-play animations.
demands a little bit of a pain depending on the system being used.
Low-end users beware.