NHL 06 - game review

Date: 2005-10-19 12:48:00
The review was based on the PC version.

My heart begins to beat faster when I pick up the puck after restarting. The opponent is retreating - fine, they made a gap in the left wing. I move briskly, taking care that the puck does not jump off the stick too much. Great! My teammates clear my way. Everyone was left behind. My heart is in my throat - I'm alone with the bouncer. Hi! But I have a new feint system. Now, let's go with this coke! Right, left, right again - I just see the goalkeeper nervously shifting from skate to skate and getting ready to defend. Just a few more meters. I brake right in front of the goal. I start to make a powerful swing and ... the green light comes on - end of the third. Agrh, the same again!

It is difficult to start a review of a game that has basically remained the same for several years. Well, what to write? That I was waiting for this NHL installment with a flushed face? No, I did not expect a revolution after it, although as every year EA Sports announced changes.

And the truth is, since 2000, the hockey game has been pretty much the same - with little ups and downs. One would like to say: no changes in the electronic NHL . And it is worth asking yourself: can anything be done here to regain more and more confused gameplay? There were cards with players, Dynasty mode - this year the "phenomenon" was to be a new system of feints and shots. It made it easier for us to feel like a hockey player. We can also do even bigger miracles with the disc.

Online game, quick match, season, dynasty, tournament, elite league (no Polish league ;-)) and free for all - it took me five seconds to present the most important features of NHL 06. In two words: nothing new. Added to this is the Creation Zone - that is, the ability to create your own player and a whole new team. Hockey freaks will surely be satisfied. Of course, you can also view player statistics, team compositions, etc. And during the season, we also have a list of goals and assists by individual players. The statistics are quite a lot, but they are still only a drop in the ocean of numbers and numbers offered by, for example, the NBA series.

Again, the Dynasty mode seems to be the most interesting. We play the role of a coach and we have a lot of possibilities in matters of team management. We receive e-mails, set strategies for each match, define the training characteristics of the team and generally play hockey. We also have an overview of the NHL rules and regulations. At your whim, you can turn all the rules on or off, set the time of a third, etc. Again, this is decorated with an accessible but - unfortunately - slightly onerous menu.

Dynamics and realism. These words summarize what is happening during the match. The players act like normal NHL players. They play tactically, put themselves in favorable positions, can position themselves properly and keep the opponent in the castle while playing in an advantage. They will also have a slip-up - they will hit the post with a powerful shot or they will pass it wrong, because the opponent will intercept the puck. It is similar on the computer side. When they lose, and the end of the period is inexorably close to the end, immediately after taking the puck, they fly at breakneck speed and shoot "haphazardly" - just to create a situation threatening the goalkeeper. I have to admit that in terms of player behavior on the pitch, NHL 06 surprised me positively.

Time for dynamism. The game is fast, fast-paced, fierce and sometimes chaotic. So just like real hockey. There are fights (you can block blows and knock the opponent's helmet off the head with a fist - miracles on the stick!), After which players most often land on the penalty bench (unless they are "asked" by the judge to leave the rink). In addition, during intense action it is sometimes difficult to see exactly what each play is. Only in the repetitions - in slow motion - you can see how one of the other people hit the skate with a stick (which ended in a spectacular rollover).

The sounds from the stands also add to the flavor. Shouting songs that are supposed to cheer you up is standard, but it is amazing when a fan starts suddenly tapping a "sports" rhythm on the metal railing. In addition, the humming or clapping of the audience accompanies each goal scored. You can feel the atmosphere that accompanies the NHL games in all of this. Brutality, spectacularity and amazing emotions.

You surely remember these results of the order of 8: 1 or 7: 0. EA Sports knows how to attract a player. These monstrous numbers are still manageable when played on the lowest difficulty level. However, when the bar is set at the highest level, NHL 06 takes on completely different colors. Only then can the game be called a real hockey for veterans.

To make losing / winning even more effective, we have various tricks in the new installment of the NHL. Do you want to pivot around your own axis, avoiding the defenders, and shoot straight into the goal? Or turn your back on the goalkeeper and take a shot between your legs - hoping the trick will work? Nothing simpler - just buy / add a third hand and go - all combinations are open to us. How? You don't know how to do it? Well, then it remains to buy regular rain. Because I cannot imagine that with the emotions that accompany the game, hold two buttons on the keyboard, press the next one at the right moment, and then the next one, with which we would finally shoot at the goal (and still operate the cursors with one hand). You can only play the keyboard for fun, but to get the most out of NHL 06, you need a pad.

There are also additions such as the morale factor, which has a negative or positive effect on the quality of the game of our players (it depends on the type of team training, recent results, etc.). Also a word about graphics - it's phenomenal as usual. Each subsequent match looks like a TV coverage of a real match, which is a real revelation.

While playing the latest work of EA Sports, I recalled the old years. I was refreshing in my mind the editions that - in my opinion - were the best, that is 2000 and 2002 . What was good about them that is not in NHL 06 ? Certainly the clarity and functionality of the menu. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out what is where and how to get to a given function. The second thing is music. This year we hear nice rock again, but there are no gems that would raise the adrenaline in those years. In addition, there are line-up mistakes (e.g. we see Czerkawski here in NY Islanders, although he will be playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season). The second serious downside, right after outdated line-ups, is ... redundancy. There is simply nothing revolutionary here. Fortunately, this is not a step backwards.

NHL 2006 has both advantages and disadvantages. Again, however, the game is just great. It is an improvement over the previous version and at the same time another version of hockey that attracts you to the monitor. And because there is absolutely no alternative - the excellent NHL 06 remains. If they joined the box, it's raining ... Well, for the price?

Paweł "HopkinZ" Fronczak