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EA Sports NHL 2000 for Playstation

NHL 2000 Cover

If youíre after a sports game for your console, whether this is football (soccer in the US), American football, ice hockey, basketball or baseball (maybe even golf) there is one name that have produced the goods consistently ever since I started buying console games and thatís EA Sports.

In fact, it was playing their Megadrive (Genesis in the US) game, EA Hockey, many years ago on a hired machine that awakened my love for the game of ice hockey and convinced me to buy my own console. And sure enough, years later (and now with a Playstation and Nintendo 64) I am still buying their games, the latest of which is NHL 2000.

So, whatís new in the 2000 edition of the game that makes it worth buying if you already own NHL 99 for the Playstation? If, like me, you want your PSX NHL season to be as realistic as possible then the inclusion of Atlanta Thrashers (the NHLís latest expansion team) and updated rosters for all teams will be enough for you to consider buying the game. The one other all new feature is the franchise option where you can control a team through consecutive seasons and build your team through free agent dealing and drafts between seasons (or so the manual says!!). I have yet to finish a season of the game so canít really comment on this part of the game.

If these are not that important to you then you would probably be better off picking up a copy of NHL 99 for half the price. However, if you want these, the next important thing is how does it play?

Once you start playing a few exhibition games you get used to the slightly different feel of the controls from the previous version, two things quickly become apparent.

Firstly, the introduction of the franchise mode seems to have been at the expense of the usual slick EA Sports presentation - gone are the player photographs from the rosters and stars of the game screen, gone are the flyovers of the arenas from the 99 version - whether this is a fair trade off only time will tell!!

Secondly, the different levels offered vary wildly - play on PRO and an experienced ice hockey gamer will beat anyone with ridiculously high scores on both sides, play on ALL STAR and suffer humiliating shut out defeats by all and sundry. The compromise I have found is to play on ALL STAR and set the advantage meter in your favour when you select the team to control before each game - seems to be working so far!!

Initially, I was a little disappointed with the game play of NHL 2000 having been used to playing NHL 99 for a year - it just didnít feel right. But once you get the hang of controlling this version then it improves immeasurably - the introduction of spin and deke moves are a welcome addition as you go in one-on-one against Dominik Hasek with Jaromir Jagr. However, the introduction of these means the loss of being able to change defensive and offensive tactics during play - this is done via the pause menu which can be inconvenient at times. At least they have reinstated the time out option missing from last yearís offering.

The in-game fights have also been changed for this new version, unfortunately not for the better. The 2000 fights involve just hitting the buttons as fast as you can - not even close to the quality of the fights in NHL 99.

So, is it worth buying? Well, if you are a die hard hockey fan then I would say yes just to get the up-to-date teams and rosters. If not, then go for the cheaper option of last yearsís version. Whether the franchise option will be the ultimate decider in this who knows - only 69 games plus the playoffs to go in my first season as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins and then Iíll find out!!

PD - Originally written November 1999

Related Pages : NHL 2001 (PC) Screenshots