PS3 Review – NHL 10
The online play is still a huge component in the game and has seen some good and bad improvements in NHL 10. Lets first take a look at what was done right. The menu’s in Online Team Play have a lot more functionality and are setup better, making it easier to find games. Also team jerseys during the side selection are now shown up above the names, making it easier to see who has white or dark jerseys. The biggest change in the menu selection though comes in the EA Sports Hockey League. When you visit your club you now how a bountiful amount of options that were absent last year. It is much easier to navigate around the Club Home and now each club has 5 different game rooms, so if you are a big club you can setup 5 different games at once and people who join into the club home can see who is in what room, which is a nice addition. During online play games feel more even as more deflections occur off point shots and there are more variety in the goal as some of the Cheat goals of last year have been nuked.
Now on the bad side of the online, the game still suffers from issues that have been around since the first days of 09. The game will frequently freeze up while navigating menu’s online or you will lose connection to servers upon joining games. Also randomly teammates microphones will become unclear, leaving for frustrations as a group of 5 people, all with microphones cannot always communicate. Also while the goalie AI may have seen improvements the computer defenseman have been forgotten and it shows. They do not cover well in their own zone and do not play the puck carrier with any sense of urgency. They also have no ability to adapt, constantly letting opposing players perform the same move on them time and time again. Another negative of online play is that after a completion of an online game, each player in the game must sit through the 3 stars of the game, as well as highlights until every player has hit ok to move on. This is not a huge issue but a minor annoyance to those who want to quickly get out of the game and start a new one. There is also a lot of down time in between whistles as the game adds extra time after the play has been blown dead to allow everyone a change to pick a fight. If there are a lot of stoppages during an online game this can add significant time onto the length of the game. None of these issues are enough to keep you offline and they still don’t diminish from the fact that the online is robust.
New onto the scene in online play is the hockey pro shop. As you complete objectives with your pro new sticks, skates, gloves and helmets will unlock. These new unlocks come in all shapes and colors as you get helmets with barbwire or gloves with flames. Added to some of these unlocks is the ability to assign stat upgrades to them. Each new item will allow 0-3 ability upgrades to be assigned. These upgrades range from +1 to Accuracy Boost to +5 to Acceleration. If you don’t feel like earning upgrades in equipment there are also some for purchase. These can be purchased in game for 3.99 each and there is a pack for each type of skater. So if you have a grinder and you want to boost all his attributes, you can purchase the boost pack, putting your player in gold skates, gloves and stick. You can also gain these boost packs through in game play but it will take you a lot of time to do so. Skater XP points have also seen a change in the new game for the better. In online play as you play more games and meet a certain overall grade you unlock skater cards that allow you to level up your skills on your Pro. You can gain a total of 5 cards and each time you gain a new card you receive a set amount of XP depending on the card you gain. The big difference here compared to 09 is that you can much more experience for your guy this time around, giving people much more freedom to customize their pro this time around.
Despite some minor issues with the online, NHL 10 has managed to carry over what made NHL 09 an awarded winning game and build upon it. EA Canada did not rest on their laurels as they took on the challenge of improving an amazing experience in just a years time. For hockey fans out there this game is a must play and for people new to the sport it is a great title that gives you a feeling for just how fun hockey is.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
Added game modes provide a ton of depth
New customization options allow for more tweaking of your pro.
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