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NHL 06 PlayStation 2

Published by EA Sports
Developed by EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

NHL 06, an introduction.

Whilst the real NHL may have been in a state of crisis recently the same cannot be said about the NHL series from EA Sports. For years now the series has been dependable and given us an enjoyable ice hockey games. Here we have the latest in the series and once again it makes a few alterations to what is already a popular title. Let's take a look at what these new features are in NHL 06.

What's the game about?

The game modes in NHL 06 are Dynasty Mode, Exhibition, Season, EA Sports World Tournament, EA Sports Free For All, Elite Leagues and Play Online. The PlayStation 2 version of the game also comes with NHL 94, one of the better games in this successful series. The last few games in the series have set about refining player control and NHL 06 adds a few refinements of its own to the mix. You can now deke with the left analogue stick in what is classic deking. Basically this allows you a simpler way to pass by opponents. Shooting targets have been added which allows you to see where your shots are aimed for. The last few years have seen the EA Sports games make a greater use of the once redundant right analogue stick and in NHL 06 the right analogue stick has become the skill stick. Tapping the right analogue stick will now enable your superstars to perform their signature moves.

What's good about the game?

The classic deke controls and the inclusion of the skill stick are definitely worthwhile inclusions and make for a more satisfying experience. The AI defence seems to behave more naturally this time around and when playing on the higher difficulty settings you're going to have your work cut out, which is no bad thing. You can also create your own team and use them in the Dynasty Mode if you want to. Also in the Dynasty Mode you can now offload some of the coaching responsibilities onto your assistant. You'll also get a mid-season NHL All-Star game in Dynasty Mode. Of course to veteran gamers the inclusion of NHL 94 will be a big plus and it plays very nicely on the PlayStation 2.

What's not so good about the game?

Whilst NHL 06 is essentially a good game I still don't think it manages to feel as realistic as the ESPN NHL 2K series. NHL 06 feels more like an arcade game rather than a simulation mainly because of the speed at which the action takes place feels unrealistic. This is not necessarily a bad thing though and NHL 06 is certainly enjoyable. Navigating the menus, during the game when you want to change your strategies etc., can be sluggish at times.

How does it look?

Few could complain with how good NHL 06 looks on the PlayStation 2. The players, arenas and crowd all look good although you would be hard pressed to find improvements from the last few games in the series. This can't really be classified as a criticism though as I'm pretty sure it's the limitations of the PlayStation 2 hardware that's the problem here.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Deaf gamers will have no problems with NHL 06. As you might expect the game commentary isn't subtitled which is a shame but as no other sports game subtitles its game commentary, it's not something we can complain about. It would be difficult to read the text and keep an eye on the action too. In every other respect though, the game will cause you no problems. The game manual has been well written and highlights the additional features for NHL 06 so if you've played the last few games in the series you can just jump right ahead to the new stuff.

Final thoughts.

Whilst the new features work well and the updated rosters are always something fans of the sport look forward too, there can be no denial that NHL 06 isn't a major improvement for the series. Still I suppose there are only so many new features you can throw into the mix during a year without risking upsetting the fans of the series and the new features that have been included certainly work well.


Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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NHL 06 is a solid update, although it's hardly much of an improvement, with a few new features that work quite well. The inclusion of NHL 94 is a pretty nice bonus too.