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NHL Faceoff 2003

Developer: 989 Sports | Publisher: SCEA
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 11/05/02 | Genre: Sports

First of all, perhaps I should tell you that I was raised in the heartland of America, playing wholesome American games like Driver and Original Half Life deathmatch. Since I was kicked off of all major sports because I was too competitive (or to lazy֯ne of the two, I'm not sure), I didn't play sports games out of spite. Seeing as how I lost half my readers already because what I just said made absolutely no sense, I will treat the rest to an honest review.

Not bad. That's right, two simple words. It has a career mode, rosters that keep up to date and the option of just playing random teams if you want to knock around a puck for a while. Some nice moves that 989 have done is a more fluid poke check and of course the all-famous hooking. But if you hated the gameplay and the moves that are associated with the last 989 Hockey game (Faceoff 2001), then you might want to put down those $30 and look over something else. In fact, almost every 989 has the same type of movements and types of gameplay, so you might as well buy Battlebots the game. Battlebots is the best sport, after all.

The graphics are very good, but not great. What makes the graphics shine is all the details of the arenas, the glow from the lights and even the fans waving their arms and sometime you can catch a few fighting. All of the teams have their right uniforms, so you can just tell from one look who your opponents are. If you are not the impatient type, a good laser display ushers in every game, so be prepared for that. However, the graphics themselves is not spectacular, but what they do with them. Crashing into other players, the spins of your player and being able to see the hockey-puck about 90% of the time (a 89% increase from the amount of time you can see the puck on TV). The sounds are mediocre, with the announcers above adding random thoughts and phrases.

The A1 is strong, but not impossible. Some of you might wonder why you can't change the teams mid game to cope with this increased intelligence; 989 has made it so you have to pause in order to change teams. I'm neutral about it, because I must confess that I do not utilize every move to my advantage. But I do love this extended featureֆIGHTING! Yes, what all beer-soaked hockey fans want to see. You only have two moves, the hit and block, but you can become obsessed about this feature, just fighting instead of playing. Oh wellִhat Stanley cup isn't going to win itself.

Because this game is basically cut and dry, I'll cut to the chase: Hockey. You play Hockey, put in a few moves, with decent graphics and walk away. If you liked it in 2001, buy it because 989 has expanded on it. If you love hockey but never played this game, add it to your collection, because someone with the passion has the ability for the game to grow on them. If you have no idea about the sport and think Hockey is a country in Central America, be wary֩t may be too linear for most to like it. And for those who hate the game of hockey and pokes another little pin in their Gretzky voodoo doll when the see the game on the 봵be֢uy this game. Because I want you to suffer for hating a good game like Hockey and a great man like Gretzky! Haha!

By Douglas Brinius - 12/09/02
ESRB Details: Violence
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Screenshots for NHL Faceoff 2003

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