If only all sports games played like NHL 09
good gameplay,custom soundtrack, fluid controls
poor EA made sountrack, some frame rate issues
The Bottom Line:
This maybe the best Hockey game ever made. If you like Hockey or any sports game then buy this game.
When I think of hockey I think of three things ice, fighting, and Canadians, but with the release of EA sports NHL 09 this now makes my list. This game is finally the heir apparent to the great NHL 94. The game features some of most fluid controls of any game let alone a sports game. The games player customization is unmatched with any other sports game. This is the only game that I have ever scence that will make people want to play or watch the sport after playing the game. By the end of this review I hope I can show the greatest that is known as NHL 09.
The game features the standard team versus team mode. The teams in this mode that you can use are NHL, AHL, and European Teams which lets you plays as your favorite teams no matter who your favorite team is. The Be a Pro mode in this years game will blow you out of the water. The mode starts out with you fully building your playing from head to toe in gear. The mode allows you to make a Forward, Defensemen, or a Goalie and put them into the AHL to start your new career. This will let build anything from a 6-7 dangler to a 5-6 defensive enforcer. You can also pick a player that is already in the NHL and start from there. The only problem with the Be a Pro mode is that it sometimes suffers from a poor frame rate. The online modes in this game are also some of the best in any sports game. It features the standard ranked and unranked versus mode and a 6 vs. 6 online versus mode. If you don't have the time to play a full game online you can play a shoot-out online versus anyone in the world. My favorite mode of this year's game is the EA Sports Hockey League which is one of the greatest features to ever be put into a sports game. This lets you put your custom Be A Pro player on a team of friends or other you have played online. With your group of players you can make a jersey and create a team name. After you form your team you will play against other online teams and climbing up the different divisions hoping your team will reach the top of the ranks.
The controls for this game pick up where NHL 08 left off last year. This year game still uses the two joysticks for most of the controls in the game to give the game a more fluid feel. The left stick controls your player movement and the right stick is used for complete stick control on offense and it lets you control bone crushing hits on defense. This year game has put in a new defensive skill stick which lets you break up pass or steal the puck. The game also added dump pass which is always key in penalty killing or line changes. And if the game becomes too advanced for your own good you can always just turn on the classic NHL 94 controls. The only problem with the game controls is that it's too easy to steal the puck using stick lifts in the game.
The audio for this game has its high and low points. The high points for this game are the in game sound. Whatever sound you think you could hear at a hockey game you will hear in this game from a body being checked into the glass or a puck hitting a goal pipe. The Play by Play in the game is the best of any sports game on the market today. The team of Gary Thorne and Bill Clement destroy any other play by play team. I wish EA would make the Madden play by Play as good as this game. If your player starts playing bad in Be a Pro Mode the Play by Play will start to bash you or in the regular single player mode they have call for almost every play you can think of. The only problem with the Play by Play is that I wish they had more then just one line they used when the game goes into overtime because it gets a little old when all you ever hear is "Looks like we are heading to a shoot-out maybe". The game also let you create a custom soundtrack that you can use to create your intro for your team, play song whenever you score, or a song whenever you go on a penalty play. The weakest part of NHL 09 sound is that I wished that EA would have put a little more effort into putting songs on the soundtrack that fit hockey a little bit better.
Menus and In-Game This game features 16 different songs, according to the EA Trax screen. Airbourne - "Runnin' Wild" Apocalyptica feat. Tomoyasu Hotei - "Grace"
Avenged Sevenfold - "Afterlife"
Billy Talent feat. Anti-Flag - "Turn Your Back"
Black Tide - "Warriors Of Time"
Bullet For My Valentine - "Hearts Burst Into Fire"
Coheed and Cambria - "The Running Free"
From First To Last - "Two As One"
Johnossi - "Execution Song"
Millencolin - "Done Is Done"
Panic At The Disco - "Nine In The Afternoon"
Phantom Planet - "Do The Panic"
Protest The Hero - "The Dissentience"
Sons & Daughters - "Gilt Complex"
The Elms - "The Shake"
The Kills - "Cheap And Cheerful"