It is that time of year again, the football season has begun (thank goodness) and that means we are also growing closer to the hockey season, which is going for its second straight season after the strike. It is good to see that some of these new hockey rules are starting to bring some positive vibes to the sport. Well now the 2007 season has arrived and along with it the normal run of hockey sports games. Today we are checking out the latest version of EA Sport’s NHL series in NHL 07 for the Xbox. So how does this hockey experience turn out?
This is a big transition year for video games as we start moving into the next generation consoles, and we begin to see the current gen consoles beginning to lose steam quickly. With EA bringing their first hockey game to the 360 this year, I was interested to see how much work would be put into the current generation game ,as it seems like it is getting to the end of the line for the Xbox and sports games. So how does NHL 07 do on the Xbox?
One of the new features on the 360 is the new skill stick, which does come to the Xbox version but it has been trimmed down a bit as you use it to pass rather then shoot. This obviously makes a much less significant impact on the game but still works extremely well. It was disappointing however to see that the developers decided not to incorporate the full on skill stick, as this would have really given the game a much more new and fresh feel that this game unfortunately does not have.
The gameplay other then the addition of the skill stick really just doesn’t feel anywhere near as new or exciting as it has in past seasons. Besides the simple tweaks that have been done to the control scheme and some things touched up here and there, there really isn’t a whole lot new or interesting here. Things play almost identical to last year ,with the same sort of pace and with some slight upgrades to the defensive tactics that seem to have been tightened up slightly.
The modes in the game are about the same adding some extra depth to the dynasty mode, with a new European Dynasty mode. But in my opinion there probably are not many hockey fans out there that are really going to really be interested in doing in European hockey. The core dynasty mode of NHL 07 is still about the same as what we saw in last year’s game, but does have a few extra small changes that helps to add some depth to the experience.
In the end, NHL 07 just doesn’t feel all that different from what we saw in last year’s game. This is pretty unfortunate as you get the feeling that this is just a roster update and doesn’t manage to give any new feel on the older consoles. For those hoping that along with the first next generation game would bring some new features along to the Xbox as well, but unfortunately that is just not the case.
Visually NHL 07 for the Xbox just doesn’t feel all that different from what we saw in NHL 06. The best quality the Xbox version has to offer is the character models, which feature quite a bit of detail and look really good on the Xbox. Animation wise there doesn’t seem to be anything really new or different in this game. The overall appeal of this game just feels a bit aged, and doesn’t manage to bring in any new content to NHL 07.
I was really hoping that NHL 07 would add some new content to the Xbox version, but unfortunately NHL 07 just felt like a roster update rather than a full new game. That is not to say that NHL 07 is a bad game because it has a deep amount of gameplay value and still plays really well. I enjoyed seeing some of the small updates to the controls and gameplay mechanics, but for the most part the entire game just didn’t seem to have enough new to really make for an enjoyable new experience.
As much as the gameplay feels smooth, the depth is there, the visuals are good, but to make this game worth a purchase this game just doesn’t feel like it has enough good to make it worth even the less expensive $29.99 price tag. If you really want a hockey game, I would say that this is only good for a roster update, and fans who want new should probably look towards the new consoles.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.