Not being a hockey fan, I can’t say I was overjoyed when I heard that the NHL was going to be back in season this year, with some of there new rule changes. To be honest I am sure a few of you were excited, but the general consensus from what I have seen is that not very many people care either way. With that being said, the popularity of the hockey games is actually quite high, and for good reason too, as this is one of the more enjoyable sports to play as a video game. So now of course it is hockey season and here comes out first hockey review of the year in 2K Sport’s budget priced hockey title NHL 2K6 for the Xbox. So is this game giving you what you pay for? Read our full review to find out!
From my experiences with the NHL 2K series it really has been one solid game after another that has been really competing for the top hockey game out there. The series has been going head to head with EA’s hockey series, and to be honest, it really has been a close battle the whole way. So does NHL 2K6 take the crown in 2005?
With sports games you really don’t get a new game each year. So instead of reviewing the game like a normal new game, I guess we should talk about some of the new features that NHL 2K6 has to offer. One of the most influential features in NHL 2K6 is the new ProControl Passing, which basically makes for strings of passes that makes it much easier to try and get the puck down the ice. The game also has much more in terms of controlling your goalie, which with the use of the right analog stick, allows you to try and stop your opponents from getting anything past you.
Another new feature that you can find in NHL 2K6 is the on the call play calling, which is a good idea, but the execution of this new feature really doesn’t have all the makings of what it should have been. Using the control pad you can start calling plays when you are on offence and defense, but to be honest a lot of the times I would call the play to screen the net and my guys would be standing around looking like they were ready for a pass and nowhere near screening the net. This was not a problem all of the time but the execution of this feature really could have been a lot better then it ended up turning out.
The other big feature this year is the enforcer, which each team has. Basically this is the guy, if you ever want to knock an opponent out of the rink, this is the guy you want to use. There is a specific button allotted for this player to find him on the rink and basically take out some of your opponents and is really the driving force of your team. This sounds all great and such but the actual execution of this feature really doesn’t have a significant impact on the game itself.
The actual gameplay itself in NHL 2K6, besides some of these new features, really seems like much of the same great game. None of these additions are going to drastically change the way you play the game. You can see that some work has been done to make the game a smoother ride and feels a little more balanced then last year. I did however find that although the computer AI is pretty good, the game is really not that hard at its first four levels and only found the Hall of Fame level to really be challenging, which to me was surprising as I have never found myself a great hockey gamer.
NHL 2K6 still has the same great franchise mode, which to me has gone pretty unchanged. This is not a bad thing as the franchise mode is deep and lengthy. The game has some mini games; my favorite being the mini-rink, which has a three versus three game. The mini games are all great and are great ways to get away from the typical game. Also NHL 2K6 of course has Xbox Live support, which I didn’t find to have anything really new in it but of course is still a fun experience and of course you have to love playing against some of the great players around the world.
NHL 2K6 is a great game, especially for the $19.99 price tag. Although there really haven’t been any huge changes in the game, NHL 2K6 is a very capable and entertaining game that has a lot of great gameplay elements to offer, even if some of the new features aren’t what they were made up to be.
NHL 2K6 is a good game that has some really neat graphical elements that were not in last year’s games, but the overall look and feel of NHL 2K6 is not all that different from last years game. Like I said there really haven’t been any major changes to the games visuals, as the characters models seem to have the same amount of detail and the stadiums like unchanged. The overall look of NHL 2K6 is solid but you can definitely see that the developers have a ways to go to get to great visuals.
Hockey games are just plain fun, and NHL 2K6 is a prime example of how to make a hockey game fun. Outside of just a normal hockey game the developers have given you these mini games, which to me, were really a breath of fresh air and were very enjoyable. The actual hockey in the game is very balanced and really gives you a great feel of a real hockey game something that this series has always been very successful at doing. Also the franchise mode is a lot of fun and has a lot of depth with plenty of options.
NHL 2K6 is a good game that improves upon an already great game last year. It has some new features along with some old that really make this one of the best twenty-dollar games of the year. If you want to play some great hockey with a low price tag, then I would highly recommend NHL 2K6 as this is a fun game that has a lot of fun features that will last you till next year.
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.