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Gretzky NHL 2005 Review

Developer: 989 Sports Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: November 9, 2004 Also On: None

In a year when hockey is just a memory in our neural process, 989 Sports releases Gretzky 2005. The sport itself has a ways to go with the general public. The ‘Big 3’, MLB, NBA, and the NFL, all hold a strong lead over the ‘Small 3’, NASCAR, PGA, and the NHL. NASCAR, a favorite in the south, has pulled ahead of hockey in the ratings race, while the strike this year has left the sport grappling for an audience. Pity this had to come down this year, when 989 Sports releases a game that isn’t half bad.

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If a person like me, that’s not a fan of hockey in any sense of the word ‘fan’, can enjoy a game based on the sport, it’s a winner for casual and hardcore gamers alike. Possibly not a winner for hardcore hockey fans are games like NHL Hitz, which have complete arcade gameplay. Gretzky hits a balance between arcade and simulation.

Gretzky replaces FaceOff as 989’s NHL mascot. This comes as no penalty to the consumer, as the FaceOff franchise needed a funeral. 989’s hopes of resurrecting a savior to their hockey franchise have not gone without an answer. Gretzky is a worthy game in a hockey fan’s collection, and non-hockey fans alike.

One of my biggest complaints with the game as a whole, is the slow pace of play. If it wasn’t for NHL Hitz, I’d be playing 989 Sports’ World Tour Soccer more than any hockey game. For those hockey enthusiasts, the rules are there, but for people like me, casual hockey gamers, just turn off icing and offsides to have a better time. If you don’t have a clue about hockey rules, you’re going to be having a penalty called on you every 15 seconds.

The controls are solid, life-saving at times, when a person’s about to score a goal. The game’s easy to manage, whether it’s shooting a one-timer, a slapshot, or passing the puck. Best of all, the game is responsive to your actions. We all know how controls can easily spoil a game. Nothing’s more frustrating than giving up a goal to an error due to controls. You won’t find that here.

Gretzky 2005 has a nice amount of game to be played. You’re given gameplay modes such as Practice and Exhibition (multi-player and single-player). You’re also given an online mode, Rivalry, and World Cup. Rivalry’s a neat addition, as it records results from a match between two teams. World Cup of course has you play the country of your choice in a tournament. Finally, the last mode is Franchise. You’re given a front desk job with managing finances, trading players, etc., while having the option for a fantasy draft.

I might not have any business in recommending this over EA or ESPN (as I haven’t played them), I am more than capable of telling you that Gretzky fills the hockey needs of whatever gamer that might want to play it. If you’re on the fence between arcade and sim gameplay, Gretzky will satisfy your needs. Due to rule optimization, you can customize your experience. No matter which way you cut it, Gretzky 2005 is a solid game.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 7.7
Written by Kyle Review Guide