NHL 2K6 Review

Developer: Kush Games Publisher: 2K Sports
Release Date: November 16, 2006 Also On: None

Hockey and the NHL have never appealed to me but I’ve usually been able to enjoy a round of virtual hockey. Kush Games has created an enjoyable hockey game this season with NHL 2K6. The only problem is that on the Xbox 360, despite the entertaining gameplay, there aren’t many improvements from the current-gen versions besides a new goalie interface.

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NHL 2K6 features all of the gameplay modes from the current versions just like 2K Sports’ other title, NBA 2K6. You can still take on an NHL Franchise or play different mini-games like Pond Hockey or Small Rink hockey. The biggest change to the Xbox 360 version, though, is with the new Crease Control system. With Crease Control, the player can take complete control over the goalie and defend against almost any shot, depending on the position of the goalie and whether or not the goalie can spot the puck in time. This system is implemented well into the fast-paced gameplay, which also controls smoothly and has a very realistic feeling.

The action on the rink, especially with this Crease Control system, is pretty frantic and always a good time. Setting up one-timers is a lot of fun, primarily on breakaways. It’s always a huge feeling of accomplishment after the rush of the breakaway to confuse the goalie and slapshot the puck into the goal. Of course, I always found defense to be exciting because I’d oftentimes crowd the goal, trying my hardest to slap the puck in while avoiding stick checks and steals. The A.I. is smart enough to try its hardest to keep you out of the goal, and on harder difficulties, it becomes extremely difficult to outsmart the goalie. Anyway, I think that NHL 2K6 is quite a fun game to play, and it’s even more so when you turn on another Xbox 360 controller and a friend skates onto the rink.

The biggest disappointments with NHL 2K6 come from the graphics and the commentary. In short, they’re both pretty bland and unimpressive for an Xbox 360 title. The visuals are only slightly better than they are on the Xbox version, and from the faraway camera angles of NHL 2K6, it’s almost impossible to notice much detail on the player models or the rink. Even in replays the game doens’t look very impressive. The commentary is very cut-and-dry, and doesn’t really do much but serve as background noise. What is nice, though, is the crowd. They’ll react to whatever is going on during the game very realistically, whether it’s a crucial goal, a big check that knocks a player off his skates, or a chant when the home team picks up momentum.

If you’re looking for a hockey game this holiday season, NHL 2K6 is the one you’ll want to pick up. It’s a lot of fun to play an despite unimpressive graphics and boring commentary, the Crease Control, intelligent A.I., and highly entertaining multiplayer are worth the time. However, I wouldn’t recommend buying the game at $60–wait until a price drop or a used copy of the game, because that price point is simply far too high.

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 6.5
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7.3
Written by Cliff Review Guide

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